Live-edge slabs have been fashionable options for bar tops, mantels, tabletops, shelving and all kinds of reducing boards for a few years now. If you possibly can think about a venture the place the rugged beauty of a chunk of wooden in its most pure kind may be interesting, don’t be afraid to show that notion into actuality for all kinds of residence decor!

Armrest table laid out on sofa arm

That’s precisely what we’ve executed right here with this couch armrest desk. It began out as a roughly 10″-wide x 30″-long slab of three/4″-thick walnut. You can discover comparable slabs at Rockler shops or many hardwood lumber distributors lately. The darkish brown heartwood, separated by stripes of walnut’s cream-coloured sapwood, can’t assist however name consideration to itself! And wrapping the slab across the armrest of a settee not solely makes it a dialog piece but in addition a brilliant useful place to park a espresso cup, your good machine, a bowl of snacks or the sport controller you’re utilizing in the meanwhile.

Front view of live edge walnut sofa table

You received’t want lots of energy instruments to construct this venture. It requires using a desk noticed or monitor noticed to make numerous cuts, Rockler’s Corner Key Doweling Jig to bolster the miter joints, a drill/driver and a random orbit sander. A tape measure, mixture sq., a number of F-fashion bar clamps and a way of reducing the dowels flush (we used an oscillating multitool, however a flush-minimize noticed will work advantageous, too) are about all you’ll want for hand instruments.

Cutting the Miter Joints

Sanding down a slab of walnut lumber
Once the highest and aspect panels have been miter-minimize to size, give their faces a radical sanding. Start with 80- or 100-grit to take away any machine marks, then proceed sanding as much as 180- and even 220-grit.

The couch proven right here has armrests which are about 6-half″ large. So, after crosscutting the ends of the slab sq., we discovered its heart level and drew a format line throughout it. Then we drew a pair of parallel format strains throughout the slab that every have been 4-3/4″ away from the middle line. Those established the highest corners of the desk’s prime panel; in the event you draw a 45-degree line again from these format strains on what can be the sting of the slab, the “bottom” size of this prime panel is 8″ — a simple match over many couch arms. But you’ll want to measure the armrest width of your couch and alter the size of the highest panel accordingly, if wanted.

It’s crucial that the slab be held securely when reducing the highest panel freed from the 2 aspect panels, and this turns into trickier in case your slab has very irregular edges. One approach to do it’s by setting the slab on a crosscut sled, aligning the sting of the sled with every of the reducing strains on the slab and miter-reducing them at 45 levels with the slab clamped to the sled. You might additionally tip a monitor noticed to 45 levels and align the sting of the monitor to comply with every reducing line, then minimize the highest panel free from the remainder of the slab that method. A miter noticed could possibly be another choice, however it’s going to solely work safely if each edges of the slab are flat and parallel so you possibly can set them towards the noticed fence for reducing.

You now have to miter-minimize the sides of the 2 aspect panels that have been abutting the highest panel to 45 levels. Line these cuts up fastidiously so all you’re doing is trimming off the mitered waste however not shortening the aspect panels within the course of. That method, when the desk is assembled, the slab’s grain sample will wrap across the armrest in a steady “waterfall” fashion.

With the miter cuts behind you, set the highest and aspect panels collectively to verify that the miter joints kind 90-degree corners. Now can also be a superb time to confirm that the size of the aspect panels will enable the desk to take a seat flat on the highest of the armrest with out being obstructed by the seat cushions. Shorten the bottoms of the aspect panels if they’re too lengthy on your couch. Then give the faces of the three panels a end-sanding as much as 180-grit or increased.

Assembling the Table

Using a jig to guide dowel hole cuts
Clamp a prime and aspect panel throughout the Corner Key Doweling Jig so you possibly can drill diagonal holes throughout the joint precisely for inserting 3/8″-diameter dowels. Let the bit and drill/driver do the work when boring these holes.

