Mid-century Coffee Table

01pwm0814coffetableTop this sleek design with patterned veneer – it’s much easier than it looks.

by Mario Rodriguez
pages 33-37

All over the country, mid-century designs, with their sleek surfaces and clean lines, are turning up in high-style interiors. Here’s a simple table that’s perfect for any modern interior setting. It employs loose-tenon joinery and a veneering technique I introduced years ago that uses yellow glue and a common household iron.

The base is made up of square legs that are joined to rails of the same dimension. Then the construction is reinforced by a second set of slightly narrower rails. The rectangle formed by the legs and top rail is visually divided and reinforced by a second, slightly narrower, rail. This simple arrangement of the rectangle creates a nicely divided space that is both strong and pleasing to the eye.

Simple Joints for a Clean Look
The key to this design is a base that doesn’t distract the viewer from the intricate top – so I kept the rails and legs at 1-1⁄2″ square. Working with such slender members presented a problem: How could I maintain the dimensions of the parts yet join them soundly?

I decided to use loose mortise-and-tenon construction for the base. Loose tenons provide the necessary strength and allow me to speed up and simplify construction.

Article: Discover how Mario Rodriguez tunes up his veneer saw.
Class: Sign up to take a class with Mario at the Philadelphia Furniture Workshops.
Veneer: Purchase reconstituted teak veneer from Certainly Wood.
Plan: Download a free SketchUp model of this project.
In our store: Purchase the author’s video, “Make an Elegant Writing Desk.”

From the August 2014 issue, #212
Aug14cover150