Nakashima Inspired Coffee Table

I recently used some of the wood that I milled back in the summer of 2018 to make a coffee table. The design of the table was inspired by a coffee table by George Nakashima.

Nakashima’s table is more beautiful – he was a true master! His was in walnut but mine is in maple.

I have a few thoughts on the process and product:

  • this project was hard, physical work but was actually rather simple in that 4 pieces of wood were being connected together to form a piece of furniture;
  • the hard work came from the width of the board. I don’t have power tools that can process a 20″ wide board, so I planed it by hand;
  • there were moments when I struggled with my preconception that I needed to have strict measurements to guide the build. It was deeply liberating to embrace the freedom of live-edge furniture making like this. I was able to make decisions and judgements based on how I feel about the scale, dimensions and shape;
  • I used no glue in the project. Joinery was entirely done with threaded brass inserts;
  • I finished the piece with 6 coats of boiled linseed oil;
  • The table’s primary utility, for now, is to host my 10 year old daughter’s lego building activities.

Here’s a close-up of the bridle joint:

Here, I finished some rough planing in the garage:

makin’ shavins

Here, a set of handplanes were used to make the surface smooth and flat:

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