Rockler’s Corner Key Doweling Jig lets you drive dowels in three totally different diameters diagonally throughout miter joints. It reinforces them with a mechanical connection that makes the joints considerably stronger. The dowel ends present by means of the faces of the joints as ovals, which provides an ornamental element. We adopted Rockler’s directions to set our jig up for drilling 3/8″-diameter dowel holes right here. The jig lets you alter the place of the dowels throughout the joint, and we positioned them to be centered on the joint thickness.

Laying out cuts in panel for assembling table
The authors positioned the dowel holes so the darkish walnut dowels would land throughout the slab’s cream-coloured sapwood areas. They used two dowels per joint, however the quantity and areas of those dowels is as much as you.

Both members of a mitered nook are clamped collectively contained in the jig, so you possibly can drill every dowel gap utterly by means of the joint in a single cross. We positioned the dowels for our desk about 1-3/16″ in from the back and front edges of the joints, however you may find them wherever you want. Same goes for what number of dowels you select to insert within the joints. We assume two look good for this venture as a result of the walnut dowels we usedcontrast properly with the sunshine-coloured sapwood. But you need to use as many dowels as you want.

Filling dowel holes with glue for assembly
Assemble the joints by spreading glue alongside the mitered surfaces and into the dowel holes, then inserting a size of dowel into the primary gap till it extends past the other aspect a brief quantity.

When you drill the holes, don’t attempt to drill during directly. Drill partway, again the bit out to clear the accumulating chips after which drill some extra, letting the drill and bit do the work. Ease up in your hand stress on the drill when the tip of the bit begins to poke by means of the opposite aspect, to keep away from punching it by means of the joint face and probably tearing out the floor. The cleaner the exit holes are, the higher the dowel particulars will look!

Cutting dowels to length during assembly
Trim off every dowel so it’s longer than vital. Work comparatively rapidly to get each joints assembled and the dowel pins in place whereas the glue continues to be moist.

It’s time to spherical up a number of bar clamps so you possibly can assemble your desk! Since the dowels will maintain the joints collectively, that’s a fairly simple course of to do. We unfold glue alongside the mitered edges of 1 joint, set the highest panel and aspect panel collectively and inserted a size of dowel into one of many glued dowel holes.

Using bar clamps to assemble sofa table
Apply clamps throughout the 2 joints in each instructions to drag the seams tightly collectively. The dowels maintain the joints in alignment, which makes this clamping course of a lot simpler.

Leave the dowels overly lengthy for now so you possibly can proceed to put in dowels within the remaining gap or holes of the primary joint, then repeat the method for the second joint. Install clamps on the desk to drag the joints closed, and wipe off any glue squeeze-out earlier than it begins to treatment. Allow the joints to dry for not less than eight hours.

Finishing Up

Spraying table with poly topcoat
When the venture comes out of the clamps, minimize the protruding dowels flush and sand these areas clean. The authors utilized a coat of boiled linseed oil subsequent, earlier than prime-coating with aerosol satin polyurethane.

When the clamps come off, trim the ends of the dowels flush with the faces of the panels. Then give the dowel areas one other spherical of cautious sanding to clean them till you possibly can’t detect their ends by really feel from the encircling wooden.

Rubbing down finished table with steel wool
Rub down the flat surfaces and edges of the venture with 0000 metal wool when the primary coat of varnish is totally dry. It will take away mud nibs and different blemishes. Then apply a second coat of end.

Walnut with sapwood like that is too fairly to cowl with stain, so we determined to maintain the wooden’s shade as pure as doable. You can improve the colour and grain sample, nevertheless, by wiping on a liberal coat of boiled linseed oil. Wipe off the surplus utterly, and provides the oil not less than a full 24 hours to dry. Then topcoat with oil-primarily based polyurethane in a sheen you like — we used satin. The poly will give this venture a sturdy, waterproof floor. Rub out any imperfections, and apply a second coat. When that dries, it’s prepared to be used in your couch!

Click Here to Download the Drawing and Materials List.

See extra woodworking initiatives at makingmanzanita.com.



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