(click on any image to enlarge)
The lines of this coffee table were definitely inspired by art deco design but the materials and construction methods I used in making it, set it apart from most furniture of that delightful period. The surfaces of high end deco furniture were usually veneered with rare and exotic materials such as macassar ebony, rosewood, lovely burls, or shark skin. My table is constructed entirely of solid woods, curly maple and African wenge with inlays of ebony and cocobolo.
One of my favorite features about this table are the legs or supports that hold up the top. I can’t say that these are entirely original in the history of furniture, but I don’t think I have seen any quite like them before. Each leg is made up of five laminations, two thicker pieces of curly maple and three thin pieces of wenge.
To make them I began by creating a set of patterns or templates that I could use for cutting out each lamination.
Here are some of the individual parts cut out, ready to have their edges rounded and then glued up to form a leg.
I tapered the curly maple pieces along their length so that each one of them is 1/8″ thinner at the top than at the bottom. This causes each leg to taper 1/4″ from bottom to top once all the pieces are glued together.
To join the legs firmly to the base I made a router jig to cut two mortises in the end of each leg into which I glued slip tenons.
Then, using the same jig and a plunge router I cut matching mortises in the table base. The double tenons in the end of each leg, perfectly match the mortises in the table base. Once these joints are glued together, there is no way the legs will ever come loose.
I cut an oval hole in the center of the top into which a 1/4″ piece of clear glass will be inserted. This will allow for a view of some of the sculptural elements in the base when looking at the table from above. The inlay that surrounds the opening is made of cocobolo.
This table has a nice dramatic form, lovely contrasting materials, and is built to last a long, long time.
To see more of my work, please visit my gallery page.
4 thoughts on “An Art Deco Inspired Coffee Table”
Cool web page!! Good discussions. Many thanks.
This is beautiful! How did you do the line detail on the top?
Thanks for your comment. In regards to your question, I first made a full size template for the shape of the top out of 1/2″ mdf using an ellipse jig for the router. After trimming the top to its exact size using this pattern, I then trimmed the pattern back 2 1/4″ all the way around. I centered this new pattern on the top and secured it to the top using double stick tape. I then installed a small diameter template bearing guide and a 1/16″ straight bit into the router. Bearing against the edge of the pattern, I cut a 1/16″ groove 2″ in from the edge of the top and inlaid the dark wood into the groove.