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My Improved Two Drawer Coffee Table

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Project by barringerwoodworks posted 03-24-2014 11:46 AM 1357 views 10 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey everybody. I just finished this table yesterday (still needs wax actually). It’s basically the same as my other two-drawer coffee table posted here with some improvements in a few places that have bothered me about the first one.

Most are just subtle detail changes on the outside that make it consistent with my hall table and end table that I also offer in this style; 3 dowels on the BB ends instead of 5, dowels in the legs for the mortise/tenons now run through the rails of the face frame instead of stiles (The placement matches the other two tables mentioned now). The ornate side aprons on the first table are gone, replaced with straight ones. It has my clear Douglas Fir drawer interiors which I plan to use consistently from now on. And the drawer dovetail layout matches those other two tables now.

I think I did a better job here of grain/color matching than on that first table which has a lot of sapwood in bad places (I just didn’t know to pay attention to that then). Also, I was careful this time to cut the drawer fronts a face frame parts from the same board and orient them so the grain runs through the entire front continuously, with the exception of the stiles.

Top was planed by hand to 3/4”. Finish is 3 coats of Watco Natural Danish oil and I’ll put a few coats of paste wax on tomorrow.

This build went very smooth and was quite enjoyable – very happy with it. I think it’s partly due to me having to do carpenter remodel work presently, to make ends meet. It’s allowed me some distance from the project with only a few solid, long days on it. The rest has been a couple hours here and there.

I love the DF drawer interiors but it’s a continual challenge to dovetail or plane it cleanly. Gotta keep everything real sharp and still get a lot of tearout. My BB ends are getting better I think but still very labor intensive for me. Gonna offer them as optional on all my tables. Some folks don’t like them anyway and it provides an economical option, leaving them off.

Thanks for looking!

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA https://barringerwoodworks.squarespace.com





20 comments so far

View 489tad's profile

489tad

2395 posts in 1697 days


#1 posted 03-24-2014 11:56 AM

Beautiful coffee table. It will be hard to improve on this. Well done.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View barringerwoodworks's profile

barringerwoodworks

203 posts in 398 days


#2 posted 03-24-2014 11:58 AM

Thanks very much 489tad. Can’t wait for it to turn dark.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA https://barringerwoodworks.squarespace.com

View bubbaw's profile

bubbaw

24 posts in 331 days


#3 posted 03-24-2014 12:20 PM

I really appreciate the ideas on the wood layout etc. Beautiful table. I built a couple of glass top coffee tables a while back and really enjoyed the projects. I am new to this hobby so I try to learn from each of you more experienced woodworkers. Thanks for the build ideas.

-- Isaiah 40:31

View barringerwoodworks's profile

barringerwoodworks

203 posts in 398 days


#4 posted 03-24-2014 12:52 PM

Glad I could provide some insight bubbaw. I learn a ton from this forum. It’s really been a great place for advice, ideas, etc.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA https://barringerwoodworks.squarespace.com

View Picklehead's profile

Picklehead

609 posts in 615 days


#5 posted 03-24-2014 01:20 PM

BEAUTIFUL piece. Fine work.

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

View deon's profile

deon

2199 posts in 1711 days


#6 posted 03-24-2014 04:44 PM

Looks great!

-- Dreaming patterns

View deon's profile

deon

2199 posts in 1711 days


#7 posted 03-24-2014 04:45 PM

Looks great!

-- Dreaming patterns

View Matt in Franklin's profile

Matt in Franklin

244 posts in 298 days


#8 posted 03-24-2014 05:21 PM

Scott, nice work man! I have a couple Q’s for you:

Maybe I missed it, but what is the primary wood being used here? I know you mentioned the DF for the drawer interiors, but I wasnt sure what the outside was made of.

Secondly, I am curious about how you finished it. I would not have thought to simply put danish oil and wax on a surface as heavily used as a coffee table. Admittedly, I have never tried it, so I don’t know, but my thought would be to finish a coffee tables with a satin poly for the protection.

but I have to say it looks beautiful and simple, which is the way I like it!

-- I'm just a simple caveman

View barringerwoodworks's profile

barringerwoodworks

203 posts in 398 days


#9 posted 03-24-2014 05:36 PM

Thanks Matt. The primary wood is Cherry.

This is the first time I’ve finished a table with Danish Oil. Up until now, I’ve used GF wipe on poly. This has 3 coats of Danish Oil and 3 coats of paste wax. I know it’s not the most resilient finish but I’ve grown to dislike the GF poly. It appears “plastic-y” to me. This table was built for my own apartment and should not see any abuse or heavy use.

I’ve seen tables that have just been finished with layer after layer of pure tung oil decades ago. They still look beautiful – a few scratches but I’d rather see that – some use and some life in the table, than a finish that looks synthetic.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA https://barringerwoodworks.squarespace.com

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1263 days


#10 posted 03-24-2014 05:52 PM

Beautiful job.
Drawers are extremely useful in a coffee table.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Matt in Franklin's profile

Matt in Franklin

244 posts in 298 days


#11 posted 03-24-2014 06:10 PM

I use the GF Arm-R-Seal. The term I use is that it looks “tough”. I have 2 small kids, so tough is what I am after.

However there is a certain wisdom in the approach to using oil in a situation where low usage is expected and that is, you can very easily refinish the table when it gets scratched up. Just throw on some more oil and you are good to go. With poly, you cant do that.

-- I'm just a simple caveman

View barringerwoodworks's profile

barringerwoodworks

203 posts in 398 days


#12 posted 03-24-2014 06:54 PM

Matt, those are all good points. “tough” LOL!

I wish I could figure out how to use that GF poly well because I know it’s more durrable. It always seems to look great up until the third coat for me. Then the “friction streaks” start showing up and I don’t care for the appearance. And believe me, I’ve tried lots of different methods of applying it.

I like a really natural look of oils but I guess that’s just the tradeoff – lack of durability.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA https://barringerwoodworks.squarespace.com

View barringerwoodworks's profile

barringerwoodworks

203 posts in 398 days


#13 posted 03-24-2014 09:35 PM

So, as I type, I’m looking at this table and that top is starting to warp like a big dog! I don’t think it’s enough to draw the eye of a normal civilian. But I sure see it from across the room. Just moved it from my shop to my apartment yesterday and the sun came out and hit it. Amazing how fast that happens. Hope it straightens out.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA https://barringerwoodworks.squarespace.com

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5414 posts in 2271 days


#14 posted 03-24-2014 10:14 PM

Wow this is a nice, no actually a very nice table. I love it. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View SoonerFanJerry's profile

SoonerFanJerry

70 posts in 213 days


#15 posted 03-24-2014 11:34 PM

Beautiful. Love the clean lines.

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