Parquet Coffee Table

I’m a confident person.  I don’t often admit to being scared or nervous about things and I don’t usually shy away from a challenge.  I first saw the plans for this parquet table top over a year ago and thought “Wow! That’s beautiful”  followed immediately by “Yikes!  All those angle cuts look terrifying.”  I was scared.  I didn’t want to invest time and money into a project that I wasn’t confident in completing to a level of precision that would allow me to proudly place the finished piece in my living room for all to see.

Fast forward 12+ months and several other successful builds.  Rogue Engineer posted plans for the Lybrook coffee table that featured a trestle design with an exposed tenon look.  It was the perfect base for that parquet top.  It was time to let go of fear and worry and give this project everything I’ve got.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

Once I finally talked myself into it, I was really excited to get started.  I had planned to use Pine for the parquet top until I saw the most stunning wood grain in a stack of Douglas Fir boards.  I’m a sucker for cool wood grain, so into the back of my pickup they went.

WoodGrain

How cool is this wood grain?! I couldn’t resist!

The first few hours of this project were spent cutting out the 32 triangles needed for the top.  Rogue Engineer’s plans called for 11″ lengths, but my 1×6’s were slightly smaller than 5.5″ wide so I sized them down slightly so that my 45º cuts would make a nice point at the top.  This also required me to size down the 1×4’s a bit to match up properly.  After the pieces were all cut, I used my corner cat sander to round off the edges of what would be the top facing side of each piece.

ParquetPieces

The hard part is over – all the angle cuts are finished.

The next step felt a lot like quilting.  It was fun to lay out all of the pieces and create the design of the parquet top.  The first 1×6 had a fairly uniform stripe to the wood grain while the other was more swirling. I alternated them to create a fun pattern and used wood glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails to secure them to 3/4″ plywood.

After both parquet squares were assembled, I used my Kreg jig to drill 3 pocket holes on each side of the squares.  I then cut 2×4’s to size for framing the squares and drilled 2 pocket holes on each end of the smaller 2×4 pieces and used 2 1/2″ pocket screws to finish assembling the top.

The next day I started working on the base.  After cutting all of the pieces for the top, I was much less intimidated by the angle cuts needed for the legs. Using Rogue Engineer’s Lybrook coffee table plans, I pre-cut all of the pieces to Jamison’s specifications with the exception of the 41″ piece to be used for the exposed tenon.  The parquet top is significantly longer than the Lybrook table top, so increased the length of that piece to 58.5″.  After cutting everything, I like to use my corner cat sander to round off all the sawn edges for a smoother finish before assembling the pieces.

I started assembling the legs by sandwiching two 4 5/8″ pieces between two 12 3/4″ pieces using 2 1/2″ wood screws. Pre-drilling pilot holes is highly recommended unless you use self tapping screws. I used a piece of scrap 2×4 to ensure I had a large enough opening to slide the tenon through later in the build.

Next, I marked my top and bottom leg pieces and attached them to the center piece using 2 1/2″ wood screws.  I assembled the base by securing the tenon to the legs then installed the bracing to the legs, all with 2 1/2″ wood screws. Then I finished by attaching the 1×4 feet to the bottom using glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails.

I filled all of the visible screw holes with stainable wood putty and then sanded everything down and stained it with a dark stain to match the existing cabinets and furniture in my house.

To finish, I put several coats of Rust-Oleum’s Gloss Ultimate Polyurethane on the table top only. I’m hoping it will stand up to my six year old and his toys. 🙂  Once I got it into my living room, I used four 2 1/2″ wood screws at each corner of the base to attach it to the table top.

Final Side View

I’m so glad that I faced my fear of angle cuts and completed this build.  It turned out better than I imagined and wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.  Will you give it a try?  I hope that if you’ve found a project that you’ve been afraid to take on that this post has given you a little inspiration to get started.

Happy building!

Final Overhead

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