An enjoyable benefit of building furniture is I can create a project which perfectly fits the environment it will reside in. For this small coffee table, I looked at the traffic pattern in the room which helped determine the overall length and width of the table. Next, I mulled over how high the top would rise above the floor; especially how high the top should be in relation to the adjacent couch and love seat. With the old table, my wife and I would rest our feet on it; a bad habit for a woodworker – but we did it anyway.
With all of the dimensions worked out, I began to draw the new coffee table on paper – very low tech; this was 2009 and I had not yet discovered SketchUp.
About the design
I thought about using turned legs on this table, but I really did not want anything that looked Colonial. Plus the table is small, which means the area available for turning is even smaller. I did sort of a time commitment vs. visual benefit study in my head and concluded that turned legs would not be worth it. An additional consideration: I sold my lathe a long time ago, so turning would be a significant obstacle to work through.
The resulting design has no curves at all. I wanted to see what I could come up with which featured only straight lines. I was not shooting for a modern design as much as I wanted to see how visually interesting I could make this table while keeping the design as simple as possible.
Something that helps the visual aspect of this table is the contrasting wood. The table I created was constructed using oak (stained) and tiger maple (natural). The plan is illustrated showing mahogany and birdseye maple in use. Combining different species of wood within a project allows a wide variety of options.
For this plan, I updated the shelf by changing the design to reflect how the top looks. In the original table, I simply used a piece of oak plywood, a material I wish I had not used.
Here are a few pages from the plan…
Next, some more information about the table and the project plan…
- The table is 30 1/2″ wide, 17″ deep and 18″ tall.
- I consider this table to be an intermediate level project.
- This plan is very detailed and professional in nature.
- It is 13 pages in length.
- The plan includes many illustrations and a full cut list.
- The plan includes sources where necessary.
This table is somewhat small, but you could easily scale up the dimensions to fit your needs.
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One last note: I go to great lengths to organize my woodworking plans so they will be easy to follow. Prior to building a project, thoroughly read the plan and make sure you understand all of the process. If you have any questions about the construction process, send me a message by using the form on my About/Contact page.
I hope you enjoy building your project!