Bad wood, Coffee Table
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Coffee table: a quick update

Work continues on the coffee table project. Yesterday I spent an hour shopping for the red oak plywood for the lower shelf. You would think that this process would not take so long, but I had to go to three different stores: Home Depot at the Galleria, Lowes on Valleydale Road, and Woodcraft on Cahaba Valley Road. Home Depot had full sheets of this plywood (I don’t need a full sheet), Lowes had a 2’x4′ “handy panels” which is what I need. And I went to Woodcraft just to see what they had.

It is amazing to me what Lowes had for sale. The 2’x4′ handy panels they had were full of terrible defects. Most of these were knots that had come out of the veneer and had been filled with wood putty. For most woodworkers, this material is simply not usable. I sorted through about six of these panels of plywood to find this somewhat acceptable piece:

The grain is wild and I am not sure what has caused those dark stripes. Fortunately for me, the defects are on just one end of the panel (although it also has some scratches in it and footprints where someone had been walking on it). So, I will use it if I can’t find something better. That is why I went to Woodcraft – I had hopes that a woodworking store would have better stock, but they have stopped carrying sheet goods.

Fitting the dowels
This morning I worked on the dowels. Because of the length of the dowels, they meet each other inside the legs. Therefore, I need to cut a 45 degree angle on the end of each dowel. I do this on my newest piece of woodworking equipment – my Jet bandsaw. See below:

Here is how the dowels meet up inside each leg:

With this completed, I can actually dry fit all the legs, aprons and stretchers. At present the project looks like this:

During the week, I will work on the lower shelf cutting it to size and adding a oak strip to each edge to hide the unsightly edge of the plywood itself.

I pan to use some kind of figured wood on the top. I saw a beautiful piece of tiger maple at Woodcraft that would be perfect. Hopefully, I will start work on the top next week.

This is post four in this series. To see the next post, “Coffee Table: fabricating the shelf” click here.


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This entry was posted in: Bad wood, 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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