Furniture Making: Tapered Coffee Table | Austin School Of Furniture | Skillshare
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10 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Course Introduction

    • 2. Section 1 - Project Introduction

    • 3. Section 2 - Lumber

    • 4. Section 3 - Milling

    • 5. Section 4 - Glue Up

    • 6. Section 5 Mortises

    • 7. Section 6 - Shoulders

    • 8. Section 7 - Turning

    • 9. Section 8 - Chamfering the top

    • 10. Section 9 - Finishing Touches

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About This Class

Make your own Tapered Coffee Table with this Instructional Video Course.

The perfect accessory for any living room, this tapered coffee table is a great project for an intermediate furniture maker. A large chamfered edge gives this table a sleek appearance and it is held up with modern, turned and tapered legs. This project includes 9 video lectures, measured drawings, step by step instructions, a material list, cut list and a tool list.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Feature: Mortise & Tenon, Turning
Furniture Location: Living Room
Furniture Type: Table
Instructor: Alex Lohn

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Austin School Of Furniture

Woodworking & Furniture Making Education


The Austin School of Furniture & Design is based in Austin, Texas and focuses on educating and empowering individuals to become skilled furniture makers as a profession or a lifelong hobbyists.


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1. Course Introduction: Hello, I'm Alex loan with the Austin School of furniture and design. And this is a course in building this tapered leg coffee table. I'll be using my experience as a professional studio furniture maker and woodworking instructor to walk you through this project step-by-step. In this course, I will show you what you need to know to craft your very own tapered coffee table just like this one. This class is great for intermediate woodworkers and is packed full of great furniture making tips, many of which I use in my very own custom furniture. You can expect to learn about furniture making best-practices. Gluing up a large top, cutting angled shoulders on the table, saw jig making, tampering a tabletop, and creating angled mortars and tenon joint R3. This project requires a decent amount of woodworking machines to complete. You need to access a joiner, planar, drill press, laid, miter saw, table saw, measuring tools, and a few small tools that we will discuss later in the class. After completing this course, you will walk away with the knowledge and confidence to make your own coffee table that will spark conversations and look great in your living room for years to come. Along with this nine part video series, you will also receive a set of measure drawings, and written instructions to help guide you through this process. Let's jump on in and make this tapered coffee table together. 2. Section 1 - Project Introduction: Hello, I'm Alex loan with the Austin School of furniture and design. And this is a course in building this tapered leg coffee table. Some of the components are solid wood glue up for the top with a large chamber, tapered turn legs with integral mortars and ten and joining me, included we have set of plans which have measured drawings, as well as a materialist, a cutlass, and a tool list for everything that you'll need to complete this table. Four-year materials, you'll need wood, sand, paper, and glue for the would. Generally I built mine in one species which would be about 15 board feet. If you wanted to use a different species of wood for the legs, that would be about two to three board feet for the legs. Included in your plans is a cutlass for all of the different components in the list. They're listed in the final dimensions. But you're going to need a little bit of extra material in length, width, and thickness when you purchase it to be able to get it down to what you need. So for most of the components, you'll add a couple inches in length, a little bit in width and thickness in this project for the legs, we're going to make sure to have 25 inches in length because we'll want extra when turning it and being able to hold the pieces later on in the project. You'll also have a to-do list for this project. You're going to need a bandsaw, joiner, planar, drill press, lays, miter saw, table saw and cross-cut sled or miter gauge and angle finder or protractor angle gauge. And a one-inch forcing their bid. 3. Section 2 - Lumber: Okay, so for my coffee table, I chose white oak. And this is some of the pieces I chose, some eight quarter wide. Ok. So I chose eight quarter, which is two inches because it's slightly larger than all the components I'll need. When buying this at the lumber yard. Was looking for any defects, nots. The boards were straits and I even knew I had my cutlass, all the pieces I would need to be able to take my tape measure and lay it all out and make sure that I would be able to get everything I needed. You can see on this piece, got this defect here, but that was OK because I knew that I had plenty leftover for what I needed on this piece. So once I got this lumber back in my shop, the first thing I did was laid out again using a, using this red crayon because nice and bright, but a pencil will do. And I rough cut my pieces to length. So these are from nine foot boards. What I needed for the legs. I lay out everything before I make any cuts to make sure I don't cut it in such a way that there was enough, but I cut it wrong and now there's not. This is what's left for the legs. And the next step, I have the length and more