As promised, here are the photos and a write up on my daughter's coffee table:
Alison’s Coffee Table
My daughter decided to replace her Swedish factory coffee table with a rustic oak version constructed from a railway sleeper. Her web search revealed the amazing cost of this exercise and, being a canny Scot, she looked for a cheaper option. Kilgraney was rapidly traced as a source of project plans and materials. All that was left was the more difficult task of convincing me that I would like to make the table and also get the sleeper. As I was going to Wales the next week and returning to Scotland without a full car boot this was an obvious way of proceeding. She set no quality control issues and was very clear that defects in the final workmanship would be quite acceptable and add character – I had no problem with that!
I called into Kilgraney as planned and collected an 8 foot long, 10 inch by 5 inch French oak sleeper. This was cut into 3 equal length sections and fitted into the boot allowing for its easy removal in the event of a puncture!
Two of the sections were identified for the top and the other one was sawn in half to make the feet. A belt sander was used to remove the surfaces and to reveal the beauty of the wood. All the sections needed to be sawn square and the top two were made as close to the same length as possible.
Half inch deep rebates for the legs were cut out of the top sections after careful measuring and marking. This was carried out with a router fitted with a guide bush and using a slot cut in some thin mdf to ensure accuracy. I actually routed around the edge of the rebate and then used a chisel to remove most of the waste; the router was then used to level the bottom of the rebate. A coat of linseed oil was applied to all the visible surfaces and allowed to dry thoroughly.
This has been a very satisfying and not too challenging project – my daughter has achieved the table she wanted and I have made something of which I can be proud.
Best wishes, John.
Great to have a table that looks so fantastic, not to mention knowing that you've saved money in the process! On top of that, you've been left with a warm glow of satisfaction because you've built something remarkable yourself from scratch. Brilliant!