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How To Build A Modern Live Edge Waterfall Coffee Table

How To Build A Modern Live Edge Waterfall Coffee Table

In this collaboration build between myself, Wood by Wright, and ZH Fabrications, we'll show you how to build this Modern Live Edge Waterfall Coffee Table. Featuring metal legs, hand forged handles, and a drawer with handcut dovetails, this piece turned out incredible!

Tools Used On Modern Live Edge Waterfall Coffee Table Build Part 1:

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Modern Live Edge Waterfall Coffee Table Build Process:

I started with this Butternut slab that I purchased from my local slab dealer, Asheville Hardware. The first step was to cut off the section that would make up the leg, then I ripped a straight line on one edge of the slab with my track saw.

To flatten the slab, I needed to remove the guard from my jointer since the slab was wider than the 8” capacity of my jointer. After running the pieces over the jointer to flatten one portion of the slab, I was left with a ridge and an unflattened area.

I attached the flattened section to a planer sled, which is just a piece of ¾” plywood, and then ran it through the planer to flatten the other side. Once that side was flattened, I removed the sled and then flattened the opposing face, removing the ridge that formed on the jointer. This process is great for flattening pieces wider than your jointer.

Next, it was time to cut the miters into the two pieces of the slab. The key here is to remove as little material as possible around this joint so that the grain pattern will flow over the edge.

Once the miters were cut, I needed to attach the two pieces of the slab. Since this build was done in a day, I needed whatever I used to be quick, so I went with my Domino XL. If you don’t have a Domino, you could also use splines, angle brackets, and all kinds of other methods to attach the miters. The Domino is extremely fast, easy, and strong. I was pretty excited when the joint came together perfectly.

After attaching the two pieces of the slab, I started shaping the live edge so the pieces flowed together. I used my HNT Gordon Spokeshave and then followed that up with a random orbit sander. I also removed any loose pieces from the live edge while I was at it.

Next, I needed to route a groove into the top of the slab to house the metal leg. The leg is made of 1” square tubing, so I needed to route a groove exactly 1” wide by 1” deep. I used a plunge router and a ¾” template bit to do this. The template bit left a little bit of excess wood, so James cleaned up the groove.

With the groove cut, we needed to remove a section so the legs could pass down through the top. James did this with a crosscut saw and a chisel. Hand tools make quick work of this.

Before gluing the pieces together, I trimmed the leg to its final length of 16”, and then it was time for the glue up. I added glue to the Dominos and to the inside faces of the joint, then clamped everything up and let it dry.

Once the joint dried, we drilled holes into the bottom of the groove to accept the bolts which attach the legs.

With the leg attached, I started cleaning everything up to prepare for finishing. First, I chamfered all of the edges with a block plane. Here, you can see how the grain flows over the edge of the miter joint, which is why this table is called a waterfall table. I also made sure to chamfer the bottom edges of the leg so it wouldn’t splinter out if dragged across a floor.

Next, I sanded up to 180 grit, removed the dust, then started applying finish. For the finish, I used General Finishes Arm-R-Seal, which really brings out the grain in a piece like this. I brushed it on with a foam brush, let it dry overnight, sanded with 400 grit, and then repeated the process.

After the finish dried, I attached the leg using two bolts that thread into threaded holes in the wall of the leg.

Next, I attached the hand forged drawer pulls, one of each face of the drawer. This drawer is accessible from either side of the coffee table.

With the hardware installed, the table was done! To see the other parts of the Modern Live Edge Waterfall Coffee Table build, check out the playlist below. In case you're wondering, the overall dimensions of the table are 48" x 11.5" x 16", with the drawer sized at 19" x 10" x 3". We are auctioning off this piece on eBay to help cover the costs of our trip together, and we're donating 10% of the proceeds to Habitat For Humanity. To bid, click here.

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