Woodworking Projects and Plans : Arts & Crafts Coffee Table, easy and simple to build

Hello and welcome to Woodworking with Edward Short. My project today is to build a coffee table to along with the stands I just built.
The gentlemen whom I built the stands for came by and seen them and really liked them and wanted to build a coffee table to along with the set. I haven't had a chance to draft any plans which is often the case. I discussed a few details and measurements with him. So I made this sketch which I will hang on the wall and use as a reference as I am building the project. The material for the project is the same material I used to build the stands which is Douglas Fir. The finished needs to match exactly so I kept detailed notes on
how I applied it and the colors I used. This way if I want to replicate the colors on another piece I can refer back to my notes. One thing I keep in mind when I am designing a piece is the finish.

The finish is just as important as the construction and design of your piece. One compliments the other. So I need to get the material. I just did an outline for the pieces on the material. So let me show you what I did. I started off by laying out for the rough cuts then I wrote the piece description of each piece on the material so this way it
helps keep everything organized.

This helps utilize the board you can plan the cuts. Now this knot goes all the way through so I have to plan the cuts around that. This piece will make up the corbels so it's a scrap piece. To cut the rough cuts I am going to use the circular saw. Also I am going to put a couple of scrap boards under the material to help
support the board while I am cutting the pieces. Before I begin I using any power tools I need to mention workshop Safety.

Read and follow the directions and procedures on using your power tools. Wearing the proper safety gear such as eye and hearing protection along with a dust mask will help avoid personal injuries. Douglas Fir is quite dusty so I will need
to use a dust mask. I use two inch material for most of my projects. It's easier to plane a one and a half inch board down to one inch. Than it is to glue two boards together. Most of my table tops I prefer to make them one inch or thicker. This gives the piece a better proportional look , plus the piece looks solid. Here are pieces that make up the coffee table. Let me give you a quick over view.

The pieces I can not use I will take to fire pit and burn. This scrap piece makes up the corbels. These three pieces make up the table top which I will rip into thin strips and glue them together. These two pieces are the short rails. These two pieces are the long rails. Then here are eight pieces that will make up the four legs. I need to get the joiner out and join one edge and then glue two boards together. So I need to get the joiner out. I've got the joiner set up. The Safety gear handy. Now I'm ready to begin joining an edge on all the of boards. I went through the boards to see if I had any cups, twists or bows on the boards. Usually on a short width like this you won't have any cups. However i did have some bow which the bows go from corner to corner. If you glue the boards together without eliminating the bow the boards could spring back and the glue joint could fail.

Now I put an indicating arrow to show me which edge to join. I am already to start gluing up the legs. i have water, sponge, spreading stick, glue, the clamps and the pieces themselves. Now I am ready to start applying the glue. Now I have all the joined edges facing up. The reason for joining the edges was to remove any debri and bows in the wood so I have a good glue joint. I'll take the first piece, slide it in the back and push to others forward.

I'm going to keep doing that until I get all the glue spread. Now I will flip the pieces where the joined edges are facing each other. I usually leave a little bit of a gap under the clamp so this way I can clean up the glue. I'm using a sponge and water to clean the glue up so it doesn't get everywhere.

The legs are all clamped together so I will leave them to cure over night. Leaving the legs dry over night allows the glue to set up properly. Now I'm ready to begin working on the table top. I'm going to take the material and rip it into thins trips. I could glue two boards together to form the table top but gluing thin strip together will be more stable. Now there is one issue with the boards and that is they are cupped. So I need to address that issue. As I place my square from corner to corner on the wood. You can see that there is a gap betweenteh square and wood. Now how I am going to address that issue is by ripping the material in half then rip the thins strips from the halves. This way the cup will more manageable. I just marked the ends of the boards on both ends. I marked them to help keep them organized this way i don't join the wrong edge. I have the joiner set up. I'm going to join one edge then flip the board over then join the other edge.

The reason I do this is so I have a clean surface and a flat surface to glue. I just applied the glue to the pieces and I am ready to glue them together. Now I am gluing the top together in halves. If I glued the boards all together the table top would not fit through the planer so that's why I am gluing them up in halves. I am using a spreading stick to spread the glue.

