Coffee Table Hardwood Top Help

Hi all,

I’m creating a coffee table for my living room. The frame is extruded aluminium, but I would like to make the surfaces with hardwood. I’ve attached some CAD screenshots for context.

Dimensions are (LxWxH): 1118mm x 418mm x 24mm (44.01in x 16.45in x 0.94 in)

I’ve done a bit of reading/watching and it sounds like I need to do the following:

  • Get some hardwood planks
  • Use the planer to get the planks flat and to correct thickness
  • Use the jointer to get a straight edge
  • Use the table saw to rip the planks to correct width
  • Glue up and clamp planks keeping everything as straight as possible
  • Trim and square up length
  • Sand and finish

I’ve got a few questions:

  • Is my plan reasonable? Any key steps missing/overlooked?
  • Where is a good place in Wichita to source hardwood?
  • I’m certified in the woodshop, but haven’t used the equipment for some time. When is the best time to get a bit of help/guidance in the woodshop?



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When making the top oversize your holes in your retention clips and dont tighten screws tight allowing top to expand and float. Plan appears sound and doable perhaps we could use shop bot to surface.
I have seen a lot of hardwood planks and stuff ready to install on table top already joined on marketplace kinna pricey though

Check out Richard’s Woodshop in Kechi. Most of wood movement will happen on the 16.50 width. If your glue up is good it will be mostly flat. I would suggest biscuits every 6.00 or so.

Lots of choices. Check the wood Sources at the end of the Wiki Entry for the Woodshop.

You might consider a live edge top. So check out Rivercity Saw Mill.

I would be careful about what appears to be an inset top in the metal frame. Wood will move, even Kiln Dried, and you must allow for that.

You also have many choices of finish. See if there is a copy of Bob Flexners "Wood Finishes " in the library at the Wood Shop.

Last Joint 2 sides of your rough boards so you have straight edges and a square 90° Corner; before you thickness plane. If you are building a top that is 48 x 24 make your top 54 x 26 or similar. That woy you can cut to size on the table saw. and eliminate any snipe that may occur in milling operations.

Good Luck! Good woodworking and post pictures.

Those plans sound complete. You might also make use of the biscuit joiner. Maker Monday is usually a good time for a little extra help and guidance.

I’ll be there tonight and on the 27th.


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Thanks for all the tips and suggestions Everyone!

I was able to get all my materials in and get everything assembled. I still need to finish/stain and get some threaded inserts, but I’m very happy with the results.


  • Beech from Star Lumber’s Distribution Yard. This was a very new experience, but everyone was very helpful.
  • Extruded aluminium and hardware from 80/20

Design changes:

  • More clearance to allow for the wood to expand

Things I’d do different next time:

  • Spend more time on the glue up to keep everything flat. Had a lot of sanding …

Pictures below. Dog tax included.

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Great Looking finished project. Also some neat process pictures. You should consider teaching a class on this project.

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Awesome results. I would love to make something like this.