Coffee Table
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The coffee table begins to take shape

inally, I am back to woodworking. After moving Beth to the University of Alabama and all the prep work leading up to the move, I found some time yesterday afternoon to get back in my shop and make some progress on the coffee table.

First, how about a little history of this project. This table will take the place of a old toy chest in our family room that doubles as a coffee table. In my first post on this project, I included a sketch of the table and photos of the legs and their placement. The second post shows how I drill holes in the legs and the aprons for dowels, and begin sanding these parts.

Yesterday, I finished sanding the legs and aprons, cut the aprons to size and dry fit the parts. This is the part of the project where it becomes fun, because the coffee table is beginning to take shape. Another reason that this project slowed down is because I hate sanding. I have not yet found a method for controlling saw dust and even with a heavy duty mask, dust finds its way into my sinuses.

Two aprons from one board. In this photo from my last post, I show a apron board that will be cut into two pieces: an upper and a lower apron.

The cut. I am about to run the apron board through the table saw separating the board into an upper and lower apron (the lower apron would technically be called a “stretcher”).

Fitting the dowels. I use 3/8″ dowels and a 3/8″ drill bit to make the holes. You would think that the dowels will fit, but they don’t. They must have swelled due to humidity, so I have to take a slightly larger drill bit and ream out all those dowel holes so the dowels will fit. The photo above shows two dowels joining the leg to the upper apron.

The dry fit. It is time to see how some of these components fit together. In the photo, I have dry fitted (no glue) the parts for the front and back of the coffee table.

The next step is to dry fit the left and right sides and begin working on the lower shelf. The lower shelf will be a piece of red oak plywood edged in solid red oak. I wouldn’t normally use oak plywood for this, but my concern is that solid oak boards will expand and contract with seasonal changes in humidity and I don’t want the expansion to push the legs apart. Plywood is much more stable. Once the lower self is properly cut to size, then I can glue all of these parts together and begin working on the top.

This is post three in this series. See the next post, “A Quick Update” by clicking here.


Have a question or comment? Leave yours by clicking on the “Comments – post yours here” link below. My email is or you can contact me through Twitter or Facebook. Subscribe via email or RSS by clicking here.

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This entry was posted in: Coffee Table


During the week, I sell flooring products for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.

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