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Forum topic by SimonSKL posted 08-03-2009 11:03 PM 9110 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SimonSKL

185 posts in 2707 days


08-03-2009 11:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: coffee table asian joinery

My wife wants me to build an Asian style coffee table and end table. I have drawn up a design like this but I need some help to make this project work.


The picture above was cropped on the right side. To see the entire table, click this link.
http://i667.photobucket.com/albums/vv38/SimonSKL/AsianCoffeeTable.jpg

This coffee table will be roughly 46”x40”. The wood used for this project will be cherry. I plan to use a piece of tempered glass on top to keep things from falling thru:). My questions are:

1. What type of joinery will be strong enough to attach the top and the shelf to the four posts?
2. Will the top be strong enough to support the glass and for daily use?
3. What design faults are you seeing in this?

Any suggestions and comments will be welcome.

-- Simon, Danville, IL


15 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3116 days


#1 posted 08-03-2009 11:24 PM

I think mortise and tenon to connect the rails to the legs would be the strongest and most appropriate in this case. and the top can sit on a rabbet in the rails.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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SimonSKL

185 posts in 2707 days


#2 posted 08-10-2009 03:12 AM

Any other suggestion or comment??

-- Simon, Danville, IL

View kolwdwrkr's profile

kolwdwrkr

2821 posts in 3058 days


#3 posted 08-10-2009 03:34 AM

I would flush the legs up with the top and allow the glass to span over the legs. If you leave the legs high, still have the glass span over the legs. It will sit above the other woodwork. 1/2” tempered glass should be strong enough for that table span. I would have the bottom shelf flush with the top of those aprons. I think my big thing is ease of taking things in and out. It seems as though the lip from the apron would catch or hinder my ability to remove things easily. In that case the aprons would all be morticed and tenoned into the legs. The bottom shelf would just sit on the aprons, as would the top shelf, preferrably in a rabbet as Purp suggested. This way you don’t see the edge of it. Finally post it here on LJs for all to see and enjoy

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

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SimonSKL

185 posts in 2707 days


#4 posted 08-10-2009 09:15 PM

Kolwdwrkr, excellent suggestions! By keeping the legs flush with the top will also help distributing the weight of the glass to the legs and not entirely on the top. You are also right about having the lower shelf flush with the top of the apron to allow easy removal of items and probably give the shelf a better support.

Thank you!

-- Simon, Danville, IL

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 3236 days


#5 posted 08-10-2009 09:35 PM

one other thing you might want to take a look at is using a mitered tenon instead of just straight mortise and tenons. miters in that top swirl would look really nice. heres an example of this kind of joinery i used on a picture frame

Click for details

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SimonSKL

185 posts in 2707 days


#6 posted 08-10-2009 09:52 PM

Teenagewoodworker, great suggestion. I was wondering how I would make the top. I can make it from a solid piece of cherry board and use a scroll saw or band saw to remove the extra wood but there will be a lot of wasted cherry. Also I am not sure my bandsaw/scroll saw is wide enough for such a big piece of board. Handling such a big piece of board is also difficult and awkward at the saw. A mitered tenon is definitely another option. Thanks!

-- Simon, Danville, IL

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kolwdwrkr

2821 posts in 3058 days


#7 posted 08-10-2009 10:42 PM

I wouldn’t make a frame for the glass. Bevel the boarder of the glass and just set it down on the table. The other thing you could do is recess your rabbet that the detailed wooden top sets down into far enough to accomodate the wood and the glass, if that makes sence. In other words the aprons will have a rabbet that is 3/4” for the wood + X amount for the glass.
Adding a frame would take away from the overall look IMHO.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

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SimonSKL

185 posts in 2707 days


#8 posted 08-11-2009 12:54 AM

Kolwdwrkr, I was just talking to my wife about the suggestions you and others made, she suggested exactly the same thing you just made in the last comment. Great minds think alike!

I don’t think Teenagewoodworker was suggesting framing the glass but to use the mitered tenon joints for joining pieces of the swirled top. If the top is not made from one solid board, the mitered tenon joints may be an option to join the pieces. Here is my revised designed based on everyone input.

Here is a closeup of the corner. The top is recessed enough to accommodate the thickness of the glass.

-- Simon, Danville, IL

View kolwdwrkr's profile

kolwdwrkr

2821 posts in 3058 days


#9 posted 08-11-2009 03:24 AM

It’s looking great. Can’t wait to see it built

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View SimonSKL's profile

SimonSKL

185 posts in 2707 days


#10 posted 08-12-2009 02:40 PM

Here is a SketchUp drawing of the joinery of the top rail/apron to the leg at the top. The bottom rail/apron to the leg will be similar. The rail/apron will be 1” thick. The tenon is about 3 1/4”x3/8”x3/4”. The mortise will be slight deeper at about 7/8”. The rabbet will be 7/16” which I hope will support the top and the glass. The overall dimension for the top is about 36”x28”.

Any criticism or suggestion is welcome. Thanks

-- Simon, Danville, IL

View chscholz's profile

chscholz

36 posts in 3544 days


#11 posted 08-13-2009 07:08 AM

Simon,

Interesting design
I am not sure if you if you are trying to emulate the Buddhist wanzi symbol, if so, here is how the wanzi is traditionally done:
Exploded view of wooden Buddhist wanzi symbol

Chris

-- Chris Scholz, Arlington, TX, www.Galoot-Tools.com

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chscholz

36 posts in 3544 days


#12 posted 08-13-2009 07:13 AM

Here is a view of a traditional mitered tenon joint.
Coffee table using traditional joinery

By the way, if you cut the joinery right you will not need any glue.

-- Chris Scholz, Arlington, TX, www.Galoot-Tools.com

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chscholz

36 posts in 3544 days


#13 posted 08-13-2009 07:20 AM

One last comment, at least the Chinese used all sorts of woods. Elm (yumu) was a favorite softwood, locust (huaimu), pear (taumu), walnut (hetaomu) and a great variety of wood species, not to mention the “classical” types of rosewood (hua li, huang hua li and zitan if you can afford it). As far as I know, cherry was a rather uncommon type of wood.

-- Chris Scholz, Arlington, TX, www.Galoot-Tools.com

View kolwdwrkr's profile

kolwdwrkr

2821 posts in 3058 days


#14 posted 08-13-2009 07:43 AM

Chris, the drawings of the joinery is very well done and detailed. Kudos. I’m near positive I wouldn’t have the talent to build something that sophisticated.
Simon, I think it’s going to work out great. The joinery and details Chris show would be awesome to try. If you feel motivated to do it the way he shows please blog the process. It would be cool to see. If not, I look forward to seeing the table complete.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View SimonSKL's profile

SimonSKL

185 posts in 2707 days


#15 posted 08-17-2009 02:10 AM

I am on vacation visiting family in Vancouver, Canada. This is my first chance to get on LJ and check on my wishlist.

Chris, Wow! that was one complicated joinery you have there for the Wanzi symbol. Like kolwdwrkr, I am not sure I have the skill to do something like that. I defintely will think about it and thanks for the suggestion. Living in the Midwest pretty much limits the types of wood that I can use to build the coffee table. I love those exotic woods but will not be able to afford them.

-- Simon, Danville, IL

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