My wife asked me to build her a sofa table.
Since she is already using the Stickley round table I built previously, I decided to keep the same type of design for the new sofa table. Here is the previous Stickley table I built:
I modified this design to make a rectangular sofa table:
This new table will be made of red oak, the same as the round existing table. This red oak came from Menards in Bloomington, Illinois.
Making the Wide Boards
I had to glue up 3 wide boards to make the top and the 2 shelves. After glue up, I could run the 2 shelf boards through my 12 inch planer to eliminate any mis-match on the glued up boards. The top is 14" wide, so I could not run it through the planer, I had to belt sand it.
Making the 1 Inch Thick Feet
The only red oak I had in stock was standard 3/4" thick stock. I glued up this standard stock, then planed it down to the 1 inch thickness needed.
I sawed the angles on my old radial arm saw.
Probably the most difficult part of making this table is the grooved legs. On the previous round table, I had issues making these grooves. One of these issues was the board kicking a little on the router table, causing not to have a straight groove.
For this project, I decided to build a temporary jig for the router table. It has 2 fences to keep the piece from moving in the router table. It also has a stop on each end, so the end of the groove stays the same each pass you make. I took about 1/4" per pass in depth using a 1/2" diameter carbide bit.
I also decided to keep increasing the depth until the bit broke through the top of the piece. SAFETY ALERT: When the bit is going to break through the top of the board, make sure your hand/fingers are not in this area!! It is natural to push down on the board in this area, so be extra careful when you get near the break-out point!!
Except for the safety risk when the bit breaks out the top, this method worked very well. It gave a straight and nice groove.
There is an 1/8 inch spacing between the vertical leg and the foot. I used wood paint stirrers, which are 1/8" thick to achieve the proper spacing when laying the leg assembly flat on the table saw. I used Kreig pocket screws, plus glue, to attach the feet to the verticals. This worked very well
Rounded Corners for Table Top
I usually just use a paint can to trace any rounded corners. Recently I splurged and bought a set of plastic guides made for marking rounded corners.
I decided to try them out on this project.
The new guide worked fine for marking the corner. I used the drum sander on the drill press to remove the stock. I then routed an 1/8" round-over lip on the top of the table top.
I decided to use a small board on each side of the top. This board is pocket screwed to the vertical legs. I then made a sliding groove in piece, so the screw securing this piece to the table can move as the top expands and contracts over time.
Once the top was attached to the verticals, I marked the 2 heights for the shelves. I temporarily clamped a scrap piece on each side so I could lower the shelf into position. I then marked where the pocket screws should go, drill the shelf, then lowered back into final position. I used both glue and Kreig pocket screws to attach the shelves.
I used Spanish Oak oil based stain on this table, since it has to match the previous Stickley round table.
Behlen Grain Filler
To give a super smooth finish on the top and shelves, I used Behlen grain filler to fill the red oak pores. The process used is:
-stain the oak and let dry
- stir up Behlen's grain filler because it settles quickly in the can
-hand run in Behlen's grain filler
-after 10 minutes, rub off excess across the grain using gunney sack material
-sand to 220 after grain filler dries
-re-stain and dry
-apply 1st coat of poly
-apply 2nd coat of poly
-apply 3rd coat of poly
I used gloss poly for the 3rd coat
Here is the Behlen grain filler photos:
Lessons Learned on This Project
-pay attention to safety when using the router method shown above for making the grooves. Do not have you hand or fingers in the way of the router cutter when it finally breaks through the top surface.
-whenever using a belt sander to smooth the top of glued up boards that are too wide to run through the planer, run the belt sander parallel to the grain as a last step of belt sanding. If you don't, you will likely have scratches at an angle to the grain when you finish the top. This is a common problem I have had on past table tops or wide shelves.