April 17, 2020

Building A Coffee Table - Part II: Process

Here’s the steps to build the top an overkill coffee table:

  1. Match grain-patterns of cherry wood and choose the top side of each plank.
    Lay out all the pieces of the coffee table
    Lay out all the pieces.
  2. Cut each small section of refined wood using a jig to get the exact length on all similar pieces. Name each piece to match your schematic.
  3. Mark locations for drilling pocket holes at the base of each ‘V’ shape. By making pencil marks you are less likely to drill on the wrong side and ruin a section of wood.
  4. Assemble 12 ‘V’ shapes each with two pocket holes.
  5. Mark and pre-drill four pocket holes into each ‘V’ shape prior to assembly.
  6. Cut thin strips of popler on the table saw. Cut twice as many as needed so that you can use only the straightest cuts. Ensure each slice is the exact thickness as the cherry making up the majority of the top. A slightly thicker or thinner piece leads to lots of sanding.
  7. Decide which edge of the popler faces up, make a mark. Apply wood glue to both sides.
  8. Glue the popler to the outside of one ‘V’ shape and the inside edge of another.
  9. Clamped pieces of the coffee table
    You will never use too many clamps.
    Use a wide board with a 90 degree ‘V’ cut out of one side as a clamping jig. Use 3 bar clamps and 2 Kreg face clamps to hold the ‘V’ shape firmly against the previous one. Using clamps in this strategic fashion keeps gaps out of the table.
  10. Assembling the coffee table
    Pocket hole screws on the bottom.
    Drive two pocket hole screws in, move the face clamps and do two more on the opposite side.
  11. Remove all clamps, repeat 12 times for each ‘V’ shape.
  12. Once the entire top is assembled, use the bandsaw to straighten out the edges.
  13. Use a 1/4” round-over bit to make a decorative edge. Use some wood filler for any inconsistencies in the jointery.
  14. Build the frame and shelf in a classical coffee table approach.
  15. Sand and apply polyurethane.
completed deisgn of the coffee table
The Final Product.