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A Unique Craftsman Style Table

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

My wife and I just celebrated 30 years of marriage. As a gift, my siblings had a custom wall hanging made out of metal. It is a beautiful piece, with a great personal message. However, it's rather large, and it needs a light-colored background for it to be easy to read.

But we like it very much and we also needed to add a table to our living room. So I got the idea to use it as the top for a table. It would need to have glass over the top or you would probably spill your drink when you set it down. Our house is designed with a lot of craftsman style details, so I wanted this to blend with the 2 craftsman style recliners we just bought. I like to make rough mockups before I build anything or commit to a design. So here are my initial mockups.

I love the curving legs in the top two designs, but the rest is a bit complex. I liked the simplicity of the one in the lower right. But I didn't want it to look too heavy like the one on the lower left. I settled on a design that takes these factors into account. I also decides the the wood top needed to be light to show the words, and it didn't need to come all the way to the outer edge... which has a channel all the way around. I thought this might make it look a bit lighter.

Now that I had a design, I had to figure out how to build it. You'll notice in all of the examples above, the legs are wider that standard 3/4" board. So I bought a standard oak 1x4 board, and a 1/2" 1x4 and glued them together to get that extra thickness. It's not immediately obvious, unless you are looking for it.

Then I had to cut the curve in the legs. I used the old bow technique, where you put a string between the ends of a thin scrap of wood and tighten the string until you get the curve you want. I cut the curve on a band saw, which was not hard, but left saw marks. I bought I portable oscillating spindle sander to sand out the tool marks. The next challenge was cutting the top. I clamped a piece of plywood to the bandsaw top and drove a srew up the the bottom so it just stuck out of the plywood a 1/4". The screw went into a shallow hole in the bottomof the top piece and I just rotated the board to get a perfect circle. I sanded the toolmakers out with pad sander.

Now I needed to build the cross braces. I notched each board using a table saw. The cross pieces are held together with a single screw, but they are attached to the legs via 5/16" wood dowels and copious glue.

I pre-drilled holes in the bottom of the top cross bracing to attach the top after everything is stained and sealed. Here is the base and top after sanding and staining.

Note the lighter "natural" stain on the top and darker stain on the legs to match our other furniture.

After several coats of polyurethane...


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