The coffee table is most often the furniture piece which sits at the very heart of spaces such as the living room, outdoor lounge or pretty much any sitting area no matter the size or style. In these conditions, the coffee table is a focal point for that space and takes on a very special role. It’s often the piece which ties together the whole decor around it. There are, naturally, lots of possible designs and looks for such an element so we’ve prepared a set of inspiring coffee table plans which you might find useful if you’re ever interested in building your own furniture.
More than a decade ago I spent 2 weeks in Maine aspiring to learn furniture making. On my return home I started enthusiastically planning to turn my basement into a proper shop – with all the “essential” tools I had learned to use. My list reflected my engineer’s preference for buying quality and quickly exceeded $25k in power tools alone (table saw, band saw, joiner, thickness planer, drill press…) even before solving the power, lighting and dust challenges.

Basic kitchen design, construction joints, cabinetry terms, standard cabinet sizes and wood joinery are usually introduced in this course. Students may also learn about hardwood and softwood cabinet types, sheet materials, fasteners and power tool operations. Different sizes and types of cabinets, such as upper and base cabinets, are generally covered, and students may participate in a hands-on project building cabinets or counter tops. Because of this course's specialized nature, it may be taken as an elective or at the end of a program.
To best engage with designers and architects, Northwest Hardwoods has expanded its social media reach to include Instagram and Pinterest. Both channels are visually based and aspirational, which will allow Northwest Hardwoods to showcase not only its many types of wood grades and species, but also the beautiful and varied applications for these woods – from cabinets to decking to furniture.
My $0.02 worth. I agree with the thickness planer [mine is 10″] but anything over a 6″ jointer is expensive and space-consuming, so use hand planes as in your later blog. I inherited an 8″ table saw that my dad and I used to build a 12′ outboard boat back in 1955. I’ve used it for ripping, but I’m having second thoughts because of safety issues. Some have suggested a band saw for ripping, which is quieter and safer to use. I gave my router away [and hope to get rid of my Freud biscuit joiner and 6″ jointer]. A quality eggbeater drill works every bit [pun not intended] as well as a power drill, and they cost less. A coping saw and a jewelers saw negate the need for a jigsaw unless you are into making puzzles. Chris Schwarz has a video short on one of the Highland Woodworker series showing how to joint the edge of a board with a plane and a simple jig on the workbench surface. Another reason to bypass the jointer.
The Amish here in Ohio use a nifty wooden rule for calculating bd. ft. It has a brass football shaped hook on the end and they’re about 2′ long. Three columns of numbers run down the length of stick. These columns are the length of stock say, 12,14,16 foot. Within these columns, bd. ft. has already been calculated and marked. For a 16′ bd. the hook is placed over one edge and a reading of bd. ft. is taken from opposite edge from the 16′ column. “Audels Carpenters and Builders Guide #1” pg. 146, shows a good example. They call… Read more »
All graduates keep access to their accounts on the Ashworth EDGE, an online toolkit that provides step-by-step guidance through resume templates, cover letters, thank you letters, and more. As a student, you will interact with the Ashworth EDGE throughout your lessons to make you comfortable with the tools and prepare you to make a good impression on potential employers once you've graduated!

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For someone just beginning to purchase hardwood lumber, lumber grades can be overwhelming. Most lumber companies use the generally accepted grading rules set by the National Hardwood Lumber Association. Grades are based on the amount of usable clear material in a board. The highest grade boards are FAS and Select, followed by #1 Common and #2 Common. What grade you choose depends on your project. Some projects, such as tabletops and high quality furniture, may dictate the highest grade available. Many other projects are just as easily adapted to #1 Common (often referred to as cabinet grade) – kitchen cabinet doors, smaller projects and items where some character is acceptable.
In addition to the type of finish you want, the location of the final installation should be considered when choosing a hardwood species. While it won't have as much bearing on furniture pieces to be used indoors, you may want to consider some more moisture-resistant species (such as cypress or the ever-increasingly endangered teak) for outdoor projects. Again, your local woodworking supplier will be able to help with this decision if you are unsure about what species might work well for your particular application and climate.
Not all species are available in quarter sawn form from all dealers, but it can be possible to cut parts from wider boards to accomplish the same end. At the lumberyard I will often look for wider planks for this very reason. When a wide board is cut from the log it will have some vertical grain on the outer edges and some face grain in the center of the board. By purchasing enough stock and carefully laying out the parts it would be possible to use quarter sawn material for all visible parts. Decisions like this must often be made at the lumberyard based on the stock on hand. It is a way to stretch your material budget a little further, by buying a lower grade and resawing it for appearance back in the shop.
Afrormosia Alder Andiroba Anigre Ash Apple Aspen Avodire Balsa Beech Bilinga Birch African Blackwood Australian Blackwood Boxwood Bubinga Camphor Cedrela Cherry Chestnut Cocobolo Cumaru Ebony Elm Eucalyptus Hazel Hickory Hornbeam Idigbo Imbuia Ipê Iroko Jarra Jelutong Lignum vitae Linden (lime, basswood) Merbau Mahogany (American, African) Maple Meranti Oak Padauk Pear Plum Poplar Purpleheart Ovankol Ramin Red Quebracho Rosewood Rubberwood Sapele Teak Totara Utile Walnut Wenge Willow Zebrano
The sequence in which boards are cut from a log will determine how stable the boards will be once they dry. As a board loses moisture it will shrink in three dimensions. The change in length is so small as to be considered insignificant and the change in radial movement is always less than the tangential movement. This is most significant as the wood dries between the time it's cut (i.e. green wood), and the point where it is kiln dried or air dried and ready for use. Wood that shrinks excessively, or that has been dried improperly, will often develop checks at the ends. When shopping for lumber, carefully inspect the ends for any checking, or for excessively long checks. It is best to allow for some scrap at the end of each board, just in case. As you trim the end, hit the off-cut across the edge of your bench, and if it breaks in two, you'll have to cut off a little more.

I've found that it is easiest to attach the shelf by attaching the 2×2 side rails prior to connecting it to the table. To do this you'll sort of take a minor step back by removing the two lower 2×2 side rails (only 8 screws). Then drill the shelf to the 2×2's as shown below. Lift the shelf into place and attach each end of the shelf to the lower end rails using 2 1/2″ Kreg Screws. Once that is secure flip the table right side up and add the cross supports.
The Wood Handbook seeks to familiarize students with wood as it is used in engineering and other industries through a PDF format. It covers topics in woodworking, such as the characteristics, availability, structure, function, stress, moisture relation and physical properties of wood. It also looks at fastenings, structural analysis, adhesives, bonds, finishing, drying, sterilization and fire safety methods. The 20-chapter book uses pictures, diagrams, graphs and tables to display various kinds of content for learners.
A successful joiner can see the full picture of the project he is preparing to run and for SCM woodworking machinery come to his aid with devices made especially for woodworking machinery; devices that allow to not having to perform the mathematical calculations necessary to make a precise angular cut on a circular saw (with our compex for example) or a template that can produce pieces that are exactly identical among them (on our lathe minimax t 124).
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