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Thread: My first project - Coffee table

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Larry took the words right out my mouth. I am a rookie too and if i could stain poplar and get that great finish i would be incredibly happy.
    Please share what you did Shawn.

    Great work beats Ikea any day of the week.

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    It looks great - I started with a coffee table, which I wish looked as good as yours.

    If those are truly breadboard ends, and the pegs in the ends are in oval holes, that is doubly amazing for a first project. Hopefully you attached the aprons to the breadboard end, so the grain is going in the same direction.

    I am concerned about the wood movement across the grain - I saw pictures on another forum a few years ago, where the cross braces, glued and screwed to the bottom of a table, tore the table apart as the wood shrank. It didn't have breadboard ends, but those will keep the ends of the boards aligned and pretty, but will not keep them from expanding and shrinking. Rule of thumb - count on at least 1/8 inch expansion and contraction in each foot of cross grain, and close to no change in the long grain. No amount of finish or glue will prevent that wood movement.

    Sorry to be such a wet blanket on your first project. It looks great.

    Now add a drawer!
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Very nicely done, Shawn!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI
    Well done!
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Nicely done, especially for a first table.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    That is a nice table. It will lead to many more pieces "That are better than Ikea." Enjoy the trip.


    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  7. #17
    Shawn it turned out real well , the braceing underneath will do nicely in time too ................MB
    Usually Busier than a Cat In A sand Box : Arkansas Red Wolf & Razorbacks Fan

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Great start Shawn. Nice clean lines.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #19
    Thanks for the comments guys, and Bro. It's a great feeling to have turned a pile of lumber into something that we use every day.

    I didn't know staining poplar was difficult until you guys mentioned it and I googled it, guess I got lucky. I don't know if I did anything out of the ordinary, but I'll tell you what I did. Once the table was put together, I took my detail sander with 150 grit (?) and ran it over the whole table to take off any imperfections. Then I put the stain on using a foam brush, and wiped it off after a few minutes with the disposable shop towels (blue paper towels from HD). I continued to wipe it off over the next few hours a couple more times to get most of the residue off. then I applied the polyurethane, sanded with 220 grit and added a second coat of poly.

    Charlie - Thanks for the info, wet blanket . I would have never thought of the expansion of the wood, it will come in useful in the future.
    So mote it be. - Masonic regalia and supply
    Save 10% with the code: BROTHER

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