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Mid century modern Coffee Table

author-gravatar obryan2579 Oct 22, 2019

This is an all hand tooled ash coffee table. My wife was requesting a table in the mid century modern design.  All handtooled joinery. Finished with danish oil and Arm-R-Seal. #handtools #handtoolsonly #midcenturymodern #coffeetable 

Photo of Mid century modern Coffee Table

Main body of table was through dovetailed. I wanted the exposed joinery. 

Photo of Mid century modern Coffee Table

Multiple pics of ash paneled together to make the top, sides and bottom. Here I’m test fitting a finished corner. 

Photo of Mid century modern Coffee Table

Each section gets added to the dry fit to ensure overall accuracy. Hand cut joinery on ash is tough!

Photo of Mid century modern Coffee Table

Starting on the legs. Square stock was used to create a shoulder then the through tenon. The legs were then rounded afterwards. It’s the only way I knew to make the through tenons clean and accurate. 

Photo of Mid century modern Coffee Table

Pic of  mortise and rounded leg. 

Photo of Mid century modern Coffee Table

This method yielded identical legs even though they was hand shaped 

Photo of Mid century modern Coffee Table

A look at a glued up table. 1 side needed more help than the other

Photo of Mid century modern Coffee Table

A glued up and cleaned up. I’m super happy with the hand cut joints. Only some mild filling needed to be done on some gaps

Photo of Mid century modern Coffee Table

Finished projects. This table should last multiple lifetimes if cared for.

5 comments

Nice hand-cut dovetails. I think the top is going to sag however. Have you considered adding a support between the top and the bottom? You could do it so it is barely visible. And actually you could just cut a tight fitting board and add it without any connectors. 

Thanks. Why would the top sag? From moisture or just the weight of objects. 1” thick ash is tough stuff. I’m new to woodworking so this is helpful. Thank you 

Long boards tend to sag even at 1" thick over time. I also suspect someone will sit on that table at some point. Take a precise measurement at the ends and at the center and watch it over time to see if there is any movement. Possibly it will be fine though. 

@obryan2579 It may or may not sag, depending on the amount of weight you put on the top and where that weight is located. Ash is hard stuff and that combined with it being an inch thick means it can hold quite a bit of weight without sagging. Here's a link to help calculate sag over time: https://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator/ . What's the width and length of the case?

Thank you so much. I like the idea of a hidden support. That was my initial thought but the wife liked the cleaner more open look. 

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