Studio furniture maker Liz Koerner is a recent graduate of the Core program at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. In 2012 she took my Campaign furniture class where she began designing and building a Danish modern looking coffee table with structural knockdown features.
She first began sketching the table and then drawing its components in true scale. She then devised a way to shape the table's legs and aprons mostly on a router table using a template and some toggle clamps. For the knock-down part of the base, Liz drilled holes into the mitered ends and then routed out small openings on the insides, on either side of the joint, big enough to get a wrench into. A piece of threaded rod connects the joints and is held tightly by elongated lock-washers and nuts. All of the cross pieces are connected with mortise and tenon joints so, when taken apart, the base is in three sections. The purpose of the knock-down joints was to allow the whole table to be packed flat for easier shipping and storing. After Liz finished the base she began working on the top. She decided to use veneer tiles that were meticulously arranged on the surface of the table top — a 3/4” MDF core with walnut edge-banding. Liz told me she got the idea to do veneer tiles from attending Brian Reid's class "Piercing and Veneer Patterns" that took place at Penland the previous summer. The light blue stripes are curly maple that she dyed with blue aniline dye before cutting into strips and taping to large walnut veneer strips.
In Liz’s words: “I wanted the pattern to be random but still easy to make– so I made a sheet of this larger pattern (1/8" blue stripes amongst the larger walnut stripes). Next I 'ripped' this sheet into 3" wide stripes at a slight angle with an exacto knife. Then I cut those into squares, allowing the stripe to fall in different places in each square. They were all taped together and glued down in a vacuum press using epoxy.”
Watch this short video to discover how Liz build her great looking table.