Coffee Table - First Project

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Ike posted 11-21-2007 06:49 PM 1910 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ike's profile


10 posts in 3869 days

11-21-2007 06:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: beginner coffee table

First off, I would like to say hi, and thank you for the welcome. I stumbled across the site while in the process of looking for lumber on the internet, and I’m quite glad I did.

I have ton’s of questions, very amateurish questions, that I didn’t know where to post and ask, so I have put them on the back burner. The main question is, and I know this is a big debate, is a card scraper worth the investment, and will it create better finishes than sandpaper/orbital sanders?

But, the real reason I started this thread is to ask what you all thought of my coffee table design. It is just a quick mock up from sketch up, but it does give some good basic ideas, other than fastening it all together.

The table dimension I have decided upon is a 5’x2’x1.5’ (or 60”x24”x18”) with a pull out drawer. My decision problem is that I can’t decide if I want the table to have a bottom shelf or not.

here it is with

and here it is w/o

also, would you personally do a pass with the router around the top edge (and which bit would you suggest) or leave it nice and square? I do have a little one running about, so rounding edges is a plus. I would just like to again mention, this is my first wood working project ever (other than fence building which hardly counts), but I don’t want it to be my last.

thank you in advanced,

edit: i just realized that it cuts off the picture of the coffee table, so if you want to see the whole picture, go to and

-- Ike, Houston,Tx

8 replies so far

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3902 days

#1 posted 11-21-2007 07:01 PM

Welcome to the site!

The table: I think your design looks good with a bottom shelf. You might find it useful as well, for those magazines you need to get out of the way for coffee time. As for the round over, Since your design is very square the square edge might compliment it. As for the little one, maybe just knock the edge down with sandpaper so it is not too sharp. But go with your gut feeling in the end… This is your design and your project! And since it is your first, you will inevitably learn a ton.

The scraper: Did you see my video? I suppose I am the main advocate for scrapers lately, but you ask if it is worth the investment… Of course it is, they only cost about $10 BUCKS! Hardly an investment at all. It will cost less than ONE of your coffee table legs!

-- Happy woodworking!

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3990 days

#2 posted 11-21-2007 07:34 PM

Well, we can’t answer your questions until you ask them can we? Get a scraper, learn to use it. It will come in handy even if you like to sand a lot.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4189 days

#3 posted 11-21-2007 08:00 PM

Personally, I’d vote for the bottom shelf … I’m a collector of stuff and it has to go somewhere—that wasted space would drive me crazy if I knew that I could have had a shelf there!
But then, some people love the clean uncluttered look and the added shelf would detract from that appearance.

I agree that the design is very rectangular and nice square edges would add to the overall look. Giving it a slightly rounded edge would, however, prevent a lot of “ouches”.

As for the scraper. Don’t have one; never used one, but Blake’s video has inspired me!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4019 days

#4 posted 11-22-2007 12:38 AM

Sanders “raise” the grain while scrapers “flatten” it making for a real smooth surface. Blake had a great video (with music too!) about scrapers…go check it out.

Oh, what’s your home decor? Shaker style would go with square, simple edges. Early American style would have routed edges. French style, or Queen Anne style, will probably put you in an asylum.

And I like the idea of a bottom shelf as a “catch all”.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4105 days

#5 posted 11-22-2007 03:08 AM

Bottom shelf and look at Blake’s video. He makes it look easy.

-- BLOG -

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4128 days

#6 posted 11-22-2007 05:49 PM

I personally like the shelf, I am very practical when it comes to space because I live in a small house. The drawer could be a bit wider for visual balance, it is a bit small for the overall size. The great thing is that Sketchup allows us to see that all in proportion.

Blake does have a great video on the scraper. I use the scraper myself almost daily. I typically run my sanding to 180 grit and then finish. I don’t have any problems with swirl marks.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View brad's profile


136 posts in 3932 days

#7 posted 11-22-2007 06:08 PM

We have lots of inventory, the bottom shelf would be good for me, I like it.

-- Brad,--"The way to eat an eliphant is one bite at a time"

View Ike's profile


10 posts in 3869 days

#8 posted 11-23-2007 05:28 PM

Oh, what’s your home decor? Shaker style would go with square, simple edges. Early American style would have routed edges. French style, or Queen Anne style, will probably put you in an asylum.

I couldn’t tell you, I don’t know much about those designs. The house was built in 1970’s and the room in question has the wood paneling as well as some decorative dropped crossmembers across the ceiling. the only picture i could find was from right after we moved in and a picture of the built-in cabinet.

you can see the cross-member’s slightly its the only picture i have that isn’t blurry. next time I’ll have to come and take the pictures myself….

suggestions for wood/stain or should I take something with me to the lumber place to see what they think?

edit: again the picture didnt load completely, heres the chopped off part:

-- Ike, Houston,Tx

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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