Sunday, October 20, 2013

Rustic Furniture: Coffee Table

Ever since I began doing wood work a few months ago, my girlfriend has asked me to make us a new coffee table.  The coffee table we currently have (seen below) does not match our decor, nor do we like it very much.


So I began a long search for designs for a coffee table, and I found one we both loved from Ana Whites's web site (seen here).


We loved the look, and the coloring of this piece, so I downloaded her plans and remade them using SketchUp.


I color coded each part to make it easier for me to get each cut at the hardware store.


Using my printed up lumber list, I went to the store and had them cut the wood I needed.


On the sides of my table will have cross beams (as seen below)...


The hardware store will not cut the angles needed for these pieces, so I also picked up a circular saw to make the necessary cuts.


I also created some templates of the angles I will need to cut.


I decided to start making the table top first.  I put all my table top pieces on a table.


And I began marking where the pocket holes will be drilled.


Once I had all the markings on my first board done, I lined up the other boards and drew a line across them.  Now I know where to drill on each board.


Then I took out my drill and pocket hole jig.


And one by one I drilled pocket holes in each of the boards.


Once all the holes were drilled, I screwed them together.


There are a few boards which are not perfectly level, so using my block plane I shaved off the uneven parts.


I had too much work cut out for me while using the block plane, so I went out and purchased a belt sander.


I can't sand this indoors however.  When the weekend arrives I'll take this outside and give it a good sanding.  Next I tackled the frame of my coffee table.  Using my T-square, I made sure the corners were all level before drilling pocket holes and screwing together.


Before long I had one side complete.


I used clamps to make sure all pieces held together while assembly.


And before I knew it I had both sides done.  Even my dog seems to like it so far!


Next I drilled more pocket holes on the 2x4's that connect the 2 sides.


And began attaching them.


Then I screwed in the last piece to complete the frame.



I laid my table top on top of the frame to make sure everything looked right.


Then I moved the partially completed table to where it's new home will be in front of the couch.


I placed a runner and centerpiece on top to get a feel of how it will look once done.  Not too bad!


Next I began work on the bottom shelf.  This shelf consisted of 2 boards screwed together.


Like the table top, I used pocket holes and screws to assemble.


Next I placed my frame on it's side and attached the bottom shelf using more pocket holes & screws.



Once it was assembled I used my block plane and sander to even out some of the edges.


I then placed it in the living room again to see how it looks.



Then using my angle templates, I marked where to cut the wood for the side cross beams.


And I began cutting them out.


After being cut, I sanded them.


The fit was not that great, but I think I'll be able to make it work.


Next I made the other cross beam cuts and sanded them.


These cross beams will be added to the table after sanding.  But before I begin sanding the table top I needed to fill in some gaps and pits in the wood.  To do this I will use wood filler.


I applied a thin coat to the surface, in the areas that needed it.


Once the filler dried I took everything outside to begin sanding.


I started with the table top and placed it on a pick nick table in the back yard.  I enlisted my friend Julio to help me with sanding.


We had a lot of trouble sanding on the old pick nick table when I remember that I had made some saw horses a few months back (seen here).  I fetched them and then had no problem sanding.


My new belt sander did a good job leveling the table top.


We started with course sand paper.


And eventually switched to finer sand paper to smooth out the wood.


Once the table top was done, we switched to the frame/bottom shelf.


When that was done I drilled holes in the cross beams so I could screw them to the frame.


Remember earlier when I said that cross beam fit was not great?  Well, it was really not great at all.  In fact, i decided to measure these pieces a little too late and found that the hardware store cut these pieces a few inches too short.  I decided to try and work with what I had and screwed the first cross beams to the frame.



When I got to the other cross beams I was even more disappointed.  These were also too short and thus I could not make the "X" shape that I wanted.  I asked the opinion of my expert (my girlfriend), and she liked how it looked, so I kept it.


The shot below further shows the inconsistent cuts of the cross beams.  The foreground cross beams are closer to an "X" than the background.  At the moment these are simply screwed in, so I can unscrew them to look more consistent.


Frustrated with the crossbeams, I decided to put that aside and do some more wood filling - this time to the frame.


At the end of a very long, hot day outside, the coffee table still looks pretty good.


I brought it inside and put the usual decor on it.  It looks good, but I am not happy with the cross beams.


So I removed the beams.


And patched up the holes I made with some wood filler.


I then sanded the filler when it dried and then went to the store and bought more 2x2's for new cross beams.  This time I lined up the beams with the frame and marked off where the cuts will be.


I marked each beam so that I knew where to position it on the frame.


This time the cuts were perfect.


Instead of using 3 pieces of wood to make the "X" beam shape, I simply used 2 pieces of wood.


Then I glued the beams in place and clamped them.



When the beams were dry I placed the whole table upside down and centered it...


And I drew and outline of the frame on to the table top.


Then I drew straight lines through the middle of where each beam of the frame connected to the table top.  This will ensure that each hole I drill for the screws that anchor the 2 pieces will be aligned correctly.


Then I marked off every 6 inches.


And then I drilled a hole at each marking.


Before I screwed in the screws, I used my countersink drill bit to created a wider, deeper hole on the surface of the table top.


With the countersinks, I can drill my screws just below the surface of the table top.


Once all the screws were in place, and the table was one solid piece.


Then I began to cover the screw holes with wood filler.


Once the filler was dry and sanded, the screws were no longer visible.


Even though the table is not complete, it is very strong and sturdy.  My dog even tested out the strength for me.


Next, I went out and bought some decorative hinges and bolts.


The hinges will be placed on the corners of the table top.


While the bolts will be screwed towards the bottoms of the legs.


I made markings where each one goes and drilled holes for each piece.


Then I screwed everything in.



Since I plan on staining this table, I removed the hinges and bolts and I gave the table a little more sanding and then a good cleaning.  Then it's outside for some wood stain.  The stain I chose to go with is a combination wood stain/polyurethane.


I decided to test out the stain on my end table (a project I started after I began making the coffee table).  The end table is smaller and was less work-intensive than the coffee table, so if the stain does not work out, it's easier to make a new end table than a new coffee table.

(You can see my end table build by clicking  here).


I really liked how the stain turned out, so I placed my coffee table upside down on my saw horses.


and I began staining it.


Below we see a finished end table and a partially stained coffee table drying outside.


When all was dry, I flipped the table over.


And then stained the rest.


And let it dry.




Once it had dried the second time, I gave the table top one more coat of stain.



Once the stain dried I brought the coffee table inside and placed cardboard under the legs to protect the carpet from any small bits of wet stain that may still be around.


Almost done!


Next I screwed in the bolts..


and the decorative corner hinges.


Now that all remains is a little sanding and weathering.


I removed the decor from the table and started out using grade #0000 steel wool.


This softened the table nicely.


Then I used some medium and fine sandpaper to weather the table.


And the result looks great!



Even after washing off all the dust from sanding, the color still shines through, and a nice amount of weathering remains - giving the table a nice rustic, used look.


The decor goes back on, and I'm done!





The day before I finished this coffee table I strolled into a Pier 1 store.  There they had a coffee table that looked very similar to the one I created.  Their's even had the cross beams on the side.  Their cost: $400.  The cost to make my own: under $100.


Thanks for reading!!!


Be sure to check out the build for my matching end table (seen here).

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