Need Help Building Rustic Coffee Table - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-27-2009, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Need Help Building Rustic Coffee Table

Hello,

I am going to make a rustic coffee table for our cabin and wanted the table top to be layed out like the really rough sketch in the attached file.


I am going to be using 2X construction grade material. (We just like that look in the cabin). Iíll be milling everything before making the table. I havenít attempted anything like this yet. What is the best way to construct it? I assume mitering the outside rectangular frame shape, but what about the shorter inside pieces? Should I make a groove on the inside of the frame and slide the shorter pieces in that groove and leave them loose? Or maybe dowel each of the shorter pieces to the inside of the outer frame? I have searched for guidelines on how to do this but have come up empty. I am hoping you guys can point me in the right direction

Thanks,
Tom
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-28-2009, 02:36 PM
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If the grain of the inside boards is as shown then you will have wood movement across the length of the table. Use the groove method you described and leave around 1/4" of space for expansion and contraction at each end of the table. You can do that by just making the groove deeper on the ends of the frame.

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post #3 of 12 Old 01-28-2009, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by johnv51 View Post
If the grain of the inside boards is as shown then you will have wood movement across the length of the table. Use the groove method you described and leave around 1/4" of space for expansion and contraction at each end of the table. You can do that by just making the groove deeper on the ends of the frame.
Hi John,

Thanks very much. Do you think it would be better to run the inside board lengthwise? I am very open to changing that if it makes better sense.

So would i essentially cut a groove on the inside of the entire frame and then tenons on the ends to insert into the groove?

Thanks again,
Tom
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-28-2009, 03:58 PM
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If I was doing it i would router a grove down the two longer sides of the frame they are not needed on the short sides and put a shoulder on the ends of the centre bits, dowel or tounge the mitred corners together of the frame and leave a good gap between the centre bits for them to expand. if you run the boards lengthwise you will not need quite as much gap and grove the short sides instead!


how big is it going to be?
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-28-2009, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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If I was doing it i would router a grove down the two longer sides of the frame they are not needed on the short sides and put a shoulder on the ends of the centre bits, dowel or tounge the mitred corners together of the frame and leave a good gap between the centre bits for them to expand. if you run the boards lengthwise you will not need quite as much gap and grove the short sides instead!


how big is it going to be?
Hi Jimbo,

Thank you for you help. Right now we are planning the length to be about 48 inches and the width about 18 to 20 inches.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-28-2009, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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is there away to do this without leaving gaps in between the inside boards? I'd ideally like to make the top one flat surface with this design of possible.....
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-29-2009, 01:46 AM
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Table Top

This method has worked for many many centuries. I cant remember the technical terms but here it is. Basically, you slot the end pieces and 'mortise' the planks. They are pegged through the end pieces with dowels. The center plank has a round hole because the expansin will be negligable. All of the other pieces have elongated holes so as to allow for expansion. The dowel running through them is glued in place. The minor amount of glue that will get on the inside elongated holes will be negligable and the glue bond will eventually give allowing the boards to move back and forth. If everything fits snug, it will all appear as one solid top.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-29-2009, 01:57 AM
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Also...

I just looked again at your original post and realized the direction of the planks. The direction you have chosen to run the planks is contrary to the traditional method for 2 reasons. One is because it is easier on the eye to look at the long side to have the long boards running parallel to it. It's just the natural way we look at things, the growth of tree and the bark lines in general. And secondly, from a technical perspective, wood expands and contracts (moves) an average of 1/8" per foot across the grain. If your table is 4 Ft long it will move 4 times 1/8" which is a total of 1/2" . That is substantial.

Hopefully Jake Mendez will chime in and correct me or add to this.

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post #9 of 12 Old 01-29-2009, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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I just looked again at your original post and realized the direction of the planks. The direction you have chosen to run the planks is contrary to the traditional method for 2 reasons. One is because it is easier on the eye to look at the long side to have the long boards running parallel to it. It's just the natural way we look at things, the growth of tree and the bark lines in general. And secondly, from a technical perspective, wood expands and contracts (moves) an average of 1/8" per foot across the grain. If your table is 4 Ft long it will move 4 times 1/8" which is a total of 1/2" . That is substantial.

Hopefully Jake Mendez will chime in and correct me or add to this.
Hey Tony,

Thank you so much for going to all the trouble to skecth this out. That looks like a great way for me to do what i want to do. I think I am also going to orient the planks lengthwise as you and others have suggested to minimize wood movement.

Regards,
Tom
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-29-2009, 12:44 PM
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Tom

You are quite welcome. The sketch's were no problem. Actually I made them in a fraction of the time it would have taken me to explain it in text.

I have a lousey internet connect that keeps dropping me off so I write in spurts. Anyway, what I forgot to state was that all of the top planks are glued together into one solid top. When you dry fit it into the end pieces, drill the holes straight through so that we know they will later line up. When you take the end piece off, that is when you elongate the holes.

Good luck and have fun.

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post #11 of 12 Old 01-29-2009, 05:26 PM
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the pins will look really nice and add to your rustic style!
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post #12 of 12 Old 01-29-2009, 08:23 PM
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Nice job, Tony B...It`s good to stick with the proven method. Rick

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