Building a custom coffee table

Working late tonight, the nice thing about being video creators is that we have some pretty amazing work lights. After finishing the (mostly square) drawers for the drawer unit, I started on the coffee table which is the last piece of furniture for the tiny house.

I waited until the end to build this because I wanted to get the proportions just right to both fit the space but also to serve as storage, seating, eating, and computer workspace.

I’ll probably regret cannibalizing my three-quarter inch birch ply lay out table for the wood but just about anything is better than driving this time of year. Something I’m trying on this table that I haven’t done before is adding a pop-up top with a pneumatic lift that changes the table height 6 inches. It’s a cool idea that we may or may not end up using but it does mean that the less-supported base cabinet needs to be a lot stronger.

I took the time to dado all of the pieces which was a bit hard on my brain due to the subtractions required for the undersized plywood. The set up was a bit of a chore as well because nothing in my makeshift shop is cabinet-grade square or flat. Leftover cardboard from a box of Rice Chex made perfect spacers for my dado blades.

I decided to splurge and buy myself the cordless Makita track saw to replace the one I’ve been borrowing more and more often from my neighbor. The trick with these is to set the saw up perfectly before making the initial cut that slices off the sacrificial edge of the fence. It’s also important to have two guide rails so the saw cuts the last few inches cleanly as it rides onto the next rail. Finally, the rails need to be backed with wood when making that first cut. If you do all those things you can get a rail edge that you can trust so the saw blade will follow it perfectly when placed on a mark.


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