My mom took a short course on making glass mosaics and made a mosaic of a celtic knot. She asked me to make a table with her mosaic as the top with a shelf to put blankets etc. in. this is the design we came up with together. Her mosaic was 18.5" x 24.5" so the whole table is based around that and matching the height of the couches in their living room. The finished mosaic was about an inch thick so the recess in the top was cut to match that.
I designed the table so all the joinery can be cut with a table saw and dado blades so it's mostly half-lap joints. I modeled the table in sketchup after it was completed to help show how it all went together. I attached sketchup files of both the whole table assembled and all the individual pieces separate so you can visualize them more easily.
I made some notes on the images where I thought it would make more sense than lots of text in the description. if you have any questions I'll try to make things more clear. Thanks for reading!
Step 1: Collect Material
to build this table for raw materials you need:
5x 8' 2x4's (structural parts: legs, rails and mosaic surround)
4x 8' 1x4's (slats for the bottom and sides)
1x 18.5"x24.5"x1" glass mosaic
I easily fit all the wood in my car. I chose 8' lumber since it fits inside the car and I don't need to worry about needing to tie it to the roof. you might need one more 1x4 or 2x4 since the pieces might not come out evenly from the 8' lengths. I always have leftover chunks of 2x4 from other projects so this method of estimating what to buy works out ok since I can cover the extra with scraps or just buy one extra board every couple times I buy supplies.
tools I used:
table saw with dado blades
router with roundover bit
Step 2: Glass Mosaic
My mom made the glass mosaic used for the top. she told me the basic steps to make it were to transfer an image to a sheet of 3/4" plywood, break ~1/4" thick pieces of glass into different sized pieces then glue them onto the plywood to match the picture. Once the pieces were glued down cover the whole thing in grout so it gets between all the little glass tiles then wipe away the excess grout. this resulted in a mosaic a bit thinner than 1" so I made a recess in the top 1" for it to fit in.
Step 3: Cut Pieces
Start by cutting all your pieces to length on the table saw (the cut list in step 1 is helpful for this), then cut them to the right widths. once you have them all cut you can switch to a dado stack to cut the joinery parts. I would cut all the matching pieces at the same time, so you don't have to change your setup i.e. cut the top lap for all the legs at the same time, same with the middle lap for the bottom rail. some of the laps, such as the ends of the rails and tops of the legs could also be done with a bandsaw if you prefer.
Step 4: Assemble Sides
once you have all the pieces cut the next step is to assemble the sides. you need two identical long sides, the front and the back. I would glue the rails and legs together then glue the slats in by just setting them on the insets and putting something heavy on them rather than developing some complex clamping setup. you could also pin nail them down.
Step 5: Assemble Table Base
once your sides are glued up you can put the base together. I did this by glueing the sides and back together first with the front in place but not glued, to help with clamping. once that's dry remove the front and slide the slats for the bottom into the groove in the bottom rails, once they're all in place you can glue the front on.
the corners go together so the legs cross opposite the rails, ie the end grain of the rails on the front and back glue to the side legs while the end grain of the side rails glue to the front and back rails not the legs. hopefully the pictures help explain this.
once I had the base all glued up I used a roundover bit in a router to soften all the edges.
Step 6: Assemble Table Top
next is to assemble the surround for the mosaic. I glued it all up around the mosaic then rounded the edges. don't put the mosaic in place yet.
Step 7: Attach Base and Top
to attach the base to the top I centered the top over the base without the mosaic in place then screwed the top to the base through the top rails into the top from inside the base. I then put the mosaic in place and screwed it in from inside through the lip it sits on. this way the top and mosaic can be removed if need be (i removed the mosaic while I did the finishing for example). you could also glue them all in place.
Step 8: Finishing
I stained the whole thing with two coats of watco medium walnut danish oil then two coats of brush on polyurethane. once it was totally dry I put the mosaic back in place and it was finished!