Oak Breakfast Table with Walnut Inlays

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Project by ben posted 03-25-2008 04:25 AM 3092 views 6 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a small breakfast table that I started while taking a 6 day course with Jeff Lohr. Since that time it has received 3 coats of Original Waterlox and a single coat of Minwax wipe-on poly. Both were applied with lint-free paper towels, and wiped down after 10 minutes. I may still wax the top.

I was inspired by Don Kondra’s improving my photography skills post to try a backdrop and some lighting. The backdrop sheet helped, but the lighting was actually worse than my small camera’s flash. Needless to say, it takes more gear than a pocket size camera. Still, these pics are better than my first batch in the basement, but don’t do justice to the walnut inlays.

This is my first finished piece of substantial furniture. I made every single cut, joint and mistake that you see here.


17 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4025 days

#1 posted 03-25-2008 04:40 AM


Every single inlay, joint and cut that you made looks just fine. The patterned walnut inlays add some interesting details to the table. I really like the curved rails and tapered legs.

This is a very nice piece of furniture. If you had been graded on it I am sure you would have received an A.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3977 days

#2 posted 03-25-2008 04:57 AM


You did a beautiful job on this table. You should be pleased the way it turned out. I think your pictures look fine. Thank you for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View DocK16's profile


1184 posts in 4290 days

#3 posted 03-25-2008 04:59 AM

I’ve done inlays and know how difficult they can be to get a nice clean edge, these are crisp and sharp. Care to share your particular technique

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 4529 days

#4 posted 03-25-2008 01:22 PM

the table looks fantastic.
the inlays add a very cool element as well
I think the pics came out great as well.

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

786 posts in 4111 days

#5 posted 03-25-2008 01:43 PM

Very eye appealing, I live the inlay work on the top and the wood contrast

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View ben's profile


158 posts in 4073 days

#6 posted 03-25-2008 02:18 PM


Pretty straightforward process for these:

I drew my line on cardboard by drawing an L with a carpenter’s square, and the matching curve with a batten. I divided both into 7 lines evenly along the lines, and connected the dots. Then I transferred the points form cardboard to each side of the top. Then I drew the lines on the wood, and used a trim router w/ clamped straight edge to cut the channels (1/4” bit w/ ~1/8” depth, iirc). Then Clean out the corners with a chisel, hand fit the actual inlay pieces to length. Glue, tap in and dry, then hand plane out the tops, and voila! Inlays.


View ben's profile


158 posts in 4073 days

#7 posted 03-25-2008 02:40 PM

Thanks guys.

Unfortunately, I have to politely disagree with you guys on the pics. Perhaps I’m just disappointed because I played around with the sheet and lighting and camera a fair bit and got nothing out of it. But they are definitely better than the other ones that I took with no backdrop.


View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4254 days

#8 posted 03-25-2008 02:43 PM

Very nice, I really like the inlay work.

-- Hope Never fails

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4421 days

#9 posted 03-25-2008 02:57 PM

Excellent work!

A photo tip for those of us with nothing more than an inexpensive digital camera: Whenever possible, take your project outdoors on a sunny day to photograph it. The natural light and sharp shadows will really make it stand out.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4085 days

#10 posted 03-25-2008 03:15 PM

Very nice Ben. I remember when you were working on this, nice to see it finished.

Like Charlie mentioned, outdoors helps a lot for the photos. Even on a cloudy day.
Just a thought, I used a table cloth instead of a sheet the last time I took some. It had more of a luster to it, they also come in colors.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 4099 days

#11 posted 03-25-2008 07:48 PM

That is one cool table. I think the inlays are brilliantly placed. Well done!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4077 days

#12 posted 03-26-2008 12:42 AM

Wow, that is nice inlay work. Good job.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4191 days

#13 posted 03-26-2008 01:08 AM

I remember this! It turned out great!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Lakey's profile


97 posts in 3975 days

#14 posted 03-26-2008 07:13 PM

Ben – this is really great. I love how thoughtfully you laid out the inlay. Very nice – you should be proud.


-- "No Board Left Behind"

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 4091 days

#15 posted 03-27-2008 01:44 AM

Inlaying job is beautify and great contrast with the walnut.


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