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Slat-Built Modern Coffee Table (w/ Additive Joinery)

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This table is a really fun and simple build. Easy, but quite a bit of work. It requires accuracy and patience, but with those two traits, ANY intermediate and most beginner woodworkers can build this.

If you want the MOST in-depth instructions, check out the build video included in this guide. Everything will make a lot more sense after you do, though I'll do my best to fully explain every step along the way.

MATERIALS:
- Wood: Hardwood of your choice is recomended. 3/4" thickness is best because it can save you a step. You can easily use plywood if you keep the striped or "grain" side as your 3/4" side. I have never tried softwoods for this type of build, so feel free to try, just don't blame me if it falls apart.

- Wood Glue

- Pneumatic nailer/hammer and wire brads 1.25" length is best, 1" is the minimum. 18 gauge or thereabouts recommended.

- Table Saw: If you don't have a table saw, you can use any capable saw you are comfortable with that can accurately cut your boards into strips, lengthwise.

- Miter Saw: or any saw you're comfortable using that is capable of accurately cutting a 31.6 degree and 90 degree angle.

- Measuring tape or device

- Clamps: Not entirely necessary if you're using nails, but something like a few bandiclamps, or longer bar clamps for the later stages will eliminate nail holes on the front of your piece.

- Sander: belt, random orbital, hand, just make sure you have a rough grit (like 80), a medium grit (like 120) and a fine grit (like 220)

- Finish: I used an oil/wax combination, but choose what works best for you!

Step 1: Understand the Design and Gather Materials

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Understanding the design of this build will really help in the process. I've broken down the design and construction into what I call "additive joinery." That's when, instead of removing material to create a joint, you build the joint together out of smaller pieces. Each panel (or side) is made up of strips, the ends of which are staggered to create additive "finger" joints on the end. The legs have additive dados created in the same manner. it is designed to be able to be built using as simple tools as possible, and with lumber that is widely available.

I often call this design, where the surfaces of the table don't fully meet, an "impossible" table, due to comments I received about how fragile and unusable it'd be. It is deceptively strong, however, using the weight distribution of the legs and strong joinery at the corners to displace weight to there it's strongest.

NOTE: In this guide, when I refer to a "trapezoidal" cut board, I mean one with sides that are NOT cut parallel, like Side A in the diagram. When I refer to a "parallel" cut board, I am referring to one that is, like Side B.

So let's get started

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CUT LIST : (all measurements are from the shorter lengths of the slats, all angles are 31.6 degrees)

Side A

- 17.3125 (17 5/16)" x 1" x .75" Trapezoidal cut slats (11 total, make a couple extra)

- 18.5" x 1" x .75" trapezoidal cut slats (12 total, make a couple extra )

Side B:

- 12.75" x 1" x .75" Parallel cut slats (23 total, make a couple extra)

Side C:

- 6.75" x 1" x .75" Trapezoidal cut slats (23 total, make a couple extra)

Side D:

- 12.75" x 1" x .75" Parallel cut slats (23 total, make a couple extra)

Side E:

- 14" x 1" x .75" Parallel cut slats (23 total, make a couple extra)

Side F:

- 12.75" x 1" x .75" Parallel cut slats (23 total, make a couple extra)

Side G:

- 9.8125" (9 13/16") x 1" x .75" Parallel cut slats (12 total, make a couple extra)

- 11" x 1" x .75" Parallel cut slats (12 total, make a couple extra)

Leg part H:

- 21.5" x 1" x .75" Parallel cut slats (4 total, make a couple extra)

Leg part I:

- 10" x 1" x .75" Parallel cut slats (4 total, make a couple extra)

Leg part J:

- 10.25" x 1" x .75" Parallel cut slats (4 total, make a couple extra)

That is a total of 2190.5" (182.54') of 1"x.75" slats, not counting any extras. So when you're buying your lumber for this project, plan accordingly.

What a great looking design. Fantastic.
I love the abstractness of this build.Great Job!
fred18968 days ago
Wow that looks so cool :D Great work!
Mimikry9 days ago
I really like the design!
hidden dowels would be my choice instead of nails though, I might give it a try.
KeithDecent (author)  Mimikry8 days ago
sounds like a good idea. if you do it, tag me or let me know!
CarolP429 days ago
Great design. Loved the video Instructable, very professional. Good luck in the contest.
KeithDecent (author)  CarolP428 days ago
thanks so much!
hegefer8 days ago
Congratulation! It is a magnificent masterpiece. (Voted!)
KeithDecent (author)  hegefer8 days ago
Thank you!