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Meja Kopi Eclipse



Designed by Steffanie Dotson

Custom-designed for the midcentury decor of a chocolat café, this table repris-
es some of the best characteristics of that era’s furnishings. It’s pared-down,
practical, and elegant, providing the essence of what a table should be and
looking great doing it. To suit its home in a retail space, the piece is sturdy and
lightweight. It’s also surprisingly easy to build. As shown, the table was created
with plywood that has walnut veneer on the top (outside) faces and maple on
the back (inside) faces. Solid-wood edging in matching species covers the ply-
wood edges for a nicely finished midcentury look.

•One 5 × 5-foot or 4 × 8-foot sheet ³⁄4″ hardwood plywood
•Wood glue
•20 (or more) coarse-thread pocket screws (see step 2)
•One 62″ length ³⁄4″ × ³⁄4″ solid-wood stock
•One 70″ length ¹⁄4″ × ³⁄4″ solid-wood stock
•1¹⁄4″ #8 wood screws
•Wood plugs (optional; see step 4)
•Three 48″ lengths ¹⁄2″ × ³⁄4″ solid-wood stock
•Finish materials (as desired)

•Circular saw with straightedge guide
•Pocket screw jig (if available)
•Miter saw or miter box and backsaw
•Masking tape
•Card scraper
•Sandpaper (up to 220 grit)
•Flush-cutting handsaw
•Drill with #8 combination pilot-countersink bit
•Router with ¹⁄4″ roundover bit

Note: This construction works best if the ³⁄4″ face of the solid-wood stock is slightly larger than the thickness of plywood.

1. Cut the legs, ends, and apron parts.

Following the plan drawings, cut the legs, ends, and apron pieces
from ³⁄4″ plywood, using a circular saw with a straightedge guide to
ensure clean, straight cuts.

Cut the four legs at 15¹⁄4″ tall, tapering the width from 7″ at the top
to 3″ at the bottom. The grain of the face veneers should run verti-
cally (top to bottom). When laying out the cuts, be mindful of the
orientation each leg will have when installed.

Cut two end panels at 15¹⁄4″ tall and 17″ wide, with the grain run-
ning vertically.

Cut two long apron sides at 3″ wide and 32¹⁄2″ long and two short
apron sides at 3″ wide and 17″ long. The apron is more or less
hidden by the table’s top, legs, and ends, so it’s best to use the
panel’s factory edges for the other parts.

2. Assemble the apron.

The best way to join the four apron pieces is with glue and pocket
screws. If you don’t have a setup for pocket screws, you can simply
glue and nail or screw the pieces together; these joints won’t show,
so they don’t have to look pretty. However, the frame must be
square and flat, so clamp and fasten carefully, making sure the
assembly lies flat before letting the glue set.

Assemble the long and short apron sides as shown in the plan on
above. The outside dimensions of the frame should measure 17″ ×

3. Add the solid-wood edging.

The two end panels get ³⁄4″ × ³⁄4″ solid-wood strips on both side
edges. The four legs get a ¹⁄4″ × ³⁄4″ strip along the inside (angled)
edge of each piece. Cut the strips for the end panels to length at
15¹⁄4″, using a miter saw or a miter box and backsaw. Cut the strips
for the legs at 17″ long.

As noted at the beginning of this project, it’s best if the edging
strips are slightly wider than the plywood’s thickness. This allows
you to apply the edging so it overhangs the faces of the plywood on
both sides; you can then scrape or sand the edging flush to the

Glue the edging to the sides of the end panels, and clamp the edg-
ing in place, making sure it is centered on the panel edges. Glue the
thin strips to the legs, using masking tape to secure it while the
glue sets. The ends of the strips should extend beyond the top and
bottom edges of the legs by about ¹⁄8″.

After the glue has dried, remove the clamps and tape and use a
card scraper to shave the wood edging flush with the plywood
faces. Alternatively, you can sand them flush, but be very careful
not to sand through the face veneer of the plywood. On the legs,
trim the ends of the edging flush with the top and bottom edges of
the plywood, using a flush-cutting handsaw.

4. Join the legs and end panels.

Fit each end panel over the back edges of a leg pair and clamp the
parts so their top edges are flush and the end panel’s side edges
are flush with the outside faces of the legs. Drill counter-bored pilot
holes for screws (these will go through the end panel and into the
back edges of the legs). Join the pieces with glue and wood screws,
and let the glue dry.

To hide the screw heads, fill the holes with matching wood plugs,
glued into place. After the glue dries, saw and/or sand the plugs
flush to the surface.

Note: If you’re so equipped, you can use biscuits for these joints instead
of screws, for completely hidden fasteners.

5. Complete the base assembly.

The leg-end assemblies fit over the ends of the apron frame so the
end panels are perpendicular to the apron and all parts are flush at
the top. Test-fit the parts and clamp the assembly, making sure the
base is square and the top face of the apron frame is level when the
base is standing upright. Drill pilot holes for pocket screws on the
insides of the base, or drill holes for wood screws that will be driv-
en through the outsides of the legs and ends and into the apron
pieces; counterbore these holes for wood plugs, as before.

Assemble the base with glue and screws, and let the glue dry. If
you’re using conventional screws, fill the screw holes with

matching wood plugs, glued into place. After the glue dries, saw
and/or sand the plugs flush to the surface.

6. Cut and prepare the tabletop.

Cut the tabletop to size at 21″ × 45″, with the face grain running
parallel to the short dimension, using a circular saw and straight-
edge guide.

Cut two ¹⁄2″ × ³⁄4″ solid-wood strips to length at 21″. Glue and
clamp these edge strips to the short edges of the tabletop, as be-
fore. After the glue dries, scrape or sand the edging flush.

Cut two more strips to span the long sides of the tabletop and
cover the ends of the short-side strips (they should be about 46¹⁄2″
long). Glue these in place, then scrape or sand the edging flush.

7. Install the tabletop.
Center the tabletop over the base. Clamp the tabletop in place and
drill countersunk pilot holes for eight wood screws, drilling
through the apron and into the top; drill two holes on each end,
and two on each side of the apron. Fasten the apron to the table-
top with 1¹⁄4″ wood screws, being careful not to penetrate the top
face of the tabletop.

Round over the top edge corners of the tabletop, using a router and
¹⁄4″ roundover bit; test the bit depth on some scrap first.

8. Finish the table.

Lightly sand all parts of the table with 220-grit sandpaper, sanding
with the grain. On solid wood areas, where machine marks are vis-
ible, sand with progressively finer papers, starting with 80 grit and
working up to 220 grit. Be careful not to sand the plywood face ve-
neers with coarse papers.

After sanding, wipe the table down with a clean rag. Wipe once
again with a clean, white rag dampened with plain white vinegar.
Let the surfaces dry. Apply the finish of your choice. The table
shown here was clear-coated with shellac.

Shop Tip
Glue Joints

For the best glue joints, be sure that the mating edges of your plywood and
solid stock are perfectly flat. Hold a straightedge along the edges and look
for areas where light shines through underneath it. If you see daylight, true
up the edge by taking off thin shavings with a hand plane or block plane. Re-
peat as needed until there’s no daylight visible under the straightedge.


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