than enough for my four legs. So I would be making sure I picked from the right side. So you can see I've got this rough stuff here, so I'm measuring out from here and will be heading to the bandsaw and cutting two inch pieces. So you can see I'll have plenty. Probably a couple leftover which is nice in case something goes wrong later. And then I can also pick, pick my favorites from what I've got. So now that we're done roughing, we're left with our forelegs, approximately two inches by two inches and 28 inches in length, which is a lot leftover, but it's what I had. And we want some leftover for when we put it on the Lave. And we've got three boards like this, which will get glued up to make up the top. Proximately 50 inches long. So a couple of extra inches and a few extra inches in width. But we've still got a mill these up and get them ready to glue. 4. Section 3 - Milling: I'm just drawing on the face here so that I know what parts hit the Joiner as we get our first base flat. Here, I'm also joining up the legs. Will then move to the planer to get the opposite faces coplanar with the first face. For the legs, were able to simply rotate them through the planer. For the boards, for the top, once they go through the planer, will join one edge and then move to the table saw to get the other edge parallel. We now have the wood milled. We have the pieces for the top milled to final thickness and laid out and marked out how we want the top to look for glue up, left a little bit extra on the length and we're going to cut that after the glue up. The legs are milled to just over 13 quarter by 13 quarter. And a lot leftover on the length will cut them to a consistent length for layout, but we want leftover for the wave. 5. Section 4 - Glue Up: Okay, we're ready for the glue up. Gotta three boards here laid out as we drew it out earlier. And we're gonna be using five clamps here through underneath. And I'm gonna put two more on top. And we're going to be using type on one, yellow-blue. We've also got preps these clamps with some tape where the blue lines are to prevent a reaction between the metal and the white. Ok. Keep It Simple. Gotta move somewhat quickly but don't rush yourself too much. And we'll just be applying the glue. Sturdy finger. I hear. Great tool. Yeah, going along, we'll put a straight edge over to make sure the top is flat as we go. And should be pretty simple. Standup the boards so that we know how they're going to lay back down when we're putting on the glue, makes sure that you get full coverage on the whole edge. Even if there's a little bit of squeeze out, That's good. Make sure, you know you have enough glue. You only need to put glue on one edge for each SIM. Put the glue on all the seams at the start, lay them down all at once. When I lay them down, you want to give a little shimmy to the boards and get the glue sealed up. So now I'm going to clamp starting from them Center. When clamping, start from the center. And check your seams as you go. We're going to offset the clamps. The next clamp is going to go on top. This helps keep the tabletop flat. Part of why removing from the center out is so that I can adjust, pull on the ends of the boards to keep the top flat. We're only tightening clamps, snug. Once they're all on, we can go back and tighten all the clamps. Sometimes you will need a Malet to tap on the ends to get them where you want them. Now we're going to check with a straight edge that the top is flat. If there's any slight cupping, you can make adjustments in the clamps to get it flat. Okay. So some time has passed and glue is dry. So now we're just gonna take off these clamps, scrape off the large chunks of glue with scraper, and then clean up the glue lines with the hand plane. Now that I've scraped off all the major chunks of glue, I'm just going to hand plane the glue lines, get it cleaned up. Also got some Huaxia to keep my plane running smooth and then we'll be ready to crosscut to final dimension. 6. Section 5 Mortises: Okay, the next step in this project is to cut the Morris's in our atop. The vortices are going to have to be at 11 degrees to match the legs. So we're going to have to get into a little bit of a process here. On the drill press, We're going to tilt our table at 11 degrees to be able to receive the leg. And we're going to set clamp two pieces at a 90 degree corner, 45 degrees from the angle to receive the top. Drill, the holes in each corner. We're now at the drill press ready to cut our Morris's into the table. I've set the table at 11 degrees to the chuck Hughes, an angle finder off of here to the table and was able to rotate it down. I then set this stop to receive the corner. I lined it up with the cut on the table from where the bit hit and measured it six inches away, which is the location we want our mortgages to be from the corner. When cutting your mortars, make sure you go slowly. Check that the stop is staying where you want it and you don't go through the top. And that you've got your buddy to help you rotate to all four corners. When switching, it's good to make sure you don't get any wood chips in the corner there so that you're able to get it snug where you want it and get all of the more dist is exactly where you need them. 7. Section 6 - Shoulders: So now we're going to cut all of the legs to a consistent length for easy layout when we're at the liaise. I have my cross-cut sled here. To start. I'm going to cut this end measure to 25, which is quite a bit more than what we'll need for the final length of the leg. And then measure it, slide it over, set a stop. And for the rest I can just use the stop to cut them all to a consistent length. Now, the