Danish Modern Coffee Table

For Revati


Form is supposed to follow function, but sometimes form has plans of its own. Rev’s desk has been repurposed.  Rev dutifully designed a danish modern desk (I know – ack),  and I got the thing mostly made when the flaws began to present themselves. Essentially the concept was an open box – where computers and books could be tucked away and all the clean surfaces could present themselves.  Since the majority of her work is done in semi-reclined positions – desks are more land claims than they are useful tools.   I wanted to dovetail the box – meaning that I need the grain running up and down on the sides – else the pins would be pretty weak.  I was nervous that an 18 inch wide piece of ash would split if it was only 5 or six inches long, so I rounded up an inch of two.  After enlarging the box to seven inches, the desk became unusable.  At the right height for writing there was no space for your legs and at the right height for your legs, you were left reaching for pen and paper.  I messed around with some potential changes – other than rev growing her torso and shrinking her legs – they are seemed like a lot of work.

Somewhere in the midst of some creative thinking – Donna really thought outside the box and suggested just chopping the thing off at coffee table.  Rather than computers and esoteric ph’d books – woodworking magazines and puzzle games are now stowed away.


The whole thing is finished in rock hard tabletop polyurethane – well prepared for spilled coffee and whiskey.


Check out the neat saw dust pattern.  Also, cutting these wide dovetails is a dream with the the twin-screw vice.

I cut a lot of dovetails – this thing is not coming apart.  Plus I need to keep up with all the dovetails Shawn and David are cutting.


I cut a rabbet to hold in the shelf.  First off – I used a knife and chisel to establish a wall.  I sawed the rabbet and then cleaned it up with a chisel an a touter plane.   All of this would be so much easier with a kerfing saw.



The original design had a nice curve. All that effort with the compass plan got the metaphorical axe when it became a coffee table.  A sweeping curve made sense for the desk but got lost in the design revision.


The through tenons not only hold the whole thing together but also contain a secret message.  — -. . – Some people get it right away others need a couple of hints.  As long as you are doing traditional techniques you might as well have historic messages.

So Rev lost a desk, but since this most of her work happens on the sofa, a coffee table may be the best desk of all.


Rev and the table are both hard at work – Ruffles is another matter.


2 thoughts on “Danish Modern Coffee Table

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