Webb of Thoughts

personal blog of kyle webb

Tag: coffeetable (page 1 of 2)

Ta-dah! I Made a Table

This post continues my documentation of my EC&I 831 Learning Project, where I am making my own coffee table.

The last step of my coffee table was to put a coat of polyurethane on it. The wood I chose, cedar, is really soft and marks up quite easily – just running a fingernail over it left a mark. The polyurethane coat will protect it from this and add some durability to the surface, which will be used daily one way or another.

I went to Home Depot and got some polyurethane.  I really had no idea what I was doing here, and couldn’t find anyone to help. So, I took a shot in the dark and purchased a can that looked good along with some foam brushes. Before starting to apply it to my table, I headed over to YouTube and found this great, cheesy resource. I was not planning on staining the table, since the natural colour is just great.

So, I read the instructions listed on can and went for it. Here is my progress of applying the protective coating.

Before any poly applied.

Before any poly applied.

Close up of surface before poly.

Close up of surface before poly.

Starting the first coat. The darkness turned out to be more a wetness of the poly than colour changing.

Starting the first coat. The darkness turned out to be more a wetness of the poly than colour changing.

Notice the difference between the poly'd and non-poly'd surface.

Notice the difference between the poly’d and non-poly’d surface.

Adding the poly to the table top.

Adding the poly to the table top.

It was really easy to see exactly what I had already poly'd and what I hadn't, on the first layer at least.

It was really easy to see exactly what I had already poly’d and what I hadn’t, on the first layer at least.

Following the first layer application.

Following the first layer application.

Different angle of after 3rd layer.

Different angle of after 3rd layer.

Another after 3rd layer shot.

Another after 3rd layer shot.

After the 3rd coat, notice the little bit of shine.

After the 3rd coat, notice the little bit of shine.

This process took quite a bit of time. Luckily, the poly I chose had only a 2 hour wait period between coats, others have longer periods. Between each layer, I had to take a fine (220) sand paper and try to even out the previous application of the poly. I was able to complete this over the course of 8 hours.

I let the last coat dry overnight and woke up to a final product that I’m quite proud of.

Close up shot of the polyurethane finish on the table top.

Close up shot of the polyurethane finish on the table top.

Different angle of finished table.

Different angle of finished table.

The final product.

The final product.

A photo of the bottom shelf. Notice it ended up being quite a bit darker - which is why I picked those boards for the bottom.

A photo of the bottom shelf. Notice it ended up being quite a bit darker – which is why I picked those boards for the bottom.

Threw a table runner on it, looks pretty good.

Threw a table runner on it, looks pretty good.

First cup of coffee on the coffee table. The mug does not at all describe my current mood!

First cup of coffee on the coffee table. The mug does not at all describe my current mood!

And that’s it. I made a table.

Applying the polyurethane was pretty straightforward, although it’s difficult to say if I put enough on (4 coats). It is my hope that this table will last quite a long time and I can continue to grow and learn about woodworking and make my own furniture as I want.

I will be posting a reflection on the process of trying to learn how to do this online following this post.

Pocket Holes and Attaching Table Top and Bottom Shelf

This post continues my documentation of my EC&I 831 Learning Project, where I am making my own coffee table.

Now that I had the top part of my frame dowelled together, I needed to be able to put another 2×4 board along the bottom for the bottom shelf to be able to rest on. Since I already put the top part together, using dowelling again wouldn’t be an option since I can’t separate the legs to fit the dowels and the board in.

A lot of coffee table plans that I found early on recommended using pocket holes, sometimes called Kreg holes, to join the entire table together. The following video was a great resource to explain how pocket holes work and how to use the jig. Luckily, I had access to the exact same jig they showed in the video.

It’s important to note that if you ever want to use pocket holes in your woodwork, you must have the right type of screws. After my trouble making the dowel holes perfect, I did a practice run with pocket holes on a spare piece of wood I had laying around.

Practice run with pocket holes on a spare piece of wood.

Practice run with pocket holes on a spare piece of wood.

