How to Construct a Mission-Style Coffee Table
Building a Coffee Table
With the right materials, tools and instructions, building a table can be a pleasant weekend project that rewards your efforts with an enduring and beautiful piece of furniture upon completion. By ordering your table components from Osborne Wood Products all you have to make is the top. By supplying us with the dimensional information for your top we will cut the skirt boards with tenons to length for you. We will also mortise the legs to receive the tenons.
Having chosen a leg style and wood type, you will receive the following:
You will need to supply:
- 4 pre-mortised wood legs in your chosen style and wood type – the bolt for the corner brace is pre-installed as well
- 4 skirt boards with tenons – in the profile you have selected – pre-drilled for both securing to the leg as well as for securing the top
- 4 corner braces – pre-drilled for easy assembly
- All necessary screws, bolts and other metal hardware
Before assembling a table with screws, bolts and glue it is a good idea to perform a dry fit. This means that you will assemble the leg and skirt board frame to ensure that the pieces are meeting properly and the frame correctly accommodates your tabletop.
- Yellow wood glue
- A 2″ foam paint brush
- Painter’s 1″ masking tape
- Long wood clamp
- Tape measure
Having determined that the pieces fit correctly, the best way to proceed is to assemble the leg and skirt frames in two halves. It is usually easiest to assemble (complete with screws and glue) the two longer sides. After these have set up you can then combine the two halves by attaching the shorter skirt boards between.
A great trick used by professionals is to tape off the places surrounding the areas to be glued prior to gluing. By doing this you will avoid difficult sanding and cleanup that might result from oozing glue. If any glue should seep, it will clean up by removing the tape.
Have everything at hand that you will need before you begin gluing. Traditional yellow wood glue will give you about five minutes from the time you apply it until it has completely set.
Using a 2″ foam brush is probably the best and easiest way to apply the glue. You do not need to over-apply the glue. Even coating inside the mortise and around the tenon will suffice.
Having applied glue to the mortise and tenon, join the two pieces together. When you have completed attaching a leg to one end of your long apron board, then proceed to glue and attach the leg for the opposite end. With both legs in place, apply and tighten your long wood clamp. (Hint: use a thick cloth or another piece of wood between your clamp heads and the wood of your table legs in order to avoid marring your table legs).
With the clamps tightened in place you may now install the screws that secure the skirt board to the legs.
Repeat the previously described procedure for the other long side. After the mortise and tenon joints have dried and set you can proceed by joining the two long sides together using the two shorter skirt boards. This will be accomplished precisely the same way as the assembling of the skirt boards to the legs of the long side with the exception that the two long sides must be joined together with the two short skirt boards simultaneously rather than as two separate procedures.
Before installing the screws that attach the short skirt boards to the legs you should check the overall frame to ensure that it is perfectly square. You can best do this by taking the diagonal measurements of the legs: these measurements should be exactly the same. If the two numbers do not agree you need to make corrections prior to attaching the screws that attach the legs to the short skirt boards.
With the leg and skirt board assembly dimensionally true you will next attach the four corner braces at the inside corner of each of the four legs. You will install these by placing the bolt that is preinstalled in the table leg through the pre-bored hole that is in the center of the face of each corner brace. You may use the pocket holes found on the inside backs of the skirt boards as sight guides for centering the braces. When you are comfortable that you have centered the brace, take your wrench and tighten the nut that is supplied for that particular bolt. Having tightened the nut to the bolt, you may then further secure the corner brace to the skirt boards: two screws are used at either end of the corner brace – or a total of four screws per corner brace.
You have completed the assembly of the skirt boards and legs when all four corner braces have been installed. You would now center the frame to the underside of you tabletop and attach the two with the screws provided. Again, the table skirt boards have been pre-bored for your convenience. Your table is now ready for finishing.
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