Mahogany, Walnut and Zebrawood Coffee Table

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Project by Rickterscale posted 06-25-2012 04:17 PM 3668 views 8 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just finished this coffee table. This is my first furniture project entirely of my own design. Woods are genuine mahogany, black walnut (from Missouri, I’m told), and zebrawood veneer for the inlay. The mahogany top uses two 11” wide boards with a little figure in them, which may come through a little in a pic or two. The walnut has some great ribbon striping that I hadn’t seen in walnut before. I had some zebrawood veneer on hand, which I thought would look good inlaid into the top. The inlay process was pretty easy. I also found it very easy to sand right through the veneer on a couple occasions, necessitating some repairs two different times.

Mortise and tenon joinery for the legs and stretchers. 1” long tenons on the breadboard ends, with brass pins to hold them in place. Just a little glue in the center to allow for wood movement. Top is attached with tongue-and-groove blocks, also to allow for wood movement.

I filled the grain on the top with a pumice (4f) and BLO slurry. It filled the grain well, and doesn’t muddy or obscure the figure in the wood too much either, but left a rough surface that was tough to sand down because it clogged the sandpaper so fast. I went through a lot of sand paper before I figured out that simply rubbing the top with a sanding disk cleaner quickly and easily removes the dried excess filler.

Finish is one coat BLO, one coat amber shellac, 6 or so coats of satin arm-r-seal, then Renaissance wax.

Dimensions: top 27.5” x 50”; legs 17.25” high.

Comments and critiques welcomed.

14 comments so far

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1051 posts in 2461 days

#1 posted 06-25-2012 04:33 PM

Very nice. Great contrasts with the walnut and mahogany. At first glance it looked as if you had inlaid a red leather centre piece!

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2355 days

#2 posted 06-25-2012 04:59 PM

Beautiful work. I agree it does look like leather at first glance! Beautiful!


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 2614 days

#3 posted 06-25-2012 05:11 PM

I too really like the contrast of the walnut and mahogany. Will have to remember that combo! Nice table.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View TomTinkerSum's profile


226 posts in 3983 days

#4 posted 06-25-2012 06:23 PM

Great composition. Very beautiful table and nice contrast too.


-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic.... :)

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2634 days

#5 posted 06-25-2012 06:37 PM

Very beautiful, in every aspect.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3836 days

#6 posted 06-25-2012 11:43 PM

One of the nicest pieces I’ve seen on here in quite a while : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View waho6o9's profile


8434 posts in 2725 days

#7 posted 06-26-2012 12:30 AM

Most excellent work, congratulations on a fine build.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18373 posts in 3824 days

#8 posted 06-26-2012 01:18 AM

Awesome work!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View SergeantSawDust's profile


173 posts in 2330 days

#9 posted 06-26-2012 02:59 AM

Very nice looking table. I really like the bread board ends and the inlay. Thanks for sharing.

-- Woodworking for the hobbyist woodworker.

View bigkev's profile


198 posts in 2777 days

#10 posted 06-26-2012 03:27 AM

I’d say that table falls in the category of “fine furniture”. Not much of that on this site lately. Beautiful.

-- Kevin, South Carolina

View BenI's profile


333 posts in 2327 days

#11 posted 06-26-2012 05:51 AM

Absolutely beautiful table, great job!

-- Ben from IL

View TimWood's profile


196 posts in 2390 days

#12 posted 06-26-2012 09:38 AM

Nice! No feet!!! No keys!!! And no drinks without a coaster!!! Brass pins….what size and what was their intended use? I have some brass pins normally used for a door hinge that I’m going to use on a art box lid…I think they’re about 1/4 of an inch. How about yours?

-- Tim Harrelson

View Rickterscale's profile


163 posts in 2509 days

#13 posted 06-26-2012 03:31 PM

Tim – The brass dowels are 1/4”. Their use is to hold the breadboard ends in place, while allowing for movement of the top without busting the joint, by elongating the left and right holes in the tenon to allow the top to move, while the dowels hold the end against the top. If you subscribe to Fine Woodworking, I used the same construction method as in this video series: (episode 5). Only I used brass instead of wood dowels.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16276 posts in 4367 days

#14 posted 06-26-2012 06:07 PM

Beautiful in every respect!

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

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