Last week we decided to completely take apart our old coffee table so that we could use the solid ash top to build our NEW coffee table prototype!
It went pretty well! We got all of our remaining lumber milled and cut down to size, then cut out some of the decorative designs we needed in certain pieces. After all that was completed we were ready to tackle our tasks for the next week - which included assembling our new coffee table prototype!
As much as we wanted to IMMEDIATELY assemble this baby as soon as Monday rolled around, we had to put the table on pause for a couple hours to fulfill some holiday charcuterie board orders! We didn't really spend much time intentionally marketing and selling our boards for the holidays because we were really busy writing checklists and developing our initial procedures after we got back from our Air Force training in October. BUT - a lot of our friends and family ended up ordering boards anyways! It was awesome!!
It was the perfect amount of orders where we didn't get distracted from the tasks we had scheduled for ourselves, but enough to get in some good practice with the rough procedures we had already written up. We got some solid reps in with our checklists for laser engraving, finishing, packaging, and shipping! It's always nice to QC what we've been working on over the last couple months.
It was also the perfect opportunity to start circulating our new flyers that we just made for all of our board boxes! Annnddd now that we have several people in possession of our boards, we figured it was time to get our serving board refinishing kits up on our website too! These few orders were the perfect "kick in the pants" that we needed to finalize EVERY LAST DETAIL for our boards!
OKAY. Finally. The boards were finished and out of the way. After that it was time to assemble our coffee table prototype!! It sounded pretty easy...we had all the parts cut out and sanded, so it should just be a quick assembly! Well....we had a few questions we needed to answer before we could start.
- Are we going to use mostly screws for joinery? dowels? dominoes? wood glue?
- What size chamfer should we use for the top and feet?
- What would be the easiest way to create our rounded edges on the legs and supports? Bandsaw and spindle sander?
It wasn't necessarily that any of these procedures were very difficult....it was just that we had SO many options! We needed to figure out which ones to go with for this prototype. Since it's a prototype, did we want to try the more difficult methods first and backtrack to a simpler method if necessary? Or did we want to start with the simplest method first and increase the difficulty level going forward if necessary?
We decided the second option would be best! We decided to use countersunk screws for the majority of our joinery and fill them in with dowels if visible. If at the end we determined that method to be insufficient, we would beef up the joinery on the tables going forward.
That's the whole point of a prototype! To experiment a little and learn what works and what doesn't!
And as for how we would create the rounded over feet...we decided to give the bandsaw/spindle sander combo a shot!
Unfortunately it didn't really work as well as we wanted it to. It took too long and wasn't very precise....it would be a nightmare to write a checklist for!
Our solution?? A massive 1.5" round over bit for our router!! Seriously....we were not expecting it to be THIS huge after seeing it online!! Just look how big it is compared to Davis' head!!
Let me tell you...this thing actually ended up working GREAT!! Of course we were very safe while using it and made sure to wear eye and ear protection, but this thing cut so SMOOTH! We were shocked. We took the square feet right over to the router and within a couple seconds we had perfectly smooth, rounded feet that were identical to each other and easily repeatable.
After we solved those few problems listed above, we assembled the table and put a few coats of finish on it.
Overall this build went VERY smoothly and we only had to make minimal changes to our original plans in Sketchup. We absolutely love the final look of it - it checks all of our boxes for design as well as ease of build and repeatability. As for stability, Davis and I both can LITERALLY stand and walk on top of it at the same time and it doesn't even move or wobble!
Now that we have a coffee table that we're satisfied with in terms of quality and style, we can start taking good pictures and knocking out lots of marketing for it! This prototyping process worked out great and we look forward to doing it for the rest of the products we plan to offer.
This post may contain affiliate links for products we used to create this project! If you’d like to check them out, we do get a small percentage of the sale and they are of no extra cost to you! It all goes towards supporting the content creation of Jennie and Davis. BUT – we do not take tool sponsorships and there were no tool endorsements. Just our honest opinions!