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Walnut Coffee Table with Curved Legs Lake Villa IL

There's something that pleases a woodworker's soul when you make a whole project from just one board. It's really satisfying to study a big plank with all its problems, such as knots, sapwood and runout grain, and figure out how you're going to cut it into smaller pieces (Photo 1). Thick, large boards are a luxury, though.

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Walnut Coffee Table with Curved Legs

Walnut Coffee Table with Curved Legs

Download the pdf file.

WalnutCoffeeTable1.pdf

I've been hoarding some huge, air-dried walnut boards for over twenty years, waiting for the right projects to come around. This small coffee table was the perfect opportunity to finally cut one open and get my hands on the rich figure inside.

There's something that pleases a woodworker's soul when you make a whole project from just one board. It's really satisfying to study a big plank with all its problems, such as knots, sapwood and runout grain, and figure out how you're going to cut it into smaller pieces (Photo 1). Thick, large boards are a luxury, though. You can certainly make this table from separate boards instead, using standard 1 and 2- in. thick wood. See Figure A and Cutting List.

MAKE THE TOP

1) Resaw boards for the top (A) (Photo 2). Cut them 3/4 in. thick, then joint and plane the boards ½ in. thick (Photo 3). Glue the top together and cut it to exact size.

2) Rout two dovetailed grooves across the bottom of the top (Fig. B and Photo 4). First, install a 1/2-in. wide dovetail bit and a 1/2-in. dia. template guide in your router. Next, build a jig composed of four pieces to guide the router. Use 1/2-in. thick material. Assemble the jig using two 5/8-in. thick spacers to fix the distance between the rails. The router's bit and template guide setup makes a groove that's exactly the same width as the distance between the jig's rails.

DOVETAILED CLEATS

3) Make cleats (E) from a stiff hardwood that resists splitting. Maple is ideal. Make one or two extra pieces to test your router-table settings.

4) Shape the cleat's dovetailed key on the router table (Photo 5). Set the height of the router bit so that the key is a paper-thickness shallower than the grooves in the tabletop. (You don't want the cleat to drag against the bottom of these grooves when you insert it.) Adjust the router table's fence until the cleat fits right (Photo 6). Remove the cleats from the table.

5) Finish the top by drawing a shallow curve along both of its long sides (Fig. D). Bend a 3-ft. long stick to form the curve. Cut the curve using a jigsaw or bandsaw. Round over the bottom edge of the top using a router (Fig. B). Use a smaller roundover bit on the top's upper edge. Use a file to soften the top's four corners.

SHAPE THE LEGS

6) Make a pattern for the legs (D) from 1/4-in. thick wood (Fig. G). Mill leg blanks and trace around the pattern on two adjoining sides (Photo 7).

7) Mill mortises before bandsawing the legs. Begin by routing grooves for the tenon's haunch (Fig. E, Photo 8). Deepen the mortises with a mortising machine (Photo 9).

8) Cut the legs on the Bandsaw (Photo 10). Saw one side first, then turn the leg 90 degrees. Lay the pattern on the leg and mark the portion of the curve that was removed by sawing. Saw the other side.

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