A Coffee Table For My Wife – Part 1

My wonderful wife has watched me finish countless small projects for my shop as well as other random spur of the moments ideas all before I have really made a piece that she wanted. The start of this project dates back to September and is really only coming into full swing now.


No, this isn’t my work. This was the piece of reference to start with. I made my trip to the lumber store and started shopping. I originally picked out some nice dark walnut and got it planed and jointed down to a handful of nice pieces. However, being told it’s not going to be dark enough and my absolute hatred of taking a beautiful wood like walnut and painting it black, I needed to make another choice for the top of it. I did however get started on turning the legs. Now in the future I would spend a bit more time on getting the same profile as the profile above but I am a very novice wood turner in desperate need of teaching so getting some of the small details on the leg was going to be hard.


I got some time to get to the community centre lathe  and at least begin roughing out the blanks. I also starting roughing out the profile here to start and this is where I think if I wasn’t so rushed and planned out the details I could’ve had a more accurate match. Either way, I forged ahead.


The first leg wasn’t too bad to do as you really are forming the leg you were hoping to get. However, at least with my limited skills, I definitely had to return and reshape them because I took too much wood off the next leg I turned. It was quite the task getting them all the same size and again, next time around I’ve already learned a couple tricks about copying.


After a couple days of random time spent on the lathe I was able to wrap up the legs and get them to a point where even I am fairly happy (I pick apart my own work so this is rare).


The next stage of the build is the stretchers for the table. I’m going to do my first usable mortise and tenon joint. Because I don’t have a hollow chisel mortiser I will be doing these all with a drill press, table saw and some chisels. I’ve seen enough router jigs to do this but for starters I’m going to go with the basic method. Before I jumped into the real thing, I figure I do a smaller scale test. This was just a couple pieces of scrap 1 1/2″ oak that I was able to cut into some very snug mortise and tenon joints. I didn’t really do the best job of the mortises because I didn’t use a guide block when I was chiseling but I will when i’m doing the table and either way, the joints fit very snugly and pretty much bang on without any overlap.

Sorry for the wait miss, I’ll have you a table before you know it!


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