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coffee table 2024-01-22

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I made this as a gift for a friend who needed a low table for her fabric arts. She asked for a 36" x 20-24" surface and wanted it 16" high. I used 1 1/4" cherry boards I had purchased in Pennsylvania in the 1990s. I cut them to 42" and used a planer sled to remove the twist and flatten the boards. Hot melt glue kept them from rocking. You can see an initial gap between the jointed unglued boards in photo #2. I then went crazy with the jack plane and a 48" box level used as a straight edge, and jointed the edges to .002, using a feeler gauge. My inept glue-up of 3 boards resulted in a panel with a center board elevated with respect to the lateral boards. I flattened the panel with the jack plane to a final 1" thickness and trimmed it to length with a circular saw. I drew fair curves for the long edges using a 1/4" oak cut-off I found in my "I'll save this because you never know" pile. The curves looked good. I stayed wide of the line with the jigsaw but could correct this with the LN # 102 followed by hand sanding.
The 2 supports were cut from dimensional lumber and plywood. The cleat of the trapezoidal support was secured by furniture connector bolts into threaded inserts in the underside of the tabletop. A drilled spacer block of glued discards allowed only the first 1/2" of the brad point drill to penetrate (green tape in photo). The finish is oil-based polyurethane over shellac.
As my shop was cluttered, I expanded to the adjacent basement and did a lot of work on 2 sawhorses. I liked this setup so much that I subsequently bought 2 of the heaviest sawhorses available and tied them together with a 2' x 4' piece of heavy plywood. It doesn't rock or move when I lean on it and should be a good area for planing and assembly.

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Author
Bruce Mack
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