A Console Table for Two

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Another young person we’ve watched grow up recently got married, which called for something a little special.  Like other wedding presents we’ve made, we again asked the bride and groom’s families for a piece of timer from their respective homes, which could be incorporated into a new item.  Individual pasts merged into a shared future.

The console table (also known as a hall or entrance table) was based off a beautiful Pekovich design, though we changed the dimensions somewhat, and added a kumiko panel between the legs on each end.  Once again, the labour was divided between myself and my wife; I looked after the table, whilst she created the kumiko.  In retrospect, I think I got off easily.  With over 250 individually cut and shaped pieces Maja’s not too keen on repeating that particular exercise in a hurry.

The kumiko panels were made with a combination of Tasmanian Oak and Macrocarpa, sourced from the bride and groom’s family home’s respectively, and some Tasmanian Blackwood from our stock for contrast.

Apart from Maja’s first time making Koshi Kumiko (lattice framed), I had my first attempt at making sliding dovetails.  Whilst I used the router for both mortice and tenon, I think the next one will use hand cut mortices, which will allow me to better dial in a perfect fit.  None the less, they worked well enough to do their job.  As may be seen from the photos, the table top slides onto the bearer’s dovetailed top, then pinned with timber dowels to a spline which runs down the centre, holding the halves together.

When it came to finishing, we tried something a little different to my usual shellac and wax. Because it was a) out of our control maintenance wise, and b) will potentially see more scratching or drinks placed upon it, I thought something a little hardier would be a good idea. I mixed some oil based varnish with mineral turpentine to a 1:1 ratio, which was then wiped on with a rag. Because there is less varnish being deposited with each coat, it did take more coats, but was rewarded with no dribbles and not requiring any denibbing between coats. An unexpected bonus was that the final finish didn’t have the characteristic plasticky polyurethane feel. This I don’t really understand, unless it just never ended up with as much finish as a normal strength application with a brush would have delivered. Any thoughts on this would be welcomed.

All in all, I really enjoyed the build. With several non-square elements it took some thinking to get the order of operations correct so not as to paint myself into a corner. As usual the through joinery was a challenge, but oh so rewarding when it all came together.


May 2022


  1. Hi Lance, Another work of art! Just when I think it can’t get any better. My favorite feature is how the top seems to float off the frame.
    My thoughts on the finish. In the past I have also mixed terps and varnish to get the first coat to penetrate. Doing this on subsequent coats no doubt just allows the product to penetrate where the first coat had not. I am sure the table is now very effectively sealed deep into the wood as opposed to having the ‘plasticy’ finish sitting a few microns thick at the surface.

    Recently when I applied marine sealer to the climbing wall the instructions on the tin specifically mentioned that the first coat must not be thinned at all. The product went on well enough and soaked in well on the first coat but there was a significant layer build up and I don’t think you would like the finish. As long as it’s waterproof I guess. Keep doing what you are doing.

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