Coffee table

The first serious carpentry project. Coffee table with 8 different types of wood arranged in a gradient herringbone style. Maple, alder, ash, oak, European cherry, walnut, Himalayan walnut, sapeli mahogany and wenge create an interesting composition.


  • 3 cm thick plywood with dimensions of 50 x 100 cm as the base of the table
  • 1.8 cm thick plywood for a shelf under the top
  • veneers, mine were of different thicknesses: 0.6, 0.8, and 1.2 mm
  • Vidaron stain rustic oak
  • clear varnish for kitchen worktops V33
  • 4 cm wide dark brown edge veneer
  • wood screws
  • beech dowel with a diameter of 10mm
  • Titebond Coldpress Veneer wood glue


  • plunge saw
  • wood router
  • eccentric sander
  • device for creating pocket holes
  • japanese pull saw
  • cutter knife
  • glue spreader roller
  • sandpaper with grades 100-600
  • 100 cm aluminum ruler
  • adhesive tape for painting
  • pencil


The first step before starting any work is to create a blueprint, determine all dimensions and plan material requirements. Coffee table will have 8 different types of wood on the top. Veneer stripes will be 10 cm wide and make a gradient. The base of the table is made of pine plywood with dimensions of 50×100 cm.


Second step was drawing a veneer pattern on the table base with a pencil to visualize herringbone effect. Then cutting out veneer strips with a cutter knife. The woods are quite hard, so the cuts should be made carefully to avoid fraying the edge of the wood. The strips should be cut at an angle of 90 degrees and placed with the top layer on the countertop. The whole thing should be taped to create one element. The glued layer of veneer was sanded with an orbital sander to obtain an even thickness. The top layer must be covered with a lot of veneer glue using a roller and put on the worktop.

The next step would be to use a hydraulic press to press the veneer evenly against the countertop. Unfortunately, not everyone has this magic device, so an alternative was to put a table top on the garage floor, cover with another table top and drive the car wheel to the center and wait for it to dry. Previously, of course, a similar test was made on a smaller piece of test wood and it turned out perfectly. Unfortunately, during the approach with the proper top, it turned out that I drove crookedly and when correcting I turned the steering wheel standing in place, which shifted the veneer and damaged the structure of the top layer a bit.

After quick repairs, it was possible to even out the veneer more or less while the glue was still drying. Unfortunately, the part was already cracked and was not perfectly symmetrical to the longer axis of the table top. A series of repairs had to be made to complete the missing veneer pieces.

In the larger gaps I cut pieces of veneer, and filled the smaller ones with a putty made of grinding dust and glue. Later sanding again to even out the surface. Due to the shifting of the veneer, it was necessary to trim the side edges to keep the pattern neat. Cutting the veneer produced some jagged edges that also needed to be repaired.

Oiling the wood. Definitely the most satisfying part of woodworking. The wood becomes more expressive and a beautiful, strong color comes out of it. After drying, 3 layers of clear varnish were applied to strengthen the table top and protect it against any physical damage. Unfortunately, the water-based varnish caused unevenness to appear on the wood due to too little glue, which had worn away when the veneer was previously moved. Glue was applied to these places using a syringe and a needle, and then the whole was pressed with clamps.

After drying I’ve rounded the corners of the table top using router with a previously made plywood template. The next step was making edge veneer. Using hot iron activates dried glue on inner side of edge veneer. The bottom layer of the table top has also been stained in the color of rustic oak.


A small shelf for small items, such as felt pads for cups, has been attached under the top. The elements were cut from 18mm thick beech plywood and upholstered with the same edge veneer as the table top. A hpocket holes were used to connect the boards and the table. The drill holes ere plugged with a beech peg and cut. Everything has been stained in the same color as the underside of the table top.


I’ve decided to buy pre-made wooden legs, round, tapered to the bottom, 50 cm high. I’ve sanded them and painted black, and then varnished with a clear varnish. Each leg was screwed to the table with 4 screws. Finally, the table received two more layers of reinforced varnish for kitchen worktops.

And the final coffee table. It wasn’t as easy as I thought but I’m quite satisfied with the result 🙂