Kevin Rodel’s Tricks For a Limbert Inspired Coffee Table
Grids and cutouts define a practical piece
Synopsis: This coffee table was inspired by The Charles P. Limbert Co.’s Table 153, designed when the coffee table as a furniture form didn’t yet exist. Kevin Rodel took that classic table and reconfigured it for today’s home. The signature crisp-cornered square cutouts and gridwork for the end panels and shelf may look complicated, but Rodel’s tricks for assembly make it easy to get a perfect grain match without much fuss. Shaped corbels add another signature detail to the table.
The Charles P. Limbert Furniture Co. of Holland, Mich., a standout during the heyday of the Arts and Crafts movement at the start of the 20th century, may be long gone, but its designs have endured. So when a client requested an Arts and Crafts style coffee table several years ago, I knew just where to turn: Limbert’s Table 153, with its striking pattern of cutouts. When Limbert came up with his design, the coffee table as a furniture form didn’t yet exist, but I had no trouble adapting Table 153 to coffee-table dimensions.
Create the cutouts on the ends
After selecting and gluing up the boards for the tabletop and setting them aside, I start building the base. The end assemblies, with their signature cutouts, are first up. rather than chopping holes in a panel to make the cutouts, rip the panel apart, crosscut two of the strips, and glue it back together. This creates crisp, precise cutouts without a lot of fussy handwork. To account for the sawkerfs and for flattening and trimming the panel after re-gluing it, start with a blank that is about 3⁄4 in. wider and longer and at least 1⁄16 in. thicker than the finished dimensions.
Once you’ve laid out the cutouts on both panels, make the first ripcut 11⁄2 in. from the…
Get the Full-Size Plan
Printed and digital plans and a cutlist for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.