Don’t let the angles on this table scare you away–the design is actually very simple! Just adjust your miter saw from zero to seven degrees for a few of the cuts, and you can create the splayed legs on this basic coffee table. And with the addition of blocks to the front of the legs, it’s easy to fake the look of advanced mortise and tenon joinery. Read on to see how the parts come together.

 

TIP: Click the image above to reveal the free building plans. Click the tabs below to see the tools, materials and cut list.

 

Cost: $45

Time: 4 hours

Difficulty: Moderate. Joining angled pieces is easy, but requires a close eye to make sure you’re keeping the pieces oriented correctly.

Note: This list may contain affiliate links

Tape Measure

Table Saw (if you’re ripping the legs from a 4 x 4 post)

Miter Saw

Pneumatic Nail Gun

Drill/Driver

Paddle Bit sized to the width of the Figure 8 Top Fastener

Pocket Hole Jig (I use the Kreg Jig K4)

Kreg Jig Right Angle Clamp

Bar Clamps

Speed Square

 

Note: This list may contain affiliate links

(3) 1 x 2 x 8 Boards

(5) 1 x 4 x 8 Boards

(2) ½ x ½ x 36 inch Square Dowels

(1) 4 x 4 x 8 Post to make the Legs

(Note: I ripped the 4 x 4 post down to 2¾ x 2¾ inches with a table saw for a slimmer looking leg. As alternatives, you can use the post as is at 3½-inches-wide, or purchase pre-cut 2¾ x 2¾ x 18 inch turning blanks, though they will add about $14/leg to the project.)

(8) Figure 8 Top Fasteners

½ inch Wood Screws to attach the fasteners to the Tabletop

1 inch Wood Screws to attach the fasteners to the Apron

1¼ inch Pocket Hole Screws

1¼ inch Finish Nails

¾ inch Finish Nails

Wood Glue

 

Table Top

  • 1 x 4 Boards – 6 @ 38½ inches
  • 1 x 4 Boards – 2 @ 21 inches
  • 1 x 2 Edge Trim – 2 @ 47 inches (ends beveled at opposing 45-degree angles)
  • 1 x 2 Edge Trim – 2 @ 22½ inches (ends beveled at opposing 45-degree angles)

Base

  • 2¾ x 2¾ Legs – 4 @ 17 ¼ inches (mitered at parallel 7-degree angles)
  • 1 x 2 Apron – 2 @ 34 11/32 inches (mitered at opposing 7-degree angles)
  • 1 x 2 Apron – 2 @ 13 inches
  • 1 x 2 Apron Crosspieces – 2 @ 16 inches
  • 1 x 2 End Pieces – 2 @ 13 inches
  • 1 x 2 Blocks – 4 @ ¾ inch

Shelf

  • 1 x 2 Shelf Support – 2 @ 37 inches (mitered at opposing 7-degree angles)
  • ½ x ½ Cleats – 2 @ 36 inches
  • 1 x 4 Shelf Slats – 9 @ 16 inches

 

 

Steps

 

1. Cut the Parts

 

Using a miter saw, cut all the parts to size except the 1 x 2 Trim for the Tabletop. If you’re ripping the 4 x 4 posts to make the legs slimmer like I did, use a table saw to cut two adjacent sides of the post down to 2¾-inches-wide.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 1

www.Build-Basic.com

2. Drill the Pocket Holes

 

Drill two pocket holes at each end of the 1 x 2 Apron Crosspieces, shorter 1 x 2 Apron pieces, and the 1 x 2 Base End Pieces.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 2

www.Build-Basic.com

3. Position the Pocket Holes

 

Drill pocket holes into the two remaining Apron Pieces and the 1 x 2 Shelf Supports. Because the ends of these pieces are mitered at an angle, be sure to align each board so that the pocket holes fit on its width.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 3

www.Build-Basic.com

4. Mark the Legs

 

Set all the legs sides-by-side so that their mitered ends are all oriented the same way. Measuring from short edge of the angled base, mark the height of the Shelf at 4½ inches.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 4

www.Build-Basic.com

5. Attach the First Pieces

 

Looking at the back-right Leg, lay a ½ x ½ dowel along the Leg to act as a spacer. Now place the ends of the Shelf Support and Apron against the Leg as shown. Apply glue to the end of each board, clamp it in place, and then attach it using a drill/driver and 1¼ inch pocket hole screws. Attach the opposite end of each board to the adjoining Leg. Repeat to join the Front Legs with the front Shelf Support and Apron Boards.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 5

www.Build-Basic.com

6. Attach the Cleats

 

