Coffee Table
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Coffee table: fabricating the shelf

The coffee table project continues to take shape. With the long Labor Day weekend, I was able to get another phase of this project completed. That being the fabrication of the shelf. I was sort of dreading this step in the project because the oak plywood is somewhat expensive and there was a total of 16 cuts to be made on this plywood and so the chance of a mistake being made is significant.

Accuracy matters. To accurately cut the plywood to size, I place the coffee table on it and note the best placement based on the grain of the wood, eliminating defects in the plywood.

Making the mark. The shelf has to fit around the legs. Here I mark the location of each leg. These marks help me make cuts without gaps between the shelf and each leg. Note the wild grain in the plywood. This will be cut away as much as possible.

Applying pressure. This photo shows the many clamps necessary to glue strips of wood to each side of the plywood. This hides the unsightly plywood edges. This step is difficult because I have to clean up all of the glue that squeezes out under clamp pressure.

The completed shelf. Note notches for the legs in each corner.

On the edge. A close-up of the edge banding.

Testing the fit. The coffee table with completed shelf in place. All of these parts are dry fitted – nothing is glued together. That’s the next step. This is about three hours worth of work.

Gluing all these parts together is the next step and I will do this in sections. For instance, I will glue the front together, then the back, then join the two together by gluing the sides.

This is post five in this series. To see the next post, “Coffee Table: the glue up” click 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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