Furniture Projects | Popular Woodworking Magazine

I Can Do That: Contemporary Coffee Table

Take the easy way out: Find sizes without measuring.

By Robert Lang
Pages 62-63

This small coffee table is a great introduction to building furniture. It doesn’t require much material and it’s an opportunity to develop your skills. This project is sturdy, attractive and easy to build. All of the parts come from standard widths of lumber. I used poplar from my local home center, and I made the table from one 6′-long piece of 1×8, one 8′ length of 1×6 and two 8′ lengths of 1×4.

Start by gluing the top from two pieces of 1×8 and one piece of 1×6. If you are cutting the parts from 6′- or 8′-long boards, leave them a couple of inches long, then trim them to the final length after the glue has dried.
The goal during glue-up is to keep the faces of the boards aligned. Use a couple straight strips of wood below for a level work surface and, if you need to, clamp straight pieces across the top and bottom to hold the edges in alignment while the glue dries.

Let the glue dry overnight, then trim the top to length. Clamp a straightedge across the top to guide your jigsaw or circular saw to make the cut. When the top is at its finished size, set the blade of your combination square at 2″ and draw lines in from each corner on the underside of the top.

Video: Learn a quick and easy method for finding the center of an edge with a combination square.
Plan: Download a free SketchUp model for the “Contemporary Coffee Table.”
Articles: All the “I Can Do That” articles are free online.

I Can Do That: Small Bench

This simple seat is ideal for a hallway or porch.

By Megan Fitzpatrick
Pages: 26-27

From The October 2011 issue #192
Buy the issue now

This project is inspired by a period choir bench in my mom’s dining room – but I modernized the Gothic revival design of the original with sweeping curves on the arms (instead of shelter arms), and left out the moulding and cutouts.

From the October 2011 issue #192
Buy this issue now

: “I Can Do That” article from Mag Ruffman on our web site.
PLAN: Download the free SketchUp plan for the Small Bench.
ARTICLE: All the “I Can Do That” articles are free online.

The Barnsley Hay Rake Table

Inspired by the agricultural tools of rural England, this massive oak table is awash in hand-worked details.
By Don Weber
Pages: 60-65

From the February 2009 issue #174
Buy this issue now

As a young fellow growing up in the countryside of Wales, I clambered over many a farm wagon, climbed into many a loft in barns that were jointed and pegged, and tripped over many a hay rake on my adventures.

I have always appreciated the simple, utilitarian, yet pleasing design of the vernacular woodworking of the countryside. My inspiration for furniture forms has always been the work of the wheelwright and coach maker. And the inspiration for how to build things came in part from Sidney Barnsley and Ernest Gimson.

Barnsley and Gimson were men of the Cotswolds school of craft architects. They were part of a group of London architects who moved to the countryside in the 19th century and set up what is known today as the English Arts & Crafts movement (along with William Morris at Kelmscott Manor).

These free thinkers broke away from convention and began to design not only the buildings, but the furnishings as well. And they turned to the rural countryside for their inspiration.

The hay rake table built for Rodmarton Manor was an example of how Gimson and Barnsley adopted details from farm wagons, carts and farming implements that were still in use in the Cotswolds.

I Can Do That: Victorian Side Table

Pattern routing makes quick and easy work of these urn-shaped sides.
By Megan Fitzpatrick
Pages: 30-31

From the December 2010 issue # 187
Buy this issue now

While vacuuming a few weeks back, I was thinking about what to build for this issue’s “I Can Do That” project when it hit me … actually, when I hit it with my vacuum. I’ve had a small Victorian table/bookshelf in my guest room for years, tucked away in a corner where I rarely see it. It’s suffered from a broken foot for as long as I’ve had it. I decided the time had come to fix the problem so that I could put the table where it belongs – next to my favorite reading chair.
Plan: Download the free SketchUp plan for this project.
Articles: All the “I Can Do That” articles are free online.
In our store: Online and DVD video instruction on woodworking basics.