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Thread: Project: Quick Coffee Table From Scraps and Off-cuts

  1. #1
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    Project: Quick Coffee Table From Scraps and Off-cuts

    My younger daughter and her SO recently asked for a small coffee table for their "diminutive" apartment. They even provided plans...

    IMG_1556.jpg

    My daughter absolutely wanted a shelf under this table as they have such limited storage space and have some things that will fit there nicely.

    So, ok...the overall sizing was good to have (and I took their inches and turned them into my metric ), but oh, my...that was going to be too boring of a design for me. LOL Since I was going to generally use scraps and what I had lying about for this project, I decided to let the wood tell me what kind of table design it wanted to be. The legs were to be made from a length of "rock hard" 2x4 SYP that I've had for a very long time. Leaving them straight and vertical would not solve the boring part, but...angling/splaying them kinda brought to mind a few videos I've watched recently about some mid-century inspired pieces. Not wanting to get too complicated, the splay is only in the longer dimension. I worked things out from there with the top rails set back with about a 6mm reveal, a taper on the legs, roundovers to soften things up and so forth. I built the base first and then created the top to fit. If I had thicker material available, I would have done a bottom bevel on the top, but that was not to be, so the top just got roundovers, too...probably good as I suspect there will be occasional, um...leg contact. Their space is that small. And for those who prefer to cringe, the evil pocket screws and glue hold this together...and I can stand on it, not that I expect anyone to be doing that kind of thing.

    Since there are three or four different varieties of softwoods in this build, going dark was the way to pull it together. Brown leather dye followed by dark walnut gel stain took care of that deed. Since I was in "economy mode", the base and the initial coats of clear on the top were from a partial quart of Polycrylic satin that needed to get used up. I sprayed additional coats of EM6000 satin over that on the top.

    Final result...looks lighter in these photos as I had to kick up the shadows in Lightroom to show the lower structure details. The actual color is quite dark. I'm pretty pleased with it. There are a few minor things that I wish were better; some because of using scrap material and some because of not taking a little more time which is "my bad".

    IMG_1576.jpg IMG_1577.jpg

    I'm sure that Les and Dan will get a lot of use out of this piece over the years.

    Here's a few more photos during the process.

    Prior to finishing

    IMG_1517.jpg

    My fancy spray booth. It kinda requires good weather to use but it's all I have until the new shop building is up. This was actually the first spraying I did since moving over a year ago other than some rattle can stuff on guitar projects

    IMG_1555.jpg

    Reveal detail and you can better see how dark the finish is, too.

    IMG_1579.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 07-06-2022 at 9:37 AM. Reason: Fixed typo
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #2
    Beautiful table. Nice leg detail. The color blending looks great to me.

    Question about your table saw. What is the miter slot all the way on the right ?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    Beautiful table. Nice leg detail. The color blending looks great to me.

    Question about your table saw. What is the miter slot all the way on the right ?
    Thanks, my friend.

    The miter you see on the far right is on the Bench Dog Cast Iron Router Table Top/extension wing that I stuck on the end of the saw for now.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    Jim, a nice project. Using scraps to make a functional attractive piece of furniture feels good. Like you, my daughters are some of my biggest "customers". What is STP? The legs look like SYP ( Southern Yellow Pine )

  5. #5
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    STP = Stone Temple Pilots... Great band back in my day
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  6. #6
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    STP is...a typo. Yes, SYP. A "stout" piece of construction lumber for sure that just needed a new job other than hanging out in my lumber tent. (Yes, my lumber is currently in a flippin' tent until the new shop building is up...)

    Bob, yep, great band. And even farther back in the day, it was a "vehicle enhancement fluid". I think the brand still exists, but I don't look at that kind of stuff.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    SYP never looked so good. I would never have guessed it could look so good stained dark but by golly it does. Now about those pocket screws!

    John

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    SYP never looked so good. I would never have guessed it could look so good stained dark but by golly it does. Now about those pocket screws!

    John
    Yea, I was pleasantly surprised that this came together visually as well as it did, John. In addition to the SYP, there's regular white pine as well as radiata pine for the various components. I felt that the combination of the dark brown dye for overall darker tone followed by the gel stain would do the job and it did. It knocked down the amber highlights on the SYP enough that they no longer stood out. This is actually the first time I've used a gel stain...

    On the pocket screws, I discovered long ago that they are just fine for small tables. There are also countersunk and plugged screws that reinforce the piece laterally through the SYP legs and the plugs were carefully cut to be close to the same grain and color. They disappeared after finishing very nicely. If anything, I wish I would have taken more time sanding prior to finishing, but working in the heat/humidity was nearly excruciating...I can't wait for the new shop building so I can be back in conditioned space. I literally have to wear an anti-sweat headband to keep it from "raining" on my glasses.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 07-07-2022 at 10:21 AM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
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    Nice looking. I can relate to wearing a sweat band. I also wear sweatbands on my wrists when it’s this hot. Especially when sanding and spraying.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  10. #10
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    Jim, you mentioned spraying the finish. What sprayer are you using and did you do the spray work ther pen in the attached garage? Did you build a make shift spray booth? Great looking project. My cheat would have been biscuits (mainly because Iíve held out on a pocket screw jig spend), but pocket screws are probably stronger.

  11. #11
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    Joe, there's a photo in the OP that shows I sprayed outside. There is unfortunately zero space available in my temporary shop (garage) for spraying anything. I use an Accuspray gun with the 3M PPS system that I obtained from Jeff Jewitt (Homestead Finishing).

    I have a biscuit joiner...somewhere. I really only use it for face frame alignment. For this quick project, biscuits, dowels, Dominos, M&T, etc., could all be used as alternatives to the pocket screws. I often use pocket screws and glue for small tables like this. It's fast and more than adequately strong...for me. Others may disagree and that's OK. The first two Shaker style end tables I built many years ago had "real" MM&T joints and it was a major effort because of the small sizes, etc. Everything since then including variants has used other methods but mostly pocket screws.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
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    Love it Jim. A quick and fun project that looks beautiful and will be treasured . . . especially since your daughter gets to say "my dad made that for us".
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

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