The Willimantic Coffetable

My friends Kim and Mike asked me to build them a coffeetable with the same look as my headboard, so I was very excited to find these old boards on the side of North Street during Willimantic’s “Bulky Waste Pickup” week in May (the best time to scavenge for materials).

My landlord came by as I was prying off the braces and said “wow, you really will make furniture out of anything.” I was not offended.

Because this is what they look like, cut down to size and laid out

Then, I learned that one of my favorite local businesses, Hosmer Mountain Soda, was selling old wooden crates to commemorate their 100th anniversary. Perfect for pseudo-drawers, right?

Here are the framed legs for the table: pine 1x4s joining 2×2 bannister rails. They are sitting atop the¬†shelf (made with new pine 1x4s) so I can mark where I need to cut.

The challenge on this table was turning 1x4s into a sturdy tabletop and bottom shelf. I finally settled on gluing the inside boards for the tabletop…

Then gluing and using pocket holes to add the outer 1x4s, then reinforcing underneath with 1x4s.

For the bottom shelf, I skipped the pocket holes because I could place the 1×4 as close to the edge as I wanted, which meant I could have a nail driven into each separate board. The procedure here was glue, clamp, nail from below (didn’t get a picture of this), then¬†remove clamps, flip, wipe away the excess glue, and put the clamps back on.

Here is the top attached to the legs, now with another brace

And here are the pocket holes I used to attach the bottom shelf to the legs

And here I’m using 1x3s as spacers to place the shelf at just the right height

Completely assembled!

Then, the power sander and little woodfiller to make the top nice and smooth

Stained with Minwax Red Mahogany…

You’re probably thinking…wow, that’s really red. I thought that too when I saw this picture. I wasn’t so happy with it being so red, and I was also a little disappointed that the stain kind of erased some of the character the reclaimed boards had when unfinished. I’m looking into different stains and waxes for future projects, but on this one I wound up sanding away some of the stain before varnishing. Re-distressing is I guess what you could call this, and it brought out the complexity of the grain

Also, you’ll notice that it doesn’t look nearly so red when it’s not in the direct sunlight…

If only I could figure out how to make those wooden crates match a little better…I think if I’d stained the table with more of a black-hued stain (something like Minwax “ebony”) it would have matched, but of course another option is not to use the boxes. Here’s how it looks at Kim and Mike’s without them.

Lucy approves…Dizzy, not so much ; )

Needless to say, my love affair with red mahogany is over.

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4 thoughts on “The Willimantic Coffetable

  1. Pingback: A New Angle on Reclaimed Boards | Fair-weather Furniture

  2. Pingback: The Tom Table | Fair-weather Furniture

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