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How to build Glass Top Shadow Box Coffee Table

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A recent project I completed was a glass top shadow box coffee table.  The customer wanted the table refinished and we made some cosmetic changes to update the look.  See pictures.

Well her friend had been looking for something similar on the internet but had not had any luck.  She asked if that was something I could make for her.  Here is the result!  I hope you like it!

She wanted something more traditional.  I started by looking for a reasonably priced table leg.  The one I found was from Van Dyke’s Restorers.  They have tons of shapes and sizes.   It was on sale, around $16 each plus some shipping.  I sketched up a square table per her request. The table would be 42” wide, 42” long and 18 ¾” tall.  (the sketch originally had a 15” leg but it did not suit her).  I attempted to use stock wood for all the components to keep it simple, on time and on budget. 

 

Materials / tools:

 

(4) table legs of choice

 

(4) 1” x  6” x 8’  #1 pine for the table  top and skirt

 

(2) 1” x 2” x 8’ pine

 

(2) ¾” x ½” trim pine (stop?)

 

(2) ¾” decorative trim

 

(1) 4’ x 4’ ¼” birch plywood for the base of the shadowbox area

 

Nail gun

 

Miter saw

 

Drill

 

Driver

 

Pocket hole jig

 

Circular saw

 

Router with ¼” bit

 

Hand sander (palm rotary is what I have)

Safety First!  Wear goggles, dust mask,  ear protection, gloves!  Don't skip because it is inconvenient! 
Bad things can happen and never when you expect.  I recently had to rush my helper to the eye doctor.  We had finished  cutting, sanding etc. on a different project.  Just doing some assembly.  However, he bumped something and saw dust came raining down on him.  Some got in his eye.  He was in agony and had to have his eye cleaned and treated by the Doctor.  He is fine now but they were worried for a time about cornea damage.  So it is a good idea to keep your safety gear on whenever possible and keep your shop clean and orderly.



Photos:  Our project, before and after on the original, the legs we used and finally our original sketch

 
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Maybe Dave4 months ago

Hi there. Thanks for the great tutorial! I'm looking forward to building my version and sharing the results.

Is that 1/4" rabbet groove deep enough to support all that glass?

Hi

Sorry for the slow reply. It holds the weight just fine. I had it cut to fit at the glass place so it is pretty snug too. Only thing I might add is to put bisquits in the corners. I'm just inexperienced with the slot cutter and don't have many chances to use it.

shazni10 months ago
Do you think this would be okay for a dining table 6 ft long? or do i need to add additional legs?
sosclosetsandfurniture (author)  shazni10 months ago
Hi Shazni!

I think it would work fine with just the four. I have built lots of tables from scratch approx. 6' long. Depends on the leg style too. You may need to add corner brackets to the leg with a lag bolt to strengthen the table. Some legs come with the corner bolt already inserted. Let me know if you have any other questions. Please post a picture here if you make one! Thanks!
thanks! I saw this absolutely gorgeous coffee table...sort of like s shadow box...the base is a rectangle box...plywood placed about 2" below ...filled with petals and stuff and coverd with just a glass....I loved it. the only hitch was...I was afraid the glass would move...if weight was put in one side...do you suppose if I glued a sleeve to the mirror which would slip inside the rectangle...it would do? are there any transparent strong glue for glass?
sosclosetsandfurniture (author)  shazni10 months ago
Hi

Not sure about the sleeve. I'm having trouble visualizing your table. Can you send a picture?

There are clear adhesives for glass. Clear adhesive caulk is used a lot for setting glass panes in doors on cabinets. They have it at Lowes etc. Clear adhesive is used to attach rear view mirrors on the windshield. I think you can get that at an automotive parts store.

Hope that helps!
gogglecrab1 year ago
Great work! I was planning to build a table similar to this design and now with this as reference, it'll be a million times easier! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the kind comment! It was a fun project to make!
Wonderfully done! Looks great :)
Thanks Penolopy!