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Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

author-gravatar skeys Sep 03, 2018

My niece is getting married at the end of the month, and I wanted to do a piece of furniture for them. She's a big MCM fan, and they needed a coffee table, so this is where we ended up

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

Finished product. I'm not the biggest fan of MCM, but I think it turned out alright. More importantly, I think they'll enjoy it.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

This has some odd measurements and angles, so I took the time to make shop drawings. It stops me (usually) from making stuff up as I go, then finding out that I made more work for myself down the road.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I started with about 20 bdft. of cherry

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I ran it through the planer on a jointing sled, using hot glue and shims. This will give one flat face. Then I can flip it and run the other side.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I only have a small jointer, and these boards are too long to easily get a straight edge on, so I had to break out the hand plane to finish it up.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

Biscuits will minimize the cleaning up of the panels after glue up

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

A little work with a plane and card scraper and they're ready to move on to the next step. 

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

My regular crosscut sled isn't wide enough, so I made one using 1/8" hardboard and some scrap ply. I wasn't sure how the hardboard would do, but it worked fine. 

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

Trying to line up cuts with a bevel can be a little tricky. I made a mark that is 6" from the cut. This made it easier to hit the lengths that I wanted more accurately. This came in especially useful when I cut the bottom to length, I needed to be pretty exact on that.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

The top and both sides are cut. Rather than cut the bottom now, and hope all my angles and measurements are exact, I'll cut the joinery on the top and sides, then fit the bottom to match it.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I don't have a domino, and I wanted more than biscuits in the joints, so I came up with an idea using the biscuit jointer. I covered the no stick pads with masking tape. 

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

Then I adjusted the fence to 15° and the right distance. Than I turned on the tool and slid it across the board.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

It worked fine. I backed the fence enough to get a 1/4" slot, and did it again. I could have made a jig to hold the router, but I think this was easier.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

It worked fine for the ends of the boards. I tried it on the face, and it didn't work as well. I should have gone ahead and used the router.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I milled some scrap to 1/4" then cut them into to strips. These will be the splines to go in the grooves of the joints. I crosscut them so the grain will go across the joint, adding strength.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I milled the groove for the center piece on the top and bottom before I mark the final bottom width. I also cut the center to set back from the edges, and milled the tongue to fit in the grooves.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I cut blocks for the sides, to keep them at the right angle. With the center piece in, I could then mark the length I needed for the bottom.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

Back to the cut-off sled to cut it to length. Then I cut the joinery for the bottom ends. It went together pretty nicely on the first dry fit.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I gave the insides a coat of dewaxed shellac before the final sanding, to keep the cherry from getting blotchy, which it can do.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I used hide glue for this to give myself some extra time.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

After the glue dried, I cleaned up the ends with a belt sander. I give it a small roundover on the edges. Then shellac and final sanding/scraping, and the top is ready for finish.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

For the base, I cut the mortises for the cross pieces on the router table while the pieces are still square.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I want to join the leg assembly with a half-laps. It's an odd angle, so I use an angle gauge, knife, and hand saw to set the line of the shoulder.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

Then I hog off the bulk with a router.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

Clean it up with a chisel

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

After the half-laps on the legs are cut, they get a taper.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I cut the center angle at the band saw, then glued up the leg assembly.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

I trimmed the excess off the lap joints by hand. I then ran it through the table saw to get the angle right on the feet. 

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

The lower frame gets glued up.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

The top is held to the base with table clips and the finish is just wiping poly, finished with paste wax.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

The one reservation they had about cherry, was that they wanted it darker, sooner. Cherry will get darker with age, but they didn't want to wait so long. The wedding isn't for a few weeks, so until then, it will stay in a sunny window, and maybe even spend a couple of afternoons outside in direct sun. That should get it a few shades darker. They'll just have to be a little patient for the rest.

Photo of Mcm Cherry Coffee Table

Sorry about the huge album. Thanks for looking.

2 comments

This piece turned out great.

Thank you, I think they'll like it.

@Timmy2Hands  said:

This piece turned out great.

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