Once I started the process of creating my pocket holes and joining the wood together, I couldn’t believe how quick and easy it was. Here are some photos documenting this portion of my project.

The Kreg pocket hole jig.

The Kreg pocket hole jig.

 

Everything set up and ready to go in the pocket hole jig.

Everything set up and ready to go in the pocket hole jig.

After using the pocket holes to attach the 2×4 board, I was quickly able to attach the bottom shelf with some other screws and started to see everything come together. Here are the photos and descriptions of me attaching both the bottom shelf and table top to the frame.

Here are the pocket holes completed and the board attached. The other holes you see in the photo are how I attached the bottom shelf to the table.

Here are the pocket holes completed and the board attached. The other holes you see in the photo are how I attached the bottom shelf to the table.

Bottom shelf completely attached.

Bottom shelf completely attached.

The frame with the bottom shelf. All connected, solid.

The frame with the bottom shelf. All connected, solid.

Setting up to attached the table top to the frame. Notice the gap between because of the warped 2x4.

Setting up to attached the table top to the frame. Notice the gap between because of the warped 2×4.

Clamps to the rescue. Pulling it tight before screwing the frame into the top was essential.

Clamps to the rescue. Pulling it tight before screwing the frame into the top was essential.

Another shot the clamps holding things flush.

Another shot the clamps holding things flush.

A pretty close to completed coffee table!

A pretty close to completed coffee table!

After completing the pocket holes, I couldn’t believe I didn’t use this for the previous part of the table as well. They were so simple and quick to complete. I guess hindsight is 20/20.  I was also really impressed with all the resources I could find online for using these. The video above from Steve Ramsey was a great resource. There are even resources on how you can build your own jig. For now, I’ll stick to the jig and save myself time.

Gluing Top and Bottom Shelf

This post continues my documentation of my EC&I 831 Learning Project, where I am making my own coffee table.

Now that I had my boards cut down to the lengths I wanted and the edges squared off, it was time to put the top and bottom shelf surfaces together.
The best way to do this is with wood glue.

To keep things all aligned, I created a triangle with my pencil, like suggested by this video:

If you look close enough, you can see the triangle drawn on here to align the boards.

If you look close enough, you can see the triangle drawn on here to align the boards.

It was also critical to use clamps. The clamps ensure that the boards straighten out and the table top will actually be flat. This video was useful for outlining the need for this and ways to ensure it.

I was surprised to learn that the glue will actually be stronger than the wood. This means that the wood will break before the gluing will separate. He goes into planing which I will be creating an entirely separate post about.Here are some images from my experience gluing both the top of my coffee table and bottom shelf of the table together.

Applying the glue to each side of each board.

Applying the glue to each side of each board.

I used a scrap piece of thin wood to spread the glue out a little, to ensure it would cover the entire edge.

I used a scrap piece of thin wood to spread the glue out a little, to ensure it would cover the entire edge.

All the boards with one side glued.

All the boards with one side glued.

The excess glue squeezing out evenly from the boards.

The excess glue squeezing out evenly from the boards.

All the boards for the table top clamped together.

All the boards for the table top clamped together.

There are a ton of tips and resources online for gluing the wood together. They can get very technical very fast. So, like other aspects of the learning project, I think it’s best to have someone experienced with this nearby (like I did) so they can help you identify any potential trouble spots early on.

Cuts for the Table

This post is part of my EC&I 831 Learning project.

I had my plan. I had my supplies. Now it was the scary step of starting to put things together.

I knew exactly how long I needed all of my pieces need to be after spending the time to create my SketchUp Model.

The first problem I encountered was that I wanted all of my boards to lie flush against each other for the top and bottom surfaces. However, the lumber I bought had rounded edges all the way around. This video got me started on that process, called squaring the lumber.

Basically, I used a table saw to cut off the edges of each piece to get rid of the curved piece. Then, just to make sure things were perfectly squared up, I ran them threw a planer. This might have been overkill, but it turned out great.

Notice the different between the two edges now. Before: right, After: left.

Notice the different between the two edges now. Before: right, After: left.

DSC_0367

How I set up the table saw to square the lumber.