reason we're not going to simply run it along the fence, but instead setup a block here, is that when the piece is in contact with the blade, we don't want it to be in contact with this fence and this vents which could cause it to twist, hit the blade. Not good. So instead, it'll hit here and we'll hold it. And by the time it's in contact with the blade, that will no longer be touching the fence over here. So the next step is to cut the shoulder on our legs on the table saw further tenon before we go to the lake, silver going to lay that out because it's at an angle. We're gonna go four inches from the top. Mark that out and bring that line across the square. Now on these two sides are going to be angling back 11 degrees. And so to do that, I have this gauge here, which I can set it to whatever angle we need. And I have this angle finder, which as you can see, will set the angle we need. So I'm going to set this to 0 on the table. And then I'm going to put it on here and set it to 79, which is 11 degrees less than 90 degrees. So now that we have that locked in, I'll use this to draw our angles on the two sides. So from the original line where angling towards the bottom of the leg. And then we should be able to connect these two points with a square on the other side. And theoretically, they should line up. Now that we've laid out all the sides of this leg. The first cut we're going to make is on this line here that's parallel to the top and the line that's closest to the top. And so to do that, we're going to use this miter gauge here. And angle the blade this way following the line. So first we wanna make sure our miter gauge is square to the blade. So I'm going to use this square here. And you can see it off. There you go. So now we've got it square to the blade. So the next thing we're gonna do is set the angle of the blade to 79 degrees. So set this to 0 on the tabletop. You're gonna raise this up an angle at 279. Okay, now that we've got the angle locked in, we're going to set the height of the blade to three-eighths of an inch. And so the reason we have that is because the total diameter 13 quarter tenant is one difference and three-quarter have is three-eighths. Now we're going to set up a stop over here to be able to cut all the other ones at the same size. Also make sure you're cutting on the right side of the line. I like to draw an X where it's getting cut off just to really make sure I know what I'm looking at. So now I have my stop setup here behind the table saw blade. And if I push it up here, I can see that lines up right where I want. And I'm going to do each all four pieces in this setup before moving to the next setup, I'm actually going to clamp the pieces to the miter gauge here, which is not necessary. But even the tiniest changes as we wrap around are going to be noticeable and annoying. So it's safer and cleaner cut if I push this year, clamp it and make my cut. After running all four pieces through that same setup, we're going to cut the side opposite. So I switched the miter gauge to the other slot, pushed away the fence and we're going to flip it like this. So you should have the cut that you already did facing up. And it should be set up such that you can tell that the angle of the blade is following the angle of your line. Now, go and do the same thing. The kosher bends out and create a setup that we should be able to use all four pieces. Now that we have cut these two shoulders for these two angled lines, we're going to need the blade at 90 degrees and the miter gauge at 11 degrees. So first we're going to raise the blade and reset it to 90. So now that the blade is at 90 degrees, we're going to use the same angle gauge that we had set from before. So set the miter gauge at 11 degrees to the blade. A really good thing to remember is that with your hands this close to the blade, you might be touching it. It's a really good idea to turn off the machine so that you don't need to worry about it. And again, we're going to set the height to three A7 edge. Now for this setup should be clear based on the previous two cuts. Which side you need to be cutting, you want to connect the two previous shoulder lines. And to line this up, I'm simply matching the blade to the cut on the front here. And once I have that in place, I can clamp it and set up the fence again like we did in the the other operations. For the fourth and final pass to create the shoulder all the way around. We left the blade at 90, but we switched the miter gauge to the other side and actually had to rotate it as well. So we again used the same angle gauge to set it to 11 degrees off of this side and adjusted our stop. Setting this up, take your time because on this fourth cut, there's enough things that are changing that you wanna take your time and get it, get it right to get that clean shoulder. And once you're set, it'll work for all four. So take your time. I already have my stop set up and my angle set my blade at three-eighths inch and I should be able to cut all four to finish cutting the shoulder. 