Instructables

Reversible Coffee/Activity Table

FeaturedContest Winner
Picture of Reversible Coffee/Activity Table
I wanted a coffee table that looked interesting.  I also wanted a fun table like this one.  I didn't want to build two tables, though, and I didn't want to store an extra table.

I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money and I didn't have all the typical tools most people have when they build furniture.  Here's what I came up with.


This table does contain nails (for an unusual purpose), but they're not used to adhere anything.  The entire table is held together with adhesives.
 
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Step 1: Make the table top

Picture of Make the table top
Materials:

a solid piece of wood, or:

pieces of wood that will fit together to make the table top
wood glue
waxed paper
rope
boards to rest the table top on
wedges for the top of the table

We bought several poplar boards instead of a solid piece of wood.  It was cheaper and fit in our car.  This was years ago, and the glued tabletop has been sitting around for quite some time before I finally started this project on my own.

We didn't have anything large to clamp the boards together and hold them flat as they glued, so we used a different technique.  Josh had seen joining jigs using rope and wedges in some luthiers forum he was poking around, and the technique worked fine for this.

Josh put wood glue on the edges of the boards and pressed them together, laying them over some 2x2 pieces of wood wrapped in waxed paper.  The waxed paper kept the tabletop from being glued to the wood it was resting on as it was pressed together and a little wood glue was squashed out.

He then placed waxed paper wrapped wedges on top of the table, directly over the bottom pieces of wood.  He wrapped some nylon cord tightly over the table and around the ends of the bottom pieces of wood in a figure eight pattern with the overlapping cords on top of the wedges as shown.  We tapped at the short, flat ends of the wedges (not the pointy ends) with a hammer to shove them in more tightly.  Some people use flat pieces of wood right under the wedges, but we didn't feel like it.

The wedges, held tightly by the rope, applied even downward pressure while the wood glue set up overnight.

Here is another example of this type of jig being used to join flat pieces of wood.  We don't have more pictures because we did this years ago.
ecsaul231 year ago
Totally awesome! We need to make one at the Youth Center this summer with the teens
SkunkRyder2 years ago
just found this ible, and i am so in love with this! my boys would spend hours playing with the fun side! i love the tree with leaves, so beautiful, and the farm animals are so cute. i'm thinking i'll try maybe a square with numbers and letters, and a maze you could guide ball bearings though. hope i can get this done by the holidays :) thank you so much for posting this, it really inspires me!
HEY YOU3 years ago
ONE word - Fantastic!
gilleseg3 years ago
It is not actually a good idea to use chalk for marking when using carving tools or chisels. The grainy nature of the chalk dulls the blade and can even make small chips. I have been yelled at by the older gentlemen in my woodcarving club.

Also carving tools should not be put on a magnet, like one that is used to hold tools in a shop. Apparently this change in polarity can also dull the blade beyond repair.

Great instructable though. I don't mean to sound like a know at all, but I am obligated to say something because of how often I have heard it.

Cheers
supersoftdrink (author)  gilleseg3 years ago
thanks... good to know :) Josh often complains about me dulling his tools.
The House3 years ago
I still think this is the best one of the group. Flippin awesome!
Safety tip: If you smell rotten eggs you should take it outside. If your eyes become irritated as well you should be concerned for your safety.

Rotten egg smell is often caused by Hydrogen sulfide, which is lethal in doses as low as 320 ppm and damaging to your eyes in doses as low as 50 ppm.
supersoftdrink (author)  WhyIsThisOpen3 years ago
Thank you for the safety reminder. It's good for all of us to keep in mind. The smell was faint and I didn't use much epoxy at a time; my nose is just really sensitive.
sunshiine3 years ago
How creative! I really like this.
causeeffect3 years ago
Amazing. Such detail!
rachl0093 years ago
this is so cool! my favorite part is the tree with leaves- the staple vein is a great idea!
ChrysN3 years ago
What an amazing activity table, nicely done!
rvaldeza3 years ago
OMG.. thats a great job.. from monterrey mexico. thanks for this great ideas.
and cool pictures...
Ninzerbean3 years ago
Wow! Even though I am in the same contest, I hope you win, this is so incredible. I have to go look at every one else's stuff but you definitely have one of my votes.
supersoftdrink (author)  Ninzerbean3 years ago
thanks! :)