Then, it came time to trim things down. I found a couple tips for measuring from YouTube. There are a ton of videos and resources on this topic.

Here’s a quick clip of me using the miter saw to trim down my wood.

Luckily, I came out with all my fingers. This is type of learning situation where trying to learn this exclusively online might not be the best. Having someone who is experienced guide you through the process would be smart, especially if they know the tools and can keep you from avoiding injury. Once you get the hang of it, using these tools on your own wouldn’t be a huge concern.

What type of wood?

Before I could start building my coffee table for my EC&I 831 learning project, I needed some supplies. Luckily, I had a shop available to use with a ton of tools. However, I needed wood. From my design, I knew the sizes of wood I would need and the lengths I needed them to be. But, one major question remained: What type of wood should I buy?

I tried some searching online to see what I could learn about selecting wood. This reddit post was very detailed, but didn’t provide much insight into what type to buy, just the order you should pick things up in the store. If you want to get really technical, The Art of Manliness has a very detailed guide to picking lumber I found. I found the following video to be quick and straightforward:

This video by Wood and Shop was a little more advanced than my needs for this project, but has been bookmarked for any possible future projects I will do.

After a while researching, here are a couple of tips for getting wood for a project that I obtained:

  • Always buy more than you need. Extra will be useful for any mistakes you make (I’m anticipating many…)
  • Check for warping, twisting, or winding. The straighter and flatter the wood is, the less you’ll have to fight it.
  • Check for checking (splits or cracks) and knots in the wood.
  • Have a friend with a truck.
  • Check the moisture (I didn’t do this and was delayed waiting for it to dry)

Ultimately, my decision came down to what was reasonable. Since this is my first go at things, I settled on what Lowe’s had and went with what they recommended: cedar. It was fairly soft and marked up quite easily, even from a fingernail.

DSC_0365

Because of this wood choice, I’ll need to ensure I have a good polyurethane coat to protect the project when it’s complete. The next step is to make my measurements and cuts.

Regarding learning this online, I found that just heading to a place that sells wood to be more useful. There is a ton of information online, which I’m sure is good. But, if you can talk face to face to an expert, they can guide their recommendation based on your experience and specific project. Perhaps this could be done with a video conference call or through tweeting experts, but it’s probably more effective just to head to where you’ll already be going to make your purchase.

Planning it out with SketchUp

After scouring the web for way too long, it became time to make the design for my table.

Despite great aspirations to make my table really cool and something unique, I ultimately decided to try to make my design as simple as possible since this is my first go round at this.

I ended up basing my design off of this table created by Ana White. The design is called Rustic X Coffee Table. It was simple, but I decided to make it even more simple.

I ended up cutting out the side x and wanting to change how the bottom shelf was structured. And, I wanted to change up the dimensions.  I decided I wanted to make sure my design a little more detailed than sketches on scrap pieces of paper, so I downloaded SketchUp to start my design. I have some CAD drawing experience, but not a ton with SketchUp itself. So, I headed off to YouTube and found a ton of resources. After watching a couple intro tutorials I got the basic idea. From that point on, I just typed exactly what I wanted to do into YouTube and found a tutorial specific to it.

After designing my table once, I decided to screen record myself (I used Microsoft Mix‘s screen recording feature) building it again, to see if I have a good understanding of the tool and clean up my original design.

I also was able to very easily make the entire screen recording into a quick animated gif using Giphy.

via GIPHY

Here is a link to the actual SketchUp Model in their 3D Warehouse if you want to try it out yourself. I’m sure my actual design will change as I dive in and try to make it all fit together, but this was a good starting point. I also embedded their neat 3D viewer below (click and drag to rotate the view).

I am always amazed at the resources available on YouTube for learning, especially when it comes to software. Additionally, I found it extremely easy to make my own videos and share them on YouTube. I have made flipped math videos for my students before, but I haven’t shared anything as raw and quickly as my table making tool. I hope that maybe someone can make use of it. I also came to the conclusion that it was time to contribute. If you’re going to learn from videos on YouTube, you might as well share your experience and method in the off chance it might help someone else.

 

 

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