Place the ½ x ½ inch Cleat onto the backside of each Shelf Support, flush with its bottom edge. Apply glue to the Cleat, and then secure it in place using a pneumatic nail gun and ¾ inch finish nails placed every 6 inches.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 6

www.Build-Basic.com

7. Mark the Height of the End Pieces

 

On the inside face of each Leg, make a mark 7 inches from the top edge of the Leg. Using a speed square, mark the line perpendicular to the edge of the leg. Additionally, mark the center of the line on each Leg.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 7

www.Build-Basic.com

8. Install the End Pieces

 

Apply glue to the ends of the 1 x 2 End Pieces for the Base and Apron, and then clamp them in place against the inside of the Leg. Position the pieces so that one runs flush with the top edge, and the other sets below the line marked in Step 7. Center both pieces on the leg, and tilt them so that they run parallel to the edge of the Leg. Using a drill/driver and 1¼-inch pocket holes screws, attach the pieces to the Leg. Repeat on the opposite end.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 8

www.Build-Basic.com

9. Assemble the Front and Back

 

Apply wood glue to the End Pieces, and then, one by one, clamp them to the remaining Legs. Join all the parts using 1¼ inch pocket hole screws.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 9

www.Build-Basic.com

10. Attach the Blocks

 

To create the illusion that the Base’s End pieces run through the legs like tenons, center and nail the Blocks to the outside face of each Leg, level with the End Piece using 1¼-inch finish nails. Remember to tilt the Block to follow the angled edge of the Leg.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 10

www.Build-Basic.com

11. Insert the Apron Crosspieces

 

To sturdy to Tabletop, install the Apron Crosspieces between the front and back Apron Boards using a wood glue and 1¼-inch pocket hole screws.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 11

www.Build-Basic.com

12. Add the Shelf Slats

 

Apply wood glue to the top of each ½ x ½ inch Cleat. Place the Shelf Slats onto the Cleats with ½-inch spacing between them.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 12

www.Build-Basic.com

13. Assemble the Tabletop

Using a pocket hole jig, drill pocket holes into the edges and ends of the underside of the tabletop boards according to the diagram below. Apply wood glue to the edges and ends where the boards touch. Using a drill/driver and 1¼-inch pocket hole screws, assemble the Tabletop Boards.

DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 13 Drawing

DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 13

www.Build-Basic.com

14. Cut the Tabletop Trim

 

Place the 1 x 2 boards alongside the assembled Tabletop to mark their length. This mark will be the start, or “short end” of the 45-degree miter cut. Now place the boards on edge on the miter saw to miter their ends at 45-degrees.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 14

www.Build-Basic.com

15. Install the Tabletop Trim Boards

 

Apply wood glue to the outer edge of the assembled Tabletop and the cut ends of the 1 x 2 Trim Boards. Place the Trim on edge around the Tabletop. Using a pneumatic nail gun and 1¼-inch finish nails, nail through the Trim and into the edges of the Tabletop to secure the Trim in place.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 15

www.Build-Basic.com

16. Mark the Tabletop Fasteners

 

Because the Tabletop is made form several slats of wood, I like to use Figure 8 Top Fasteners to allow the Tabletop boards to expand and contract. To install the fasteners, first mark the placement of each fastener on the apron–I placed three fasteners along each long Apron Board, and two on each End Apron Board. Outline half of the faster on the top edge of the Board.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 16

www.Build-Basic.com

17. Inset the Fastener

 

To allow the fasteners to set flush with the surface of the board, drill a shallow inset using a paddle bit sized to the width of the outline marked in Step 16.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 17

www.Build-Basic.com

18. Attach the Fastener to the Apron

 

Set each fastener into the inset hole drilled in Step 17 so that its surface sets flush with the surface of the Apron Board. Using a drill/driver and 1-inch wood screws, secure the fastener to the Apron.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 18

www.Build-Basic.com

19. Secure the Tabletop to the Base

 

Place the Base upside down on the Tabletop so that there is equal overhang on all sides. Screw through each fastener and into the tabletop with ½-inch wood screws to secure the tabletop in place.
DIY Coffee Table by Build Basic - Step 19

www.Build-Basic.com

 

MORE BUILDING PLANS

 

6 thoughts on “Build a DIY Coffee Table

  1. Jonathan

    It’s great to see a post like this incorporate appropriate table top fasteners (step 16) but because you still attached the breadboard ends to every board using pocket holes (step 13) the boards are still prevented from expanding and contracting freely.

    Reply

    1. Eric Horn

      Would also really like to know the answer to this question. I built one of these tables from the plans, but have no idea what finish to use!

      Reply

Leave us a Comment!