Arts and Crafts Coffee Table

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Project by Cato posted 06-22-2012 03:58 PM 4375 views 14 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ah, finally the end of my Arts and Crafts coffee table project for my daughter’s wedding present.

It is made from walnut and mahogany.

I did the poly topcoating last weekend and made the table top fasteners, but wanted to make sure the top was good and cured before adding the fasteners.

It was the first time I had tried the water based poly top coating made by General Finishes. I went with a semi gloss and I was impressed with how easily it went on and how quickly it dried.

This morning I had some time to slip down in the shop and drill out the wooden fasteners and screw them to the table top.

So here it is. I had fun on this project and got to try some new things, which is a goal for me on just about every project I do.

Thanks for looking.

19 comments so far

View jack1's profile


2099 posts in 3930 days

#1 posted 06-22-2012 06:05 PM

Great looking piece. She’s gonna love it!

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View EricTy's profile


62 posts in 2153 days

#2 posted 06-22-2012 06:08 PM

Good piece from a good dad. Well done.

-- Only you know the mistakes were intentional...

View woodrookieII's profile


264 posts in 2566 days

#3 posted 06-22-2012 06:36 PM

That’s a fine looking table!


View Stormy's profile


162 posts in 2100 days

#4 posted 06-22-2012 08:26 PM

The woods blend really well. I love the colors. Very nice work.

-- Stormy: Sometimes the wood just tells you what it wants to be.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2388 days

#5 posted 06-22-2012 08:46 PM

The walnut and mahogany combo really works. I like the details included here, like the through tenons and breadboard ends.

-- Brian Timmons -

View bfergie's profile


83 posts in 2219 days

#6 posted 06-22-2012 09:31 PM

I like that a lot. Hope to make some furniture that nice myself someday.

-- Fergie in CO

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3215 days

#7 posted 06-22-2012 10:07 PM

Thanks guys for your nice comments.

I did not think this design up by myself. I saw it in Fine WWking mag a couple months ago and followed the arts and crafts coffee table build videos of Greg Paolini online on the Fine WWking web site.

I did alter his design slightly and used different woods, but all the mistakes on the way to finishing this were all mine!!

I had never built anything with through tenons nor had I ever done any breadboard ends, so that was way new for me to tackle.

I feel kind of lucky that both the walnut and the mahogany did well with a 50/50 mix of transtint red mahogany and vintage brown maple dyes, followed by dewaxed amber shellac. I was a bit nervous on that score but it worked so I can’t complain.

View Skylark53's profile


2661 posts in 2963 days

#8 posted 06-22-2012 11:15 PM

Walnut and mahogany, wow! Nice work. Very good selection of design. Congratulations to you and your daughter.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

5743 posts in 3255 days

#9 posted 06-23-2012 12:26 AM

That’s a beautiful table! I love the look. A gift from dear ole dad is priceless! A keepsake that will last a lifetime!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View nonickswood's profile


552 posts in 2290 days

#10 posted 06-23-2012 03:08 AM

Very Nice!!

-- Nick, Virginia,

View Adam D's profile

Adam D

103 posts in 2177 days

#11 posted 06-23-2012 04:10 AM

I remember watching Norm in the New Yankee Workshop put great care into how he fastened the breadboard ends so that it could expand and contract with seasonal changes. Did you take this into consideration at all? I forgot how Norm did it…

-- Adam, Rochester NY

View kdc68's profile


2638 posts in 2179 days

#12 posted 06-23-2012 11:25 AM

A great wedding gift !!... To answer Adam D’s question….. The breadboard edge has mortise and tenon joinery. The tenons in the top and the mortise is in the breadboard edging. The assembly is held together with glue and screws. The screws are bunged. The trick to allow wood movement is to ONLY fasten the CENTER with glue and a screw. The screw holes on the tenon both left and right of the center are elongated to allow the wood to expand and contract. And the mortises are made bigger in width to allow the tenon to expand and contract. NO glue is applied to these areas. That is I believe how Norm did his edging. Hope my explanation makes sense..

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3215 days

#13 posted 06-23-2012 12:12 PM

Thanks every one for your nice comments. This has been my best venture so far as finer woodworking goes, so I really appreciate that you like it.

Adam and kdc, on this one I cut the tenon shorter than the mortise to allow for wood movement, and also instead of screws I used pegs made of walnut.

The center peg and tenon have some glue and the center peg is fit tight to the mortise and tenon to lock both together.

The outer two pegs, I elongated the holes side to side only for expansion, but front to back they are tight fit to also aid in locking the mortise and tenon together.

I hope this helps explain how it was done.

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3215 days

#14 posted 06-23-2012 12:31 PM

I got an email from Lumberjocks that this table made it into the Daily Top Three!!

I don’t know how that happens or what the criteria is, but it’s nice to have some recognition for your completed project, though the real satisfaction is within for making something out of rough lumber that turns out as you had hoped.

Truthfully, after the equipment upgrades I have made in the past 2 years, I enjoy the ability to mill a rough board into a square flat board that will fit seamlessly to another.

View klassenl's profile


185 posts in 2562 days

#15 posted 06-23-2012 02:14 PM

It looks nice indeed. Do you have some dimensions for us?

-- When questioned about using glue on a garbage bin I responded, "Wood working is about good technique and lots of glue........I have the glue part down."

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