My wife had been after me to build her a new end table for some time. Most of my work ends up being sold to clients or given away to friends, so I figured it was time to make her happy. I saw this table in Popular Woodworking and decided to go with it. However, I'm not a totally "to plan" kind of guy, so I played with the materials.
Rather than the traditional quarter sawn white oak, I decided to branch out. I visited Johnson's Workbench and decided to let the material speak to me. I found a very nice plank of wormy mahogany, which sounds like an odd choice, but for some reason it called to me. I used this for the legs after carefully sawing to ensure proper grain orientation for the square legs.
Drawbored through tenons. The ends of the tenons were beveled at 45 degrees with a block plane
With such a simple design, I knew that the top had to really pop to provide a very strong focal point. After wandering around Johnson's, I found a small piece of curly beech. It was only 3/4" thick and provided just enough material to glue into my top. I, of course, jumped. The top was rough cut with a bowsaw and smoothed to final shape with a spokeshave. I also used the spokeshave to bevel the bottom edge of the top. Beech was also used for the stretchers.
The table top, finished with boiled linseed oil and amber shellac
Once assembled, I ragged on two coats of boiled linseed oil, then three coats of amber shellac. After the shellac, I rubbed out the finish with some Bri-Wax to soften it. The wood of the top has a silky, tactile feel to it that really makes this table a pleasure to use, with a coaster of course. It has a soft sheen that looks very nice in the light. My wife was delighted with the table and I was quite happy with my choice of materials. I hope this inspires some of you to try non-traditional wood combinations in your next project.