The coffee table…this is where it all started. If you haven’t stopped by my about page yet, I go into a little more detail there about why I decided to build this table in the first place. If you’re interested, take a gander over there for a minute to get more of the back story. If you’re ready to read the super cursory rendition of how the whole project went down…keep scrolling…
I’m not sure what got into me that thought it was a good idea to attempt a coffee table as my first project…but everything was alright in the end. I’ll be straight up with you though… I barely had enough tools to do this project and no place to do it…if you think I’m kidding…no. This is my work bench:
My place for storing cut wood:
And I borrowed a saw from my husbands parents…needless to say, I had to get creative with things.
So, if you are newbies and don’t have any of the “right things” for building, I say you can totally find a way to do it! Just takes a little finagling 🙂
The original instructions can be found on Ana White’s website here: http://www.ana-white.com/2012/07/plans/rustic-x-coffee-table
I did alter the design slightly to fit the look I was going for a little better, so I’ll go through those changes now! My apologies ahead of time, I have a limited number of pictures from this project because I hadn’t decided to write up the process until after the whole thing was done.
The original design by Ana White was a little “chunkier” than what I was looking for. To get the less-chunky/still-farmhouse look, I decided to change up the wood sizing a little. Rather than 2 x 4s and 2 x 6s, I used mostly 1 x 2s and 1 x 6s. The 1 inch thickness rather than 2 inches made quite a difference in the overall look of the table. That said, I still did use 2 x 4s for the legs since they’re supporting the whole thing. Step-by-step, the whole project looked like this:
Step 1. Re-Dimension
I decided to alter the dimensions of the wood I was using, but forgot to re-calculate the total amount of wood need and ended up back at the store a couple times to get the rest of the wood…oops.
After re-calculations, this is what you’ll need:
1 | 2×4 – 8ft
1 | 2×2 – 8ft
2 | 1×2 – 8ft
1 | 1×4 – 8ft
1 | 1×12 – 8ft
4 | 2×4 @ 16 ½” (legs)
2 | 2×2 @ 41″ (side trim)
4 | 1×4 @ 22 ½” (end trim)
2| 1 x 12 @ 41″ (bottom shelf)
These cuts account for most of the table. However, I added extra braces in a few spots since I was using 1″ boards rather than the 2″ boards from the original plans. I explain those cuts a little later on in this post. Thanks for bearing with me…
Step 2. Framework
Begin by forming the frame of the table. I started with the bottom framing and then attached the top pieces.
Use a kreg jig to pre-drill the pocket holes for the screws.
Bottom Framing: Attach 2 x2s to the legs for the length of the table and 1 x 4s to the legs for the width of the table. Attach from the bottom of the table so the screws won’t be visible once the table is finished. I didn’t think ahead on this part and attached the framing at the top of the boards. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it made for some extra work using wood plugs and sanding to cover up the holes. No one will ever know if the boards are attached from the bottom and you won’t have to take the time to plug the holes.
Top Framing: Attach 1 x 2s for both the length and width of the table. Remember to attach them from the inside of the frame so the screws won’t be visible once the table is finished.
Note: since I decided to use 1 x2s instead of 2x2s for my top framing, I added an extra center brace to help support the table top. You can see the extra brace in the picture for step 3.
Step 3. Bottom Table
This piece of the table was a learning experience and I think I would do it differently if I tried again. I had a really hard time getting the 1 x 12s to fit into the frame. Part of the problem was that I had not inspected the wood for warping carefully, so my boards were just uneven enough to cause trouble. Make certain you have flat, straight wood to work with…that will save you tons of time. The other part of the problem is that my saw wasn’t quite big enough to cut the whole 12 inch board. I had to cut from one side and then flip it over and cut from the other side and just hope I aimed well enough that the two cuts matched perfectly … they were close, but it just wasn’t as clean as a larger saw would have done. If it’s available to you, use the correct size saw. I was in the weird situation that we had just gotten married and moved and couldn’t afford a big saw, so I was borrowing the parents’. It ended up working, but this was the most frustrating part of the project.
Once you get your 1x12s into place, clamp them against the frame of your table and screw them into the frame on the bottom side.
Step 4. Aesthetics
As shown in the tutorial from Ana White, there are some super cool crisscross decorations on the ends of the table. I had to do these a little differently since my borrowed saw didn’t cut steep enough angles. Rather than form the crisscross from 3 pieces, I just stacked two 1 x 2s on top of each other.
How I did it:
Hold the 1 x 2 up to the end of the table in its desired position and trace the angles needed at the top and bottom to match the existing frame. Cut at the traced angle.
Attach the 1 x 2 from the bottom of your 1×4 framing on both the top and bottom frame. Stack the second 1×2 next to the first and attach the same way. Repeat for the other end of the table.
Step 5. Top Table
Attach five 1 x 6s to each other using a kreg jig and screws to form the top of your table. I attached each board to the next in three different spots along the back of the board. Once all the boards aligned and attached, you’ll have something like this:
Step 6. Stain & Assemble
I chose to stain the table in separate pieces to cut down on the number of corners to stain. First, stain the table framing. Next, attach the top of your table. Since the top is made from five separate pieces of wood, I attached it in multiple places to ensure the boards wouldn’t tear apart from each other over time.
Once your table is assembled, stain the top and bottom shelves. If you’re interested, I used Miniwax Espresso for a pretty dark finish.
Step 7. Polyurethane
After assembling the whole table, I added a few coats of Miniwax Polyurethane to protect the wood against spills and such.
There you have it! May you enjoy all the coffee at your new table.
I promise to take more detailed and helpful pictures for future projects! Thanks for bearing with me through this first post 🙂