Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Collaborating on an Arts and Crafts Coffee Table - Building the Base

One of the enjoyable things about building in the arts and crafts style is that you are offered a wide variety of joinery options.  As I was working with a friend who was newish to furniture building and who was interested in construction techniques, I thought we'd go through the paces with both full on machine, machine-assisted, and hand-cut joints.

The Back and Side Aprons
When I bought the Domino I was afraid that I would lean on it a bit too much when I designed a piece, but this is the only place where I broke it out,  Very straightforward using the largest size bit.

The Bottom Stretchers
Wedged through tenons give the table a solid look and feel.  I used my newly improved mortise router jig to do the bulk of the removal and squared it with a chisel.  We rough-cut the tenons on the table saw and my friend Andy used a router plane to dial in the fit.  We will wedge the tenons after the initial steps of the finish are applied.

The slight gap at the top and bottom will be closed when we drive home the wedges

The Front Apron/Stretcher
Old school dovetail joint is hand cut assures that the table stays square.  It is narrower than the back apron to provide easy access to the shelf.  We also decided to eliminate the drawers in order to maximize this space.

Double sided tape hold the tail in place to mark the mortise

The Lattice Shelf
Flat-sawn white oak is cut into 1 1/2 strips and then turned ninety degrees to expose the ray pattern.  Once one is marked we gang them up on the tablesaw (equipped with a dado blade) and cut the lot.  These will trimmed to size and chamfered during our next work day.

Everything is left oversized until we look at the final proportions

All that remains are a few final steps and to begin the multi-step finishing process.


  1. I really like the design! I was looking online at the Festool Domino machine just today. How do you like it?

  2. Thank you already want to share a great article, I like your design, nice tables

  3. Great and good design. Thanks for sharing and goodluck

  4. Thank you already want to share a great article, I like your design, nice tables

  5. This is very useful information about furniture design.