Coffee table

Hi Guys,

I’m just starting on a new project and i’m looking for a little advice along the way.

The plan is to make a coffee table for myself. It will be mainly made from birch ply with then a turned wooden legs.

I’ve very quickly drawn up the table top to give you the idea of what i’m going to make.

So the top will be made from 6 layers of 18mm Birch ply. The bottom layer will be solid, the next 4 layers will be hollow and the top will again be solid but with removable panels which will cover different storage or gadgets built in to the table. These will be for things like remote controls, magazines and a USB charging point. It may also end up with a Bluetooth speaker system built in as well. This is all to be decided.

What i need help with at the moment is how to cut the layers with the angle cut. I was thinking i would cut the top and bottom with a 60deg V bit and then the hollow layers i would cut as rails glued together to make the outer profile. This would be to save wood. I think i would need to do these as a two stage cut. Cutting the outside edge with the V bit and the inside edge with a straight bit.

For the top once its cut out i’ll flip it over and cut the area’s for the panels.

I’ve got the first week in January off work so i’ll try and make a start that week.

You could use a strait bit, the hand route the edges after. Will save some time since you could be working one while the machine does the other.

Less room for error also with flipping.

I did think about using the CNC to cut all the bits with a 1/8 or 1/4 straight bit and then putting the angle on using the router table, however i didn’t know how i could follow the edge whilst using a angled bit.

Hi Phil,

Yeah i’ve already got a few downcut cuts for doing plywood, it does give a better cut.

I think i will end up doing a two stage cut on the x carve. The base and top will be cut in one go just using the V bit for the outside profile. The middle sections i think i’ll make as two end sections and two sides, if i cut what would be the outside edge first using the V bit then stop changed to the down cut and cut what will become the inside edges. Then a massive glue up.

I still need to decide on my final dimensions and the angle of the sides.

I would not use the CNC for that angled cut. Do all the inside cuts to hollow it out, then cut the outside angle on a band saw.

If you were to do it by hand, you use a bit with a guide bearing.

You are choosing a project, that on the surface looks easy, but when thinking through everything related to execution, gets tough. 6 layers of ply gives a top that is 4.5 inches thick. When beveled, the edge surface will be 6.25 inches. This puts the cut out of the reach of most power equipment that a hobbiest typically has.

Trying to pre-shape the edges on that many layers sounds very difficult, as any deviation in any of the pieces will cause a deformity in the edge. Except for the corners, if you laminated 2 halves, then bevel each half on a tablesaw would be an option. A band saw would take care of the corners, or the entire beveling, but depending on how large the top is, may be difficult to perform as the workpiece will try sliding downhill on the table and get off line very easily.

Cutting the pieces slightly oversize, laminating them, and then using a very sharp hand plane to bring the edge into shape may be the easiest option. A belt sander could also be used with much more noise and dust.

Regardless, the project sounds very interesting. I hope you will post pictures as you work through the construction.