8. Section 7 - Turning: Now that we have the shoulder for the ten and cut, there's a couple marks we want to make before going to the laid. So from the high point, you can see here that the side with the shoulder closest to the top, we're going to measure 173 eighths here, which is for the foot. And I'm also going to measure eight and eleven-sixteenths, which is our center point. That's just to help us make a straight taper. So I'm going to take those two points and wrap them around. I'm also going to transfer these lines to each of the other pieces. The tannin is an obvious location, so we don't need to mark that right now. So now we're at the lake. I've marked for center on every and all the legs. I also set these calipers, which we'll get to in a moment to one-inch and 13 eighth inch to help us hit what we want at those marks we laid out. And I'll get this on the lathe and get started. I'm going to line up the center mark on the left side here and then bring this point in. And market type. First, I cut the tenant to its end diameter at one-inch, have the caliper set up ahead of time to get the exact diameter. And I use the shear scraper along with the caliper to get it exact. Then use a combination of a roughing gouge in a skewed chisel to get the length of your tenant. You'll want to leave some on the ends on top of your ten and for later steps. So you can see here that we've roughed out the tannin close to one inch, which we were able to measure with our calipers here. And because of the angled shoulder, you can see that there's a lot left over on this side. Once we cut the end off, will pair that away with chisels by hands, riding the outside of the ten. And now we'll use the roughing gouge to get the overall shape of the leg and take your time. I also slightly angled the tool rest to imitate the angle we want to get for the leg. You want to try to get a straight taper. Also. Remember the legs are not joining to anything, so it's not the end of the world. If they don't match up perfectly, you won't be able to tell. To get a consistent taper. I also measured the diameter of the center point and was able to work from the top to the center and the center to the bottom. Once you've gotten close to the size, you need a sand it wall still on the lathe and makes it much easier starting with one hundred twenty, one eighty and then 220. And make sure you get out any imperfections with 121st. Once you've gone through all the grids, you want to turn off the machine and sand with the grain, with the 220 paper to get out all the striations. This will be much easier while it's still on the machine. Now we're done turning the legs. Here are four legs turned out. Great. If you're notice, we left the square blocks on the ends, which is important because now when we cut the foot angle, which I'm going to do on the chop saw, were able to keep it from rolling and match the angle. So we're going to set our chop saw 211 degrees, which matches the shoulder and cut it at a parallel angle to the shoulder with little wedge under here. To achieve the same angle. Once the ends are off. You'll see we still have this section here. And I'm going to just pare that back with a chisel riding on the tendon. We're now at the chop saw to cut the legs to length. I've set up a stop here, a wedge, and we've got the blade angled at 11 degrees to be able to cut all the legs. 9. Section 8 - Chamfering the top: Next we're going to cut the taper on the bottom of the tabletop. And because of how dramatic the taper is in the design, we're going to stand it up to get that angle on the table saw. And to accomplish that, we need to make this jig, which sits on the fence and we can clamp the top two it is four feet long for the length and two feet for the height of the top. When we're cutting the ends, we have these two holes to be able to put clamps through and hold it tight. There are plans for this jig included, but these dimensions are not defined because it needs to fit on your own table soft vents snugly and needs to be able to move but without slops. So you need to fit that to your own table saw at home to set the angle of your blade. We came up with this dimension. We wanted the edge to be a half inch and we wanted the taper to go back as far as we could. So if you draw out one by 2.5, you can set your angle gauge to this and set your blade to your angle gauge. You'll wanna raise the blade as high as you can. When championing the top. You want to do the ends. First. There may be tear out and that'll get cleaned out when we cut the sides. You want to go at a slow but consistent speed. If you built the jig well, that should be able to slide smoothly. Make sure you turn off the machine. Between rotating the piece. You may need a buddy to help get the piece clamped. Here you can see we're using wooden hand screws because they had a greater reach. We found that it held the peace much tighter to the jig. Don't go too slow because it can cause burning. You want to maintain a consistent speed. You'll probably need to clean up the corners a little bit. You can use a block plane to make sure where the dampers me lines up with the corner. It's good to pre-assign the bottom while the legs are off so you can reach everything easily. 10. Section 9 - Finishing Touches: So to sum up what we've done, we purchased our lumber, melded up in, glued up our top. We cut the shoulder on our legs, turned them on the lake. We then cut the angle for the foot. Cut our mortis is in the top, taper the edge. So now we're just getting ready to fit each of the legs into the mortar says, now when we're fitting our legs, they're pretty much the exact same size. And so we're gonna need to send them back a little bit or pair them back. And I labeled them each so that I know they're going to fit right back into their spot. You can see this tendon almost Spitz. But I want to take off a little bit more. So I'm going to put it in a vice and pare back just a bit and then sand it so that it fits nice and snug. Okay, so we're all set to glue up. We already did a drive fit with all the legs and clamps which I definitely recommend were using type bond one. I'm going to be putting glue and on the tenants. And we're going to clamp a board over the whole thing instead of trying to clamp each leg individually. Okay.