To start our adventures in custom furniture making we decided to make a coffee table. The first thoughts regarding this table were related to the marble we had left over from the kitchen floor. We thought, wouldn't it be nice to use this marble on top of a coffee table! And from there on we decided on dimensions that fit six marble tiles: our table would be 2 ft x 3 ft, as we were using 12 inch square tile.
Then we thought: what would go nice with white marble tile? Well, a dark stained wood would be great so we decided to go for hemlock, which stains nicely. So, the table would be constructed like this: a hemlock frame with a plywood board on top which the tile would adhere to and then moulding around the tile to finish it off.
We don't have a truck, but that doesn't mean we can't transport wood (at least if the weather is nice!)
To help us out (who am I kidding, I'm not exactly the one on the forefront in the making of these pieces!) we bought a router with table from Home Depot. And so far there has been quite a lot of frustations relating to this saw, mainly because it isn't a plunge router and it's difficult to get the measurements just right, however it was pretty cheap and it does some things OK.
Some of us think that screws are a poor way to go in terms of furniture making: it's not strong and durable enough! Therefore there were multiple experiments in how to chisel out pieces of wood to fit into other pieces, thereby making a much more interesting and stronger construction.
The first idea was this one: chiseling out a hole in one piece that went about half way into the wood and carving out another piece to fit into it. This turned out to be difficult to do precisely right by hand and it didn't make for a super strong frame.
We moved on and decided to use the router to carve out parts of the wood to build the frame on and then chisel out parts of the wood that would go into it.
Here we're testing putting the plywood on top.
On the sides we used the method of carving a hole all the way through the wood and fitting another piece of wood through it. Then it was glued in and this made for a very strong frame.
For the shelf we decided to put down slats for a nice look. These were actually tacked in with a nailgun, and it worked like a dream - and the holes are miniscule so you can't really see them.
So that was how the table was constructed. Part 2 in making this coffee table will relate to staining, sanding and tiling.