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Coffee Table

Several boards of quarter sawn white oak lie next to my bench, their grain is hidden behind the rough surface left from the sawmill. Running my hands over the rough surface I look for the clues that will allow me to smooth the surface and bring out the beauty of the wood. The grain rises right to left, it swirls around on one side giving a slight indication of its past. Clamping the board in the vice I hear the blade take the fist slices and watch the wood curl over the chip breaker. Medullary rays appear on the surface like golden rays of light and the wood smooths to the touch. Turning the board on edge the plane glides back and forth exposing the grain.

Many people shy away from planing their lumber. I turn to the jointer and planer when the task becomes arduous, but there is always satisfaction when done by hand and the subtle tones work there way to the surface. Today I begin work on a new project, Paul Sellers Masterclass, coffee table. I am excited to put my new skills to work and I desperately want to replace the coffee table in our house. I picked up lumber a few weeks ago and after cutting it to rough dimensions I decided to plane one side and an edge, the opposite side I will run through a planer.


Unable to find boards wide enough for the legs my first task is to glue up to the correct thickness.


20130623-142153.jpg Carefully matching the grain I matched boards until I felt comfortable that only the closest scrutiny would reveal the joint. I then edge glued the boards and clamped for a couple of hours and repeated on the other board. Success was realized when my son pointed to the natural change in wood tone rather then the glue line when asked to find the joint.


Categories: Coffee Table
  1. June 23, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Fun! Can’t wait to see this come together.

  1. January 13, 2022 at 7:08 pm

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