Charles Rohlfs Coal Hod Inspired Coffee Table

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Project by Woodbridge posted 04-16-2013 02:17 AM 2804 views 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I did make a start on the snake chair but decided put it on the back burner for a few weeks and finish the coffee table that my wife had asked for. My first woodworking project some thirty years ago was a coffee table for the family room in our first home. My wife wanted a new smaller coffee table for the family room and the first coffee table has been relegated to the basement.

Well for the new coffee table I decided to base it on Charles Rohlfs 1900 Coal Hod (or coal storage box).

I modified it a bit to make it more functional as a coffee table extending the top beyond the legs. Rohlfs coal hod is about 30 inches wide and 14 inches high. Unlike the original coal hod I did not carve the top. I made the coffee table 24 inches in diameter and 16 inches high.

Every time I build a new piece I want to try something new. In this case the challenge for me, as a novice turner, was to turn the large centre bowl. It is 12 inches high and 19.75 inches in diameter. It is made up of twelve segment rings. I was concerned about the weight hanging off the end of the lathe so I turned it in three pieces (of four segments each) to reduce the mass and get each segment to its circular shape. Then I glued the three pieces together for the final turning and shaping. My small low budget lathe does not have outboard turning capability, so I want to thank to the guys at the Wasaga Beach Woodworkers Club for the use of their lathe.

The coffee table is made from oak and finished with a Lee Valley Fumed Light Oak Analine Dye. The bottom portion is finished with shellac and the top with satin finish urethane and then waxed.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

18 comments so far

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


1536 posts in 1501 days

#1 posted 04-16-2013 02:22 AM

Looks fantastic. My kids would think this was some kind of cool drum and beat the top to death. (laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


113836 posts in 2669 days

#2 posted 04-16-2013 02:25 AM

Totally unique,great job.

-- Custom furniture

View DocSavage45's profile


6707 posts in 1934 days

#3 posted 04-16-2013 02:30 AM

You are a master! Nice to have friends! LOL! One more piece…...

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View George Coles's profile

George Coles

131 posts in 1537 days

#4 posted 04-16-2013 04:06 AM

Hit me from left field again. Well done.

-- George Coles, Antipolo, Philippines

View deon's profile


2395 posts in 2118 days

#5 posted 04-16-2013 04:47 AM

It looks realy great

-- Dreaming patterns

View hoss12992's profile


3331 posts in 985 days

#6 posted 04-16-2013 06:11 AM

Awesome job. Love it

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

#7 posted 04-16-2013 07:41 AM

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4166 posts in 1948 days

#8 posted 04-16-2013 08:26 AM

That is one fine piece of woodworking
very nice

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View michelletwo's profile


2467 posts in 2108 days

#9 posted 04-16-2013 09:50 AM

wow! ambitiously large segmentation. I don’t think I’ve seen very many segs that large. Way to go!

View Woodbridge's profile


3294 posts in 1510 days

#10 posted 04-16-2013 02:05 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone. They are much appreciated.

Michelletwo: I’m not that comfortable at the lathe and was a little nervous turning the bowl. Each of the three segments were pretty heavy on their own, but once they were rounded out and most of the wood removed the lathe stopped bouncing and it was a little easier. Fortunately there were some more experienced turners at the Wasaga Beach Woodworkers Club to give me some pointers and encouragement. I did wonder though why everyone stood about 15 feet away!

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View DocSavage45's profile


6707 posts in 1934 days

#11 posted 04-16-2013 04:20 PM

LOL! Living dangerously in woodworking!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View greeneyes's profile


8 posts in 1072 days

#12 posted 04-16-2013 07:23 PM

OMG, absolutely stunning!! Love it!!

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2533 posts in 2684 days

#13 posted 04-16-2013 07:50 PM

Very Nice! That’s a great picture of you turning!

-- Dennis Zongker

View Woodbridge's profile


3294 posts in 1510 days

#14 posted 04-16-2013 10:16 PM

Thanks, turning that “all you can eat salad bowl” was a new experience. I filled up two big 50 gallon drums of shavings.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View LeroyTheLips's profile


244 posts in 1339 days

#15 posted 04-16-2013 11:40 PM

Absolutely love this piece. Would be proud to have that in my living room. Nice job.

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