How to Build a Coffee Table from Rough Wood | DIY Woodworking




Welcome back to Fix This Build That today. We’re gonna be making a modern farmhouse coffee table out of some beautiful walnut lumber About four years ago. I got a killer deal on some rough walnut lumber Now these boards were huge and they’ve been sitting on my garage floor taking up valuable kid bike parking But I’ve picked away at the pile now I’m excited about today’s video because it’s pretty involved and I really go into a lot of Processes going from rough lumber all the way to the finish table and I share a lot of juicy tips along the way Now even though this wood is walnut, which is a beautiful wood These boards were rough Lots of sapwood and knots so I did my best to work around the defects and get some decent pieces out of these two by sixes and four by fours After cutting the boards the rough length I started off the milling at the planer to see what was lurking beneath the dirty outer surface of the wood After a few passes on each board, I could see the awesome figure of the walnut now I can also see how bad of a shape these boards really were if lumber isn’t cut and dried properly which these weren’t it can get some nasty twists and warps in it like this a Plane won’t remove the twists out of a board It’ll just make the board a consistent thickness all along the crookedness Now there are several ways to fix this but here’s what I did I marked the corners that were the high spots that the board was rocking on and I hit him with a belt sander to knock it Down and you could also use a handheld planer or a block plane to do this And after a little work the majority of the twist was gone And I could take it to the jointer and really get it flat He could go straight to the jointer, but when a board is more like a twizzler than a popsicle stick I find a little bit hard to work with unless I knock down those corners first With a flat face on all the boards I could use the planer to flatten the other side and then hit the jointer and bandsaw to get close to final dimensions As you can probably already tell Working with rough lumber is a whole process in itself before you even get to the joinery now personally I really enjoy it because you can pick your own lumber and you can mill it to the exact dimensions that you want by using The bandsaw resaw thick stock, but if you don’t have these milling machines yet You can always go by pre dimension lumber and let somebody else have all the fun milling in Now the last stop to get a smooth bore the right thickness that I wanted is back at the planer I’m using the new 13 inch from jet the sponsor of today’s video and I really put it through the paces It’s got a two horsepower motor a segmented head with 24 high speed steel inserts and a two-speed gearbox When the segmented head runs a lot quieter than my old two blade planer and the finish coming off This machine was very nice with minimal Snipe You can head to the link in the description for more details on this new planer and thanks to jet for sponsoring this video After I turned these nasty boards and these specimens of glorious walnut I cut the pieces to size for the top and the lower shelf I Used some of the wider boards for the top and the shelf is from the smaller one by fours that I cut from those four by fours.

I Kicked off the building by gluing up the top and the shelf so they could be drying while I’m cutting the joinery for the base And when you’re working with boards with knots crazy grain another Character it’s a good idea to switch the board’s around flip them in for in and just see what looks best Now the top is your showpiece and you can really change the look based upon the board layout So take a little bit of time here. I applied a good layer of glue to the edges and then I clamped them tighten if You want to use any alignment aids like biscuits or Doucet?

You can also do that as well to help keep the top flat. I Set these panels aside to dry And then I moved on to the legs Now the legs came out of a short section of 4×4 that milled down to an inch and a half thick after squaring up The four legs on the table saw I cut them to final length on the miter saw using a stop block for repeatability Now the legs have a subtle taper starting 3 inches from the bottom on the two inside faces I use my combination square to lay out where each taper would end And I also made marks where they would begin up on the leg I’m using my super basic tapering jig again here Which I still haven’t made a video on but it’s literally just a piece of plywood with some hold downs on it The special sauce is using these Registration blocks to give you repeatable tapers and cuts on all four of the legs with just one setup after setting one of the legs on the layout lines I used a way better method to attach the blocks this time now instead of hot glue Like I used during my modern outdoor chair build I stuck a piece of tape to the jig in the Registration blocks and then I put CA glue on one side in activator on the other and this sets the blocks firmly in place but it’s not going to rip up the wood when I remove them later a Shout-out to Spags for sharing this tip over on the wood her channel bubinga With the blocks in place.

