Friday, January 27, 2017

Slab Top Coffee Table Project

I harvested this slab of elm from a tree that grew just three miles away. When it had to come down, I had two logs milled into boards. This is the last board from that tree. It measures 48" long x 19" wide x 1" thick and it has incredible natural character. I made the base from walnut scraps left over from a bathroom vanity that I built for a home in Park City, Utah. So it is a fine example of locally made, sustainably-sourced goods, and I hope that it manages to be inspirational or helpful in some way.

I used a jigsaw to trim the slab to length a create
a faux live edge.  Not a bad sta
I marked the locations for the legs- I didn't worry
about making a perfect rectangle, as this
piece was kind of organic in nature anyway.

I used an angle gauge to determine an angle that
looked right for the legs.  It ended up being 15 
I used an angled drilling guide, and I used the
angle gauge to set it to the right angle.
After testing the setup on scrap, I drilled holes
for the four legs.

The legs were milled from 1" x 1" walnut.

I used the bandsaw to cut tapers on the ends of
each leg so that the taper cutter fit.

This taper cutter isn't cheap but it's worth it, and it should last
a lifetime.

I cut a slot into each round tenon.  This one
wasn't lined up so well, so I made another.

I used  a belt sander to make wedges from
contrasting wood to fit the slots.  

I made the legs longer than necessary, because
I figured I'd need to level the table.  I shimmed
the legs up so that the top was level.

I then ripped a scrap of plywood to a width that
would create a finished height of 18".

The legs were all trimmed in different amounts,
but the results was a level table with no
perceivable wonkiness.

I cut the tenons off with a flush-cut saw.

Fitting the short stretchers was tricky business-
I used an angle finder to determine the angles.

I used slightly narrower stock for the stretchers
so that I created a nice reveal.

I secured the stretchers with Miller Dowe
The long stretcher went in just above the short
ones.  I set them into place so I could see where
to mark them.

I marked the vertical cuts directly from the legs,
and used a ruler to extend the angle of the leg
onto the horizontal surfaces.  This made for
compound cuts, which I approached cautiously
but nibbling away and readjusting until they fit
I used Miller Dowels again, although plugged
screws would've been a good choice, too.

The sanding was just business as usual
The walnut yielded a nice little bonus.

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