How to Build Coffee Tables That Last a Lifetime



Every DIYer in the world has probably attempted a coffee table at one time in their life. Sometimes, this is known as the turning point in many DIYer careers. You may be wondering why I would say such a thing, but the answer is an obvious reason. If you can withstand the time, effort, frustration, and money that goes into creating a coffee table, you are indeed a king among the DIYers and deserve all the privileges that title has to offer. When I want to know how to build coffee tables for my home, I did a search on the Internet until I found a pattern that suited me.

You can find your pattern anyway you choose, but I suggest you do a search via the Internet. You can get a lot of those free patterns and sometimes, you can find inexpensive ones as well. I never pay for such patterns, but I have found a lot of them on the Internet. You can usually print them out and this is what I suggest. You may choose to run back and forth to and from your computer desk looking at what to do next, but it is a lot easier to have the instructions close by. In addition, it is nice to have a hard copy so that you can mark on the instructions as you continue your work.

The first thing you need to do is read those instructions thoroughly. There is really no use in continuing with those instructions if you can not do one of the steps. Believe me, if you do not know how to do a step, figuring it out in the middle of your project is probably not the best time to pick up that new technique. You can find simple instructions for how to build coffee tables if you look around. Do not take on a task that is beyond your own capabilities.

First, you should take notice of the materials needed for your coffee table. Do you know what the materials are? If you do, you can go to your local hardware store or home improvement center and purchase the materials needed to complete your own coffee tables.

1. Legs: I suggest 4 legs at about 14 inches in length. I like using a 2 by 2 for my use but you can use thicker if you take into account the other options.
2. Table Top: I am using one that is 2.5 feet by 4 feet and 2 inches thick for this example. You can use any type of wood, but remember that the better the quality, the better and longer life of your coffee table.
3. Coach Bolts: I suggest using 6-inch bolts with the additional wingnuts and washer necessary for added security and strength.
4. Wood Screws: I used 30 at 1.5 inches in length and 16 at 2.6 inches in length. These are important!
5. Corner Supports: I used 6 inch board cut at a 45 degree angle at both ends.
6. Top Rail: This is an important part of any coffee table. You should have two or these at about 39 inches long and 2 at 18 inches long.
7. Glue: Okay, this may seem silly but nothing is more handy than wood glue at this point. You should get a bottle or two for use when you are trying to build your own coffee table.

I suggest you get wood a little bit longer and cut it yourself with tools at home. This way you are getting the best quality at the best price and insuring that you are getting it done your way. You should already have proper cutting tools, hammers, screwdrivers, and power tools for this project. I hope that you will not find yourself stuck in the middle of the project going, "What do I do now?" Following these instructions will of course stop that from happening.

Now that you have all the wood and pieces together, you should get a piece of tarp or an old sheet. Place the top of your coffee table face down onto that sheet or tarp. This will add a layer of protection to the coffee top. You want to add the rails to the table top. Of course, you will add the smaller pieces to the smaller ends and the larger pieces to the longer ends. The ends should meet cattycorner but should barely touch. You should glue the fillets onto the inside of the edge between the rails and the table. Then, you should use wood screws to finish this step. Make sure that all ends are evenly spaced or you will have a cockeyed coffee table when you are finished.

Adding the corner supports is a simple step at this point. The angled pieces should fit perfectly into each corner of the coffee table. Then I chisel off a small piece of each leg to fit on the outside of the railings and facing the fillets. Use one of those coach bolts on each leg attaching it through to the corner supports. I like using lots of glue at every step so make sure not to skimp on the glue now. You will make your coffee table stronger if you have a lot of that glue.

Now all you have left to do is finish the top as you see fit. This how to build coffee tables guide is a simple example of how you can proceed with y our project. Of course, there is no right or wrong solution to this problem. I suggest you look around until you feel comfortable with the pattern you find. Thank you for reading this and good luck on your project!

Eugene's family has been in the carpentry industry for generations. During weekends when he has free time, he opens a small workshop in his garage for his local community where he specializes in folding dining room tables. Visit http://www.oftheearthfurniture.com to get Eugene's weekly tidbits on selecting and maintaining various styles and makes of solid wood tables.

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