I made the taper cut on the first side Then I unclamped rotated and Wreake lamped it for the taper on the second side Once you’re set up it’s a really quick process to knock out all four legs I like having the tapers on the inside of the legs it helps keep the heft of the 2×2 leg But it adds a little subtle clean detail that whispers. I’m not from Ikea Now that I was done with the tapers I could just knock those registration blocks off with a mallet and peel up the tape You can see here the chunks that the hot glue took off on the jig before this but the tape in the CA glue method Was way cleaner Before moving on I pulled out my router table and I put a small round over on all the edges of the legs After as complicated as the milling process was the actual parts of the coffee table are pretty simple other than the tops and the legs The only other parts are the rails and the stretchers to connect the legs and hold the top and shelf in place.

I Rip the other parts to size on the table saw and then I cut them to length at my miter saw using that stop block Now before jumping into the joinery on the base I want to fill some of those defects in the top and the shelf with epoxy So they could be drying while I worked on the base.

I Covered the back of any of the voids with tape to keep them from leaking and then I mixed up a two-to-one Epoxy with a fast heart nur now instead of leaving it clear I used some black acrylic paint to tint the mixture and this actually worked out really well after adding just a few drops. I filled in all the little defects with a blob of epoxy and for that large crack and the knot I Poured in the epoxy and then I broke the surface tension with a toothpick to let it flow down into the void.

I Popped the surface bubbles on the epoxy with the torch and then I moved the top off of the bench to dry Next I made the sides for the coffee table and this could have been done in just a matter of minutes with pocket holes But I decided to use dowel joinery on this one and the dowels are centered on the leg for the upper connectors but flush to the inside of the leg for the lower parts, I Don’t have an end vise on my bench So I use two parallel clamps for a MacGyver esque Alternative to hold the rails while I draw the holes for the dowels and hey If you’re a MacGyver fan, or you like watching me do poor imitations of them go ahead and click that subscribe button Let me know what your favorite MacGyver Shop tricks are in the comments.

I Drove mating holes on the legs lay out lines that I made earlier across the joints This self-centering dowel jig does a great job All you have to do is line it up on the marks and then drill I’ll have a link to hit and all the other tools and supplies that I used down below in the description and Next I moved on to the lower rail and here’s where it got a little bit trickier Now since this rail is flush on the inside of the leg. I couldn’t use that self-centering dowel jig So after drilling holes in the lower rail I dry-fit the side assembly together and to make sure everything looked good Then I clamped a straight scrap onto the bench to register the feet against and I used a 1 by 4 as a spacer This let me put in these little metal dowel points into the dowel holes that I drilled and transfer the position to the legs now honestly The only reason I use doubt joinery in this whole build so that I could hear these little points pop out of the holes That’s nice I Repeated the same thing on the other leg and I had these little indentations where I needed to drill the holes in the legs You really need to use a drill press for straight holes when you’re doing gel.

Joinery free-handing It is just not accurate enough and the dials are pretty finicky So I set up a fence on the drill Press and I lined up the marks with the Brad point bit and I drilled out each hole I’m only showing one side for the assembly, but I made the joinery for both sides at the same time So I drilled all four legs After that, I did a dry fit on the side and everything looks spot-on So I went ahead and moved on to the joinery for the long stretchers that will connect the sides I Took apart the assemblies and I made sure to label all my parts so that I could easily match them up.

Later If you want detailed plans for this build, they also have labeled parts cutting diagrams and easy-to-follow instructions You can get those down in the description as well Now the long stretchers on the bottom get the same treatment as the short rails first I drilled the dowel holes in the stretcher and I transfer the marks to the legs the key here was just to make sure that the legs were 90 degrees to the reference board that I clamped at my bench and I used another 1 by 4 spacer to position the long piece and make those marks But also here’s where I messed up and I would change it if I did it again I laid out the dowel holes for the short rails and for those long stretchers in the exact same spot about 3/8 of an inch in from the edge after I drilled that second set of holes for the dowels on the leg.

I saw the issue immediately The holes overlap perfectly which meant that I’m gonna have to drill completely through the first dowels when I’m joining the second ones I Should have offset one set up a bit and the other set down a bit to at least keep some of the dowel intact when? I read rill that second set but I pressed forward with the assembly unfettered with trivial concerns such as structural integrity Before assembling the sides I wrap the ends of the rails with blue tape to protect them from glue squeeze-out I apply a liberal amount of glue to the dowels.

