Help! Maybe should have passed on this commission


I’m new to the makerspace and looking forward to getting more acquainted.

Have a question. I’m building a coffee table for a friend (but it’s a paying job, lol) and it’s just too big for my garage shop and I feel it’s also beyond my skill level at this point.

I had a thought this weekend and was wondering if this is something that has ever been done. My thought was to enlist a few other makers to help me put this thing together and either split the proceeds between the makers that help or donate the proceeds to the makerspace. I don’t want any of the proceeds if I can get this thing done for my friend.

Thanks in advance for any questions comments or concerns (there’s part of me that wonders if this ask is appropriate here, if not I’ll remove ASAP).


Can you give us an idea of what it’s supposed to look like, versus what it is now?

Thanks for your question. It’s mostly rough sawn 8/4 Ash right now. I planed a few boards of it down with my planer but was not happy with my results. When I get home I’ll post a pic of the end product.

It’s actually a Restoration Hardware design, it just wasn’t the right size for my friend. dimensions are 57" x 43" x 18.5"

How big is that one piece in the middle? And is that going to be solid wood, or a box? You have patterns or schematics you’ve been working off of?

That’s a big coffee table lol

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Yeah if you could provide schematics of the shape of that middle part, then it would help.
What issues were you having with the planed boards?

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Yeah, having connectivity issues with my home computer right now otherwise I would post the drawings I made in solidworks. I have a maker license for solidworks and it’s all browser based so I’m handcuffed at this time.

It’s not solid in the middle, a box.

I built a sled to run the long pieces through the planer with shims etc to counteract the twist etc of the boards but it just wasn’t working the way it should.

That thing is a 6 on a 1-10 scale of complexity. If you are just beginning, it is a 9+, and you will feel like that cat in the video going around where the coyote had it cornered on the porch. You know when it finally made it up the post ,you will feel like that. If you have seen video you will know.

The simple way would to be to use veneered plywood(quality) with a hard wood edge band. That could be knocked out in a day and look great(ready for finish).


He’s not wrong. I like to think that I know what I’m doing, at least a little, and that’s probably how I do it. Unless it was trying to learn a new technique or something, or I just wanted to challenge myself and was bored

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Not to be a debbie downer…

Go for it and see what happens. You can always just give him the table at cost or sell to someone else. Botton line is your skills will have increased at the end of the beat down.

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Most of us learn from our mistakes… so do not be afraid to fail. Let’s say you make it to 90% of your expectations, your friend may think its still fantastic.

Look around & where we are in this world. We wouldn’t be where we are without failure.


One last thing. There are several wood shop members like @Sandra_Hill or @Andy, and several others that would be happy to help you get through this. Just bring it up and start working on it. Speak with several members and you will find the support you desire. Who knows the Grand PooBah @IanLee (woodshop chair) might even swing by and share some pointers.

So bring it on up and get this project moving forward towards delivery.


Yeah! I’m up there all the time really and if I can help, I will. I’m the one with the brown skin wearing the tan apron all the time. :blush::blush: