Memorial Coffee Table

waiting for the glassI made this coffee table as a memorial for a friend, whose father was a veteran. The project was originally intended to be a simple flag display in his honor, but it ultimately became a glass-topped coffee table with the flag display built in.

The family wanted the coffee table to be reminiscent of the pieces Dick–a pretty handy man, himself–used to make and finish, so it had to have a few key elements: it had to be made of pine, it had to have a particular stain, and it had to have a glossy finish. Dick was a retired oil man, so I built this piece using wood from the crates my boilers get delivered in, which was my own addition to the memorial aspects of the coffee table.

The construction was all mortise and tennon with half laps in the supports under the flag display. The only fastners used were the clips that attached the top to the base; these allow for some movement of the wood over time. The back of the display was screwed to the cross supports and more screws were used to attach the back of the display to the case.

To finish the coffee table, I stained the entire piece and then applied some shellac. The shellac was to create an aged look, so it matched some other things around the room that he had made. I then finished the piece with a lacquer for that final, glossy look.

After ordering the glass, I delivered the table to my friend, Dick’s son, who put the flag into the display and brought the table to his father’s house.  It now resides in the living room–not the tv room, because they don’t want anyone spilling on it–and the family is very pleased with the finished piece. I hope Mr. Mac is, too.

the flag display drying     with the flag display back attached

cross bracing to support the flag case     getting some clear coat

the glue up     test fit for the bracing

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