Elliptical Quartersawn Sapele Coffee Table

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Project by Michael Sanders posted 06-10-2013 11:31 PM 2910 views 11 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a table I built for myself. The top was made originally for a restaurant, but the size did not work out. I was able to get it for free, knowing that I would eventually build a base for it to be my coffee table. It sat atop a base from another table for a while, what I call “frankenfurniture.” Eventually I had the time and material to build the base I wanted.

It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to build the base. I don’t build traditional furniture and didn’t want want four legs with a curved skirt. I also wanted a drawer that would slide out of either side of the table. I was actually inspired by some different conference table designs with two big chunky legs that support the whole mass of the top. So I sketched it by hand. And then I discovered Sketchup, so I used my potential design to figure out the program. I had terrific results, and haven’t looked back since. (I included both the hand sketch and the Sketchup model)

I reshaped and refinished the top. The legs of the table were sculpted out of 10/4 material. The construction of the base is pretty straight forward. Nothing too complicated. Two legs with dados to accommodate the drawer, connected by two upper stretchers and two lower stretchers that support the shelf. The drawer is screwed and capped because it would have been ridiculous to try and dovetail around the dado in the side of the drawers that accepted the glued in drawer slide.

It is finished with a 50% cut minwax poly, wiped on 3x. and Briwax to finish the finish, as I like to do.

-- Michael Sanders, Charleston, SC, "Tight joints and clean lines"

13 comments so far

View Buckethead's profile


3191 posts in 1474 days

#1 posted 06-10-2013 11:36 PM

Beautiful table. The design is very appealing and well balanced. What type of wood? It’s beautiful. (And looks quite expensive)

You mention sketchup… Did you find it easy to use, and if so, are you previously CAD experienced?

And how on earth did you get that bevel on the table top?

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Michael Sanders's profile

Michael Sanders

12 posts in 1418 days

#2 posted 06-10-2013 11:44 PM

Buckethead- It is constructed of sapele, an african hardwood. I do have a little CAD experience, but Sketchup is incredibly intuitive. I watched some tutorials and picked it up in a day or so. The bevels were done by hand with a powered hand planer.

-- Michael Sanders, Charleston, SC, "Tight joints and clean lines"

View Albe's profile


215 posts in 1616 days

#3 posted 06-11-2013 02:38 AM

Very nice coffee table I especially like the draw and the handle contrast. I am goin to be making a entertainment center and may use Sapele is it hard to work with?

-- Be yourself everyone else is already taken.

View Woodbridge's profile


3479 posts in 2023 days

#4 posted 06-11-2013 03:05 AM

gorgeous table. The design is quite striking.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Dusty56's profile


11809 posts in 3293 days

#5 posted 06-11-2013 03:58 AM

Hang on a just can’t blurt out “Elliptical Quartersawn Sapele Coffee Table” and then not show us a picture of the top !!

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

View Ottacat's profile


444 posts in 1457 days

#6 posted 06-11-2013 04:47 AM

Really striking. You realized your design quite beautifully.

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1429 days

#7 posted 06-11-2013 11:31 AM

Beautiful table Michael…I love the way you have done the table top…..the whole table is excelent.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View michelletwo's profile


2629 posts in 2621 days

#8 posted 06-11-2013 02:41 PM

interesting drawer runner into the face frame..quite a nice table

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


25331 posts in 2472 days

#9 posted 06-11-2013 03:57 PM

Nice looking design and well executed. Welcome to Lumberjocks, Michael.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2939 days

#10 posted 06-11-2013 05:18 PM

Wonderful design and excellent work.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5172 posts in 2418 days

#11 posted 06-11-2013 06:02 PM

A real work of art. Well done.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View mcoyfrog's profile


3800 posts in 3199 days

#12 posted 06-11-2013 06:32 PM

Great design, and welcome to LJ you will enjoy it here.

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View Gittyup's profile


106 posts in 1561 days

#13 posted 06-12-2013 02:05 AM

Very sharp design.

-- tel

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