When I put the clamps on I don't want them touching the material because I don't want glue on the clamps. So I going to leave a gap about a finger between the wood and clamps. I have the second half of the table top glued. Now I am going to work on the legs. I am ready to begin working ong the rails and legs. On the legs I am going to ripping them down to a rough size. Then finish planing them down to the proper size with the planer. The rails get a rabett. On the rails I went through the boards and selected which side was the good side then placed an X on the side facing in. The mark is a reminder where the rabett is so I don't put the rabett on the wrong side. On the legs I put a friendly reminder to remind me of my 90 degree edge. This way I don't rip the wrong edges. I am going to use the table saw to rip the rabetts and rip the legs down to the rough size.

The legs are planed down to the proper thickness, trimmed and cut to length. All I have to do is cut the angle. The corbels are are planed down to their proper thickness, trimmed and cut to length as well. All I have to do is copy the pattern and cut them out. Now I am going to cut the angle on the legs. I have already selected which sides of the legs I want facing out. Now I need to place the marks on the rails. The marks go on the back side of the rails and that's easy enough I have an X marked on the back side and i have a rabett on the back side.

All I need to do is transfer the marks. I need to make sure that the tops of the rails and the tops of the legs are flush. I just set the depth on the biscuit joiner and all I have to do is cut the biscuit slots. I'm just dry fitting the legs a rails to make sure I don't have any problems as I mentioned earlier and I am fine there. Next I am going to work on the top. I need to join one edge, rip it to width, trim one end then cut it to length. Then I'll begin sanding all the pieces.

And from there it's assembling and finishing. Woodworking for me is not about just building the piece. For me it's about using proportions mathematically and visually. Mathematically I use proportions, ratios and formulas when I'm designing a piece. Visually is where the piece looks proportional to itself and to the room. Well the project is coming along just fine. I have the legs cut to size. The rails cut and the table top is cut to size. And the glue joint looks just great. All i have to do it cut corbels. I'll trace the pattern then cut the pieces out. I just finished cutting the first corbel. I will use this one as the pattern and trace it to the other pieces and then cut them out as well. I made a few extra pieces so this way I would have a few extra corbels.

If I am nailing them and a few crack at least I can replace them. I am all done tracing the patterns all I have to do is cut them out. I'm all finished cutting the corbels and I am ready to move on from here. I made sure to wear my eye and hearing protection and also I wear a dust mask.

As you can tell cutting the pieces is very dusty. So it's wise to wear a dust mask. I am ready to begin sanding the pieces which include the corbels, table top, legs and rails. I need to get the sander out. I am sanding the pieces with 120 grit sandpaper on the belt sander. Then I'll use the orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper. I will assemble the rails and legs and while they dry I'll sand the table top. I am all set up to glue the rails and legs together. I already have the glue, water, sponge, clamps all set up.

Now I have already took the time to make the gussetts which I'll glue and screw them into place. I have already pre-drilled the holes. I've already got the legs set up and organized. So I am ready to begin gluing. I am going put the glue in the slots first. I'm putting a little bit of glue into the slots. I don't want awhole bunch to much squeezing out. Then I'll glue the short rails first. I have the second short all clamped together. Next I am going to assemble the long rails. I just checked the coffee table for square and I'm perfectly fine there.

Now I'm going to attach the gussets with glue and screws. Well the stand is all clamped together. I'll leave it to dry over night that way the glue has had a chance to cure. I attached the gussetts with glue and screws. I put the gussetts on here because it will add some some strength to the piece and also to attach the table top. Next I going to sand the table top and corbels. i will start with the corbels first. Now I'm ready to begin sanding the corbels. I have the sanding profiles ready. I've got a sanding block, sanding stick and a dust mask. I will start off with 100 grit sandpaper first then switch to 220 grit sandpaper for a smoother finish.