Probably way too much and I started assembling hammering and clamping everything together I’m doing a glue up like this always feels like a race against the clock hoping that I can get it all clamped up tight before the timer runs out and I like fall into a big pool of partially gelled glue Sounds like a woodworking game show, but it’s just a glue up After getting the side assemblies in the clamps, I switched back over to working on the top in the Shelf.

I started removing the dried epoxy with a card scraper Then I came to my senses and I used a block plane and I made short work of it When all the big globs of epoxy were flush with the rough glued up surface I went over to my jet 18:36 drum sander to flatten the panels now I know a drum sander is an expensive luxury in a wood shop But my goodness it is a sweet sweet luxury to have Now with the panel’s flat I needed to cut them to final length and do some edge treatments And since I’ve pretty much blown the whole DIY aspect of this project out of the water I whipped out another expensive luxury my Craig ACS table interacts All this setup is perfect for cutting large panels square Of course This could be done with a circular saw on a straight edge just like the tops could be flattened easily with a belt sander But that’s a total lie Flattening a table top with a belt sander is a huge pain in the butt And if you’re using a belt sander I’d highly recommend using some biscuits or dowels for the top to make sure those joints are as flat as possible coming out Next I put a nice profile on the underside of the top with a 45 degree chamfer bit I love the look of a chamfer top and it really goes well with those leg tapers I’ll lower the router bit a little and I put a smaller chamfer on the lower shelf And the chamfer couldn’t be too big on this one because of the fit with the lower shelf supports which are gonna see during assembly When the side assemblies were dry you can see exactly what I meant about the lower dowels They completely blocked the dowel holes for the long stretcher Using the same bit that I did for the Dow’s I drilled out each hole You can see there’s a tiny bit of dowel left around the edge of the hole But if they were shifted, like I said, you’d have a lot more support there Now the last part of the puzzle was fitting that lower shelf I wanted the shelf to be notched around the legs in a specific way I wanted to be recessed from the edge of the legs But also to overhang the supports that it sat on Which is why I had to make those lower supports hug the inside of the legs.

I Centered the lower shelf on one of the sides and then I used my combination square to transfer where the legs fit But in theory there should be a perfect square You could cut these by hand with a jigsaw or my preferred method for this involved build at the bandsaw With the top facing up I cut one side of each corner notch Then I flipped the panel over and I just cut right up to that line until the knotch released to give me a nice little square cut out This actually worked really well and the fit was great Now I dry some old the base to make sure it all fit because I’m using so many tools I decided to throw in the old chin clamp, too Now the fit was great between the ends But the notch was about one sixteenth of an inch off on the long side of the table and that’s why you dry fit Now this fortunately was a very easy fix I just took the lower stretchers to my miter saw and I move the stock block in a little less than 1/16 of an inch From where it was last set when I cut the stretchers Then I cut down the lower stretchers as well as the thicker top ones, which we’ll address in just a second.

I Connected the two sides with the long stretchers the same way as I did the legs on the sides Using a couple one by fours to prop up the supports kept the chin clamp at bay, and I clamped everything in place to dry The top stretcher has got pocket holes and will be attached after the shelf is in place This move saved me an immense amount of headache in assembly and finishing Since I didn’t have to cram the shelf in there when I was assembling the base I was free to go ahead and finish it the top and the base separately before attaching them all together. I Used the two-part oil finish that really brought out the grain in the walnut and it looked amazing After the finish was dry. I used a biscuit joiner to cut slots for some tabletop fasteners in Long rails as well as the stretchers.

I’ll be attaching the shelf and the top with this hardware And here’s why those top stretchers stayed off until the end without them there I could easily slide the shelf into place Clamp it down and flip the base over so I can attach these clips and secure the shelf If the top stretchers were already there, I really couldn’t have fit that in at all So after that, I flipped the base back over and I finally attach to the top stretchers with pocket screws Now biscuiting in a few more slots into the top but is biscuit an actual verb because if it’s not it really should be Anyway biscuit of those in and then I lay the top upside down on my bench and I put the base on top of it now after a few Adjustments to get everything centered I secured the top in place to finish off this epically long build for such a simple looking coffee table But the finished project was so worth the extra effort the walnut wood and all the little details really came together nicely And this thing’s gonna have a nice spot in our house for a long time If you want to check out some other my furniture projects, I got a play this for you right there I think you’re gonna find some other things that you like if you want plans to build this coffee table I’ve got a link down below in the description.

You can check out until next time guys get out there and build something awesome.

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