Coffee tables

  • Advertise with us
Project by BalloonGuy posted 03-29-2013 03:47 AM 1630 views 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a pair of tables I built last February, as a first project. The style was borrowed a bit from a pair of sofa tables we had, and some of the construction techniques as well. Not being practiced at mortise and tenon joinery, and seeing how the originals had been put together with pocket screws and MDF covered in veneer, I figured if the furniture store could charge money for it, it was good enough for me to try.

The tables each have 12” square slate-look tiles inset. I liked the durability, and didn’t want to worry about coasters. Legs and rails are red oak, and the shelf and top are MDF core with quartersawn red oak veneer.

The second photo shows the uncovered shelf and table frame. The third photo is one of the corner blocks showing the pocket screws. I built a jig to hold the leg, rails and corner block in alignment to keep it all squared up while driving the screws.

Next photo is the table top. Three-quarter inch MDF with a 1/4” recess carved into it for the tile. Next time, I’ll just cut a hole in a 1/4” MDF and laminate it. Too much sawdust doing it this way. Eventually, I put the router aside and just got out the gouges and carved it to depth. It was more fun that way too.

Next photo is the element I really liked. While I could have done the top and shelf out of plywood, I wanted to play with the grain orientation, and to make the top look like a mitered job. The shelf was patterned after those sofa tables, with the veneers set in a diamond pattern. After finishing, the grain really shines and changes as you move around it – like a tiger’s eye gem.

I’m self-taught, and am grateful for all the LJs who share their knowledge and their projects here. I’m also grateful to my grandfather who passed on some of his tools and a little bit of his love of wood to me. He’s been gone 18 years, but he’s with me every day in the shop.

-- Tom Peterson, Omaha, NE

7 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2372 days

#1 posted 03-29-2013 04:18 AM


-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Ken90712's profile


17616 posts in 3429 days

#2 posted 03-29-2013 08:03 AM

Great work, Love Kreg pocket jointery system. Use it al the time. Great job on the veneering as well, its a nice touch.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30153 posts in 2578 days

#3 posted 03-29-2013 09:47 AM

Good work. Nice looking pair.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Rob Vicelli's profile

Rob Vicelli

106 posts in 2931 days

#4 posted 03-29-2013 11:47 AM

NIce set of tables. Great Work!

-- Rob V

View woodrookieII's profile


273 posts in 2903 days

#5 posted 03-29-2013 01:09 PM

Nice job.


View Vicki's profile


1106 posts in 3584 days

#6 posted 03-29-2013 03:59 PM

They are terrific. They are just what I want to make as soon as there’s time. I’d like a middle shelf in the end tables, but otherwise I’m totally “stealing” your tables. Beautiful.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View BalloonGuy's profile


93 posts in 2163 days

#7 posted 03-30-2013 02:35 AM

Thank you, all. Vicki, I’m hoping to do these again, with a little more mission style this time, now that I have a little more experience and a bandsaw to let me do more than straight cuts. I lost the plans I’d drawn up for the tables in a computer crash last summer. Once I have them re-drawn, and get them posted I’ll let you know.

-- Tom Peterson, Omaha, NE

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics