Woodworking Projects

Shaker Coffee Table

 

Date Constructed:

March 2014

Lumber:

Cherry (planed to 3/4")

Dimensions:

48" wide x 24" deep x 17" tall

Stain:

None

Topcoat:

Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish (8 coats) and carnauba wax (3 coats)

Overview:

As with the blanket chest, I copied the design from Thos. Moser, using their Coffee Table for reference. Compared to the blanket chest, this was a much less complex project. But I still learned a few things in the process.

What I Learned:

Finish —  I love the oil and wax finish I used on the blanket chest, and this coffee table is going in the same room, so I wanted the finish to look similar. However, the oil and wax finish isn't very durable, and wouldn't hold up to the kind of traffic and abuse that a coffee table experiences.

After some research, I settled on Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish. However, applying this finish as instructed on the can would lead to drips on vertical surfaces. Instead, I followed this application process, which gave me a much better result (although it requires many more coats applied with a rag or paper towel rather than a brush, so it takes more time but is worth the effort). After the varnish cures, you rub it out with steel wool to reduce the shine, and then apply several coats of wax.

Tapered legs —  I used this technique to taper the table legs with my jointer. It works well and does not require the use of a tapering jig. As with the Thos. Moser coffee table, I only tapered the two inside surfaces of each leg (that is, the two sides of each leg that meet the table's apron pieces). The other two sides of each leg are straight.

Drawer construction —  The drawer front was harvested directly from the piece of apron lumber using the technique described on the blanket chest page. By doing this, the grain pattern flows from the drawer front and continues onto the apron.

Of course, the drawer was constructed with half-blind dovetails.

 

What Didn't Work:

Mortise and tenon joinery —  I intended to attach the table aprons to the legs with mortise and tenon joinery, but I wasn't being careful enough and messed up the tenons. So I ended up using a Kreg jig to attach the aprons to the legs with pocket screws. This is not joinery that I'm proud of, but it was fast and strong, so it works well if your mortise and tenons don't work, or if you're in a hurry to get a project done.

 

Get the Plan:

View and print my Shaker coffee table plan.