Introduction: Modern Waterfall Table (The Obtuse Tables)

About: I have an unhealthy relationship with pallet wood. I make fast paced and entertaining build videos on my YouTube channel that are made for everyone, but with the ultimate goal to get the younger generations ex…

This pair of "waterfall" style tables I'm calling The Obtuse Tables were made from a repurposed maple butcher block countertop with a leg frame made from reclaimed mahogany. The main surface of the table wraps down at 95 degrees, so each of the legs kicks over at 5 degrees. The original idea behind this design was that due to the angle of the legs, the table would look like it wants to tip over, but it won't due to the weight distribution. However, the mahogany legs are reversible and I actually flipped them around because it look better to me that way. Also, because of the darker color they're almost hidden when viewed at the right angle. I used a mix of regular splines and dovetail splines all made from mahogany to achieve the look.

Step 1: Cutting Table Tops to Size

It all started by wrestling the 100 pound 6' x 3.5' countertop into the shop.

I take it to the table saw and cut it right down the middle.

Then it's ripped down to the final width.

The blade is tilted over to 45 degrees to cut a chamfer in both sides.

Then each of the strips is cut to rough length on the miter saw. Each of these gives me one top and one leg to wrap down the side.

I then set the angle to 47.5 degrees and cut both the top and wrap down leg to final length. With this angle, the two pieces fit together will have a 95 degree angle, so the leg will kick out slightly by 5 degrees. At this time, I also cut the opposite side of the leg piece at 5 degrees so it will sit flat on the floor.

Step 2: Clamping Up Miter Joint

I draw a line down the pieces and then cut the slots for the biscuits. These will act both as a way to reinforce the joint and also to align the pieces during this tricky glue-up.

I use a strap 2x4 chunk and cut it down to the same 5 degree angle. I then use hot glue to temporarily glue these onto each piece of the tables to act as a clamping surface.

Glue is applied liberally to the miter joint and biscuits are inserted.

This glue-up is super tricky especially with these pieces being so hefty. It's a careful balance of clamping with enough pressure to pull the joint tight while at the same time not popping the clamping cleats off.

Step 3: Clamping Up Legs

The countertop is set to dry and I start making the other set of legs for the table. These are some mahogany deck balusters that are cut down to size with a simple 45 degree miter.

Glue is applied to all of the joints and a strap clamp is used to clamp it in place.

The strap is tightened and these are set aside for the night to dry along with the tables.

Step 4: Table Top Splines

The next day the clamping blocks are removed. I over tighten the screw clamps until one of the blocks pops off and then I use a chisel to remove the other block.

Once the hot glue mess is scraped off, I clamp my spline jig in place and cut some dovetail splines alone the corner. These are mostly decorative, but also help to reinforce the miter joint.

I divide the space between the dovetails to make larger straight splines.

I wanted these to be pretty deep and the only saw I could use to cut the groove was a hand saw. It takes lots of patience and a steady hand to make sure they are cut straight.

Glue is applied to the slot for the straight spline...

And these thin pieces of mahogany are slid into place.

The same then happens for the dovetail splines.

Once everything drys, a pull saw is used to cut the splines close to flush and then a sander brings them down to the surface.

Step 5: Leg Splines

I want to reinforce the other leg as well, so I use the spline cutting jig on my table saw to cut the groove.

This time I contrast the legs with a maple spline. Glue is applied and a spline is inserted on all 4 corners.

Step 6: Final Shaping and Sanding

At this point, I decided that I wanted a matching chamfer on the end of the table, so I clamp a fence on the end and use a circular saw to cut the corner off.

All of the surfaces are then sanded through the grits up to 220.

Now the legs are cut on each end at their 5 degree angle to match the angle of the other leg.

All sides of the leg frame are sanded through the grits...

Step 7: Finishing

And I use tung oil on the surface to bring out the grain and give it a little shine.

And tung oil is applied to the legs.

(this is the finish that I use:

Step 8: Attaching the Legs

When the finish dries, I clamp the legs in place where I want them to sit. I then bore out a hole with a forstner bit where the nut will hide and use a regular drill bit to go all the way through the table top for the carriage bolt.

The bolts are inserted straight through the top and bolted down through the bottom.

Step 9: Feet & Final Finish

I decided to add some rubber feet to the bottom of the 4 corners of the table. This hovers it off the ground a bit to give it a cool shadow line along the floor and also keeps the table from sliding around.

I then apply a couple more coats of the tung oil finish and then it's done!

Step 10: Glamour Shots

Thanks for checking out the build. Just in case you missed it, I'll drop the link here too for the full build video:

Tables and Desks Contest 2016

Participated in the
Tables and Desks Contest 2016

Epilog Contest 8

Participated in the
Epilog Contest 8