Limbert-Style Coffee Table Project Plan
Learn to cut perfect ellipses and tight bridle joints
Synopsis: An elliptical top, arched legs, and decorative piercings add grace and beauty to this Craftsman-style table modeled after a library table by Charles Limbert. This scaled-down version preserves the original’s overall proportions, as well as elliptical top and shelf, gently curved legs, and decorative piercings in the stretchers. Bridle joints hold the legs and aprons together, and a notched bridle joint is used where the stretchers intersect. The legs and shelf are notched where they meet, and slip tenons join the stretchers to the legs.
There are many well-known designers of Arts and Crafts furniture, like the Stickleys and the Greenes. But a lesser-known designer, Charles Limbert, has always held a special appeal for me. I’m especially fond of his oval library table. That’s why I jumped at the chance to design and make a scaled-down version, to be used as a coffee table.
I’ve preserved the elliptical top and shelf, the gently curved legs, the decorative piercings in the stretchers, and Limbert’s choice of wood—quartersawn white oak. I kept the overall proportions as well, so the parts come together just as harmoniously as they do in the original table.
A variety of joints are used. Bridle joints hold the legs and aprons together, and a half-lap joint is used where the stretchers and aprons intersect. The legs and shelf are notched where they meet, and slip tenons join the stretchers to the legs. Some of those joints can be tricky, but I’ll show you some techniques to help you get flawless results. I’ll also show you how to draw an accurate ellipse to take the mystery out of the top and shelf.
Pattern-rout the top and shelf
Begin by gluing up panels for the top and shelf and milling all…
Get the Full-Size Plan
Digital plans, a cutlist, and a SketchUp drawing for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.