top of page

Shadow Box Coffee Table

Photo of the table and Mike

I made this shadow box coffee table with the help of my neighbor. He just retired from the U.S. Navy after more than 20 years of service and wanted to have a table for his living room where he can display his medals, the U.S. flag, and his sword.

The table is 40" long x 24" wide x 17" high and is made from red oak. The tempered glass insert is 32" long x 17" wide x 1/4" thick.

Photo of the table in the woods

If my neighbor knew that I took it out to the forest to photograph, he'd probably freak! It looks really nice in a natural setting behind our house.

The top of the table isn't fastened to the aprons. This makes it easy to remove the top to access what's inside.


Some alternatives that we considered before finally deciding on this choice included:

  • fastening the top and then using suction cups to remove the glass

  • attaching the top with a piano hinge

  • fastening the top and then using a device that could be inserted from the bottom of the table to lift the glass

Image of the bottom of the table top

We ended up choosing the simplest and most cost effective solution. The table top is held in place with strips of wood that butt up against the inside of the aprons.

Photo of applying glue to the wooden strips

To position the strips accurately, we used double-sided tape to attach them to the inside of the aprons. We didn't want the fit to be too tight, so we applied a couple layers of masking tape to give us some tolerance.  We left the strips just proud of the top edge of the apron so that they would be in contact with the table top when it was set on top.

We applied glue to the top of the strips and then set the table squarely on top, being sure to check for an even overhang around all four sides.

Photo of table top clamped to the wooden strips

Clamps were used to make sure the wooden strips were fully in contact with the bottom of the table top while the glue was drying.

It took a bit of effort to remove the table top the first time after glue-up because the wooden strips were still attached to the aprons with double-sided tape.

Once the tape was removed, the top fit perfectly.

bottom of page