I have the corbels sanded. Now I am ready to sand the table top. The corbels took about an hour to sand so I just turned on the radio and too my time. I'm ready to sand the table top. I'm going to start off with a belt sand first with 80 grit. I'll sand the ends, the sides then the top. I'm not going to sand the bottom of the top because I don't really need to. Then I'll switch sanders and use 100 grit then use 220 grit sandpaper for a final finish. I am pre-drilling the holes to fasten the table top down. Once I'm done with that I'll re-sand the piece with 220 grit sandpaper, then attach the table top, then attach corbels. Then I need to sand the table top. I haven't sanded the table top with 220 grit sandpaper just yet. I'm going to make that the final thing I do right before I begin the finishing. Now I'm getting ready to attach the table top.

I just need to center it up. So I measure from each end to make sure the distance is the same. Then I'll use a pencil to mark the location. Once I get it centered all I need to do is mark the location. To attach the corbels I'm going to make sure they are flush without side of the leg. I'm going to use a brad to attach the corbels. I'm going to use a 2" nail at the top of the corbel. Now I just need to put this on. I'm going to use some nail filler to fill hte holes. And then take a piece of sandpaper and then sand the filler off. I'm going to sand the table top with 220 grit sandpaper and this will be the final sanding. Then I'll begin the finish which will begin with 2 coats of brown gel stain followed by 4 coats of shellac.

Then 2 coats of a red gel stain to add a little tinting to the piece. Gustav Stickley is one of my influences when I designing and building a piece. A relative of the gentlemen whom I built this coffee table and stand for asked me to build a toy box for their daughter which they can use a chest as the child gets older. Gustav had a philosophy of simple and plain and staying true to form. It work well for Gustav and it works well for me. Gustav came up this philosophy in the earlier 1900's and that philosophy still applies to today' furniture. I'm about to apply the first coat of gel stain. I'll let it dry then apply another coat of gel stain.

I'll apply it in thin coats and I'm using an old t-shirt I cut up to apply it with. I need to replicate the color I did on the other stands which was 2 coats of a brown gel stain, 4 coats of shellac and then 2 coats of a red gel stain. To get into the crevices I am using a screw driver. I just wrap the cloth around it. That will get me right into the crevices. I have already applied the second coat of brown gel stain and I'm ready to begin applying the shellac. Shellac comes in cuts. 1:1, 2:1 or 3:1 cut. What that means is it's one pound of shellac flakes mixed with one gallon of denatured alcohol. A 2:1 cut is 2 pounds of shellac flakes mixed with 1 gallon of denatured alcohol. And a 3:1 cut is 3 pounds of shellac flakes mixed with 1 gallon of denatured alcohol. I'm going to use a 2:1 cut which is a medium consistency. The higher the number the thicker the consistency. I am going to use a brush to apply the shellac. You could use a sprayer but I prefer to use a brush.

It's a little less messier. Now I do need to move pretty rapidly because the shellac will dry pretty quickly. There are two things I need to watch for is any drips and also any runs that develop while I am applying the shellac. And that's will happen around any corners, corbels and any crevices. Shellac bonds to it's previous coat. So if you apply four coats you end up with just one coat where as if you apply polyurethane and you apply four coats you have four layers.

As you can see I have some runs that developed. I'll use the brush to remove them. I need to get those before they dry. I'm all done applying the first coat of shellac. I just need to let it dry over night then I'll apply the second coat. I am about to apply two coats of a red gel stain. I'm applying two coats. So I will apply the first coat let it dry for 24 hours then apply the second coat. When I build coffee tables I prefer not to have the table tops to long for example when I bui;t them 2' by 4' I felt that 4' was to long and awkward in a room. So I started making them more proportional by making the length one-third longer than the width. This has worked so far and everyone likes the size. The coffee table is all finished. I matched the styles of the stands and most important I matched to color. Since the coffee table isn't going to be receiving much wear gel stain as a finish will work just fine.

So if you would like more information on this and other fun woodworking projects visit www.WoodworkingwithEdwardShort.net I'm Edward Short, The Hoosier Craftsman. Happy and Safe Woodworking !.

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