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Forum topic by FlawlessCowboy posted 07-03-2011 06:59 AM 1190 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 2526 days

07-03-2011 06:59 AM

Hi folks,

New to woodworking and am trying my hand at a sofa table design and above is what I have come up with in Sketchup. The materials are maple and mahogany.

The L-Shaped legs are going to be connected with a long bevel cut. The grey on the legs are aluminum angles that will be screwed to the legs.

The bands on the on the ends of the tabletop would be an aluminum flat. Would screwing this into the end grain impede the movement of the wood too much?

I am looking for advice on how to attach the table top to the two rails and the two rails to the apron to create the lifted tabletop effect.

Thanks for any input,

2 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2844 days

#1 posted 07-08-2011 06:52 AM

Hi Nate,

You’re off to a good start.

Aluminum on the end: It looks to be about 15” wide. There will be some movement. You could elongate your holes in the aluminum and use a truss head screw. Or use angle and attach it to the bottom. But figure out a way for the top to shrug a bit.

For attaching your rails, try Googling “floating table top” and I bet you’ll see some helpful images.

Two comments unasked for: First, a table is rarely seen as it is drawn in two dimensions—straight on and straight down. It will look quite different in real life. I’d suggest you snag a refrigerator box or some big cardboard and saw it up carefully on your TS and fire up your glue gun and make a full size model. It’s fun, and often very helpful.

Second, sofa tables are a bit of an odd bird in their proportions. I have found that if I bring the legs right out close to the long edges and then let the top overhang the ends maybe three times that overhang, they look better, or more stable, or something.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Simeond's profile


79 posts in 2398 days

#2 posted 06-26-2012 06:29 AM

There’s some great design elements in here, Cowboy. (I like addressing someone as “Cowboy” – thanks for that!). I agree with Lee that you’ll want to find a way to allow a little movement in your top.

As to your question, first, I don’t think you need your rails to extend out to the edge of table top. As Lee said, google “floating table top” and they’ll be some good images. Your rails can go between your aprons (which are already recessed from the top’s edge) and extend higher than the apron. Because of the recessed apron, you won’t see the supporting rails. That said, one thing I’ve noticed about “floating tops” is that you don’t really see the effect when the apron is recessed far (since you look at it standing, you don’t see the negative space between the top and apron. The dynamic effect is when you can see a slight gap between apron and top when looking down at it from a standing position. You still put the rails between the aprons, but bevel or curve them so they aren’t flush with the apron where the “negative space” is – if that makes sense…

As far as attaching the rails to apron, if you put them between the aprons, you can use a half-lap dado or dovetail. Attaching the top, again allow for movement…

Nice design, look forward to pictures of the completed project!

-- "...a band of small discoveries, strung like pearls on a thread of curiosity, lending richness to our work...." - James Krenov.......

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