Introduction: Modern Coffee Table
No one likes cookies and coffee more than me. This table combines my love for both of these into a tangible object to prop my feet up on. I hope that you enjoy the visual aspects of the build and the story behind the table. I enjoy the mixed medium projects that get to sharpen my patience when working with slow setting epoxy, along with the fine tuned art of metal working, and my deep love of wood working. Enjoy the journey and I hope that it will inspire you to build something similar or starkly different.
This journey was started in the desire to make an end table out of a cookie. The cookie that i had cut up was very green despite being a naturally fell tree that had been on the ground for five years. I had envisioned most of the drying was complete and infact the moisture was at 10% when i first brought it home. I put it on my shelf and flipped it every few days for two months. It dried very evenly and did not have very many cracks. The moisture content dropped down to 4% and I began planing the table from a very uneven 3" down to an even flat cookie. This lead to the project changing into a coffee table. The end grain did not take well to the planing. I tried an electric planer, router, and belt sander. Everything just exacerbated the problems with the wood. I began to think of utilizing epoxy to solidify the cookie. While changing the plans, I acquired several board feet of worm wood Poplar. The light poplar really looked good with the ambrosia outer ring in the cookie.
Walnut(maybe sweetgum) wood cookie 3" thick
40 board feet of Poplar planks
12 liters of ecopoxy flowcast
4 liters of ecopoxy UVPoxy
1/2" round stock
1/4"X2" flat stock
LOTS of Sandpaper-5" orbital
Step 1: Butcher Board
I cut up 4/4 poplar board planks into 5/4 wide strips. Glued them up to a slab 5/4"X26"X50". This is an oversized version of the coffee table without the cookie inside. I glued them up using Type II wood glue. I did not joint the sides when gluing this up. The scheme of the table is shabby chic and thought that the inconsistencies should remain throughout the build.
Step 2: Inlay the Cookie
I didn't take a lot of pics of this process during the build. The cookie had broken by this time too. I simply put the cookie on top of the glued up breadboard then marked the outline. Cut it out with a jigsaw. There were a few spots that needed to be trimmed out with sand paper. This was a low tech cutout. The overall fit is around an 1/8" gap to very snug. The gap eventually fills with epoxy.
Step 3: Pouring the Epoxy
This pour was a bit of an unexpected challenge. I made the epoxy bath like a standard river table. Melanine backer board with sides. I forgot to put down a release agent to the melanine that eventually caused a ton of additional work. I clamped the wood down with a 2x4 with wedges to hold the wood down. The multiple pieces of cookie and the breadboard created a floating challenge. The crazy pics at the end are pretty much a hodge podge of dense objects from my shop. The wood should have been clamped down a lot more and uniformity would need to be established also.
Besides the wood floating, it wasn't too bad of a pour. I have used ecopoxy in different projects and have been blown away by the quality of the epoxy. It's good stuff!!
The next challenge was scary. I poured three liters on a Friday night. When i came down Saturday morning it was gone. After freaking out and checking the floor, realized the the wood soaked it up. I mixed up three more liters on Saturday night. When I came down Sunday morning it was gone. It soaked it up again. I mixed up yet another three liters on Sunday night. Much to my delight on Monday morning, It was finally still there.
Now the waiting game.
Step 4: Inlay, Planing and Sanding
I had a lot of work in front of me since I didn't use a release agent. I strong armed alot of the board off then had to resort to an electric hand planer. Then used a plane sled once the rough cutout was complete. The table was practically a dense block of epoxy with wood highlights. I decided to put a cross sectional piece of red oak inlay on the large side of the table. This idea was before i had decided on Hairpin legs. I think the inlay is a good idea but unnecessary not that the hairpins are together on each side.
Also ran the router sled over the table for the final mill thickness. Very tedious but very precise.
Step 5: Epoxy Finish
I wish that I had put a time-lapse camera on during this process. It was pouring a thick coat of UVpoxy over the whole table, heat up with a torch to pop bubbles, heat up with a torch to pop bubbles, heat up with a torch to pop bubbles, heat up with a torch to pop bubbles, heat up with a torch to pop bubbles, and walk away.
Step 6: Hairpin Legs
The hairpin legs have been well documented on YouTube. I pretty much copied someone on the web. I don't want to go into detail but I learned from others on how to make bending jigs, cutting jigs, and welding jigs. Have fun going on the rabbit hole on this if this is on your bucket list.
Step 7: Ta-duh-duh-dah
Now for the Money-Shot. It took about six months from picking up the cookie to taking these pics. The very well photographed pics with the rustic flower setting were taken by my sister. She is a phenomenal photographer that is locally famous for her keen photographic eye. It is very evident that she missed her true calling of photography. Maybe when she's done saving lives as a nurse she can focus on the things she's really good at. Enjoyed the build...Party on Wayne.
Runner Up in the