Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coffee Anyone?

I have a young friend (YF) who is so ambitious!  She's in the MBA program here at Cal Poly and she's finishing up an interior design certification course at Mt. SAC.  She works part time for us, and she works part time at another job.  She's so busy it makes me tired just thinking about it!

In between all the stuff she has to do, she helps her friends with their decorating dilemmas.  Currently, she's helping some very nice people furnish and decorate a band new home.  They've been hit with some unexpected move related expenses so their decorating dollars have been cut to almost nothing.  (Haven't we all been there?!)

Anyway, my YF suggested that they needed a very large coffee table to replace their old one.  Now, I've made a couple of cabinets for my YF and she asked me if I could make something for them.  She'd been looking and most of the big tables were going for anywhere between $575 and $1600 dollars.  I'd recently seen a plan at  for a coffee table that I was sure I could make for less than $575.  Here's what I did last Sunday.
I wish I had a better camera in my phone!  This  really  looks  so much better "in person".
It's 42" x 42"x 20 1/2" tall

I attached the legs to the apron first.

Then, using glue and pocket hole joinery, attached the birch trim to the birch plywood top. 

After attaching the other two aprons to create the base, I stained that piece.  First I applied
Minwax Bombay Mahogany, wiped that off, and applied a coat of Minwax Espresso.
I wanted just a hint of  a red tint  in the dark espresso color.  

This is the underside of the table top with Bombay mahogany spread on it.
I wiped that off next.  This stain had a polyurethane in it and since I wasn't going to spend
a lot of time on the underside of the table I thought using this particular solution would
give it some color  and protect it at the same time.
One coat and I was done with under the table.
Here it is with the table top attached to the base.  It has a coat of Bombay mahogany on it.
See how read it looks next to the espresso color?

Here it is with  the espresso stain rubbed in to the top
(looks almost light brown here - but it really is pretty dark!)

You can almost see the detail of the top trim; it's about 2-1/2 inches wide with mitered corners,
and a round over routed edge.

I also added a detail to the apron - can you see it?  I ran it through the table saw with the blade raised
just an 1/8 of an inch.  Just a slight indent 1/2 inch up from the bottom edge.  

And, here it is all stained, with probably 2 coats of satin finish polyurethane.
Oh darn - there's not enough sheen on that table top! 

This picture shows it with a couple coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.  Still not enough of a sheen for me.

So, I tried something else.  I rubbed in a layer of finish paste wax.
I let that dry for about 20 minutes and came back with my electric polisher.
I rubbed out the wax with that for a bit and although there's still not as much sheen
as I'd hoped for, I think it looks a lot smoother and feels much better!
This was a fun one.  Fairly easy (although I always manage to mess up something!) and it was quick.  I should probably mention that I usually don't finish things (remember - I hate to finish!).  However, the people I built this for don't finish things either, so I told them - and this is just about word-for-word:  "I don't finish, but I'll smear a coat of stain on it for you".  I think it turned out pretty well and should prove to be a pretty, functional piece for them for several years (or until they add it to their burn pile!).

Done and ready for pick up!