Introduction: 2x4 End Table

Picture of 2x4 End Table

Today I will show you how to build a modern end table with a leftover 2x4 and some scrap wood. I got the idea from a picture I saw one time and decided i would make it for the 2x4 contest.


Miter saw


Band saw


10' 2x4

Walnut scraps



Step 1: Cut the Peices

Picture of Cut the Peices

You'll need to cut out seven pieces. 6 are 14 inches long and 1 is 24 inches long.The one that is 24'' long will serve as the leg. I assume that you can look at the pictures and figure out how to cut the 45 degree angles.

Step 2: Sand

Picture of Sand

This step is simple. All you do is sand... and sand... and sand. 2x4s are not the nicest wood so it can be difficult to make nice things out of them. A planer would make this much easier, but I don't have one.

Step 3: Assemble (Without Glue)

Picture of Assemble (Without Glue)

Drill 1/8 inch holes into each corner from the side. Countersink them with a 3/8" bit so you can add plugs later. Make the top and bottom pieces separately and attach the leg to the bottom. The screws I used are deck screws because they are good and sturdy.

Step 4: Glue

Picture of Glue

Take the screws out and glue the top and bottom together (separately) with the leg on the bottom piece. Once the glue is dry, you can attach the top to the bottom. Clamp the top in place and use shims to make it level. Drill two hole in the top like in step three. Take the clamps and screws off and finish gluing. Make sure to put all the screws back in the holes.

Step 5:

Picture of

Put plugs in all the holes and apply wood patch to all the scratches, rough spots, etc. Once the Wood patch is dry, sand it all smooth.

Step 6: Make the Tabletop

Picture of Make the Tabletop

Glue up a piece of 3/4" walnut that is a little bigger than the inside of the top. Trace the exact shape onto the walnut and cut it out to the rough shape. Sand the edges to the exact shape. It should fit somewhat snug so there are no gaps. Once it is the correct shape, glue it in place. Make sure the walnut is even with the 2x4.

Step 7: More Sanding

Picture of More Sanding

Put wood patch in the gaps on all three sides of the walnut panel and sand it once it's dry. Sand the rest of the table until it is nice and smooth.

Step 8: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

Apply polyurethane finish to the whole table. It doesn't really matter what you use, but natural oils might not be the best for durability. Follow the directions for whatever you decide to use.

Step 9: Done!

Picture of Done!

Great! Now you have a nice, modern end table. Its not just any end table, though. It can slide over your couch as a snack or computer table. If you make one, post a pic. I would love to see it. Happy making!

Step 10: Update

Picture of Update

I decided I wasn't very fond of the 2x4 and painted it white. It looks much nicer than the plain 2x4. Also, it will hold as much as any other end table. I got lot of comments about whether it could hold weight or not. I tested it with a lamp , a Bible and my tablet, as said in one comment, passed with flying colors. There was no sag or tilt at all.


TonyN45 (author)2016-07-28

Nice design and pics. I will attempt to make it this weekend and post a pic. Wish me luck!......THX

BrianS192 made it! (author)2016-04-01

I made this out of walnut and poplar as an accent. All miters are just glue. I did reduce the size from 14in to 10in. It looks amazing. I planned on using dowels thru the miters to make them stronger,but it didn’t work out. I did put some faux dowels in it as an accent. Love the design.

isaylor (author)BrianS1922016-04-03

That looks great! Thanks for sharing the pictures.

warriorethos2 (author)2016-01-31

isaylor, great job on the table. Your instructions and pictures will make it easy for anyone to build a table. Any tips on maintenance of the table? Good luck in the contest.

isaylor (author)warriorethos22016-01-31

Thanks! For maintenance, just check every so often for sag. Good luck to you in the contest as well!

lmjagiello (author)2016-01-12

Absolutely love this! Thank you for posting.

isaylor (author)lmjagiello2016-01-13


cbrannon3 made it! (author)2016-01-12

still need to stain

isaylor (author)cbrannon32016-01-12

That looks great! I like the antler lamp too.

sophatroph (author)2016-01-03

This is so beautiful! And all of your steps are very clear and concise. Nicely done.

isaylor (author)sophatroph2016-01-03


mouse1234 (author)2015-12-31

Me again, as I read my message to you it might not have been clear as to what opening I was referring to--I meant where you used the walnut wood. Thanks so much :)

isaylor (author)mouse12342015-12-31

Thanks! The opening is 7 1/4 wide by 10 3/4 long.

mouse1234 (author)2015-12-31

Hi, I loved this very modern and chic looking table. This looks as nice as some in ALL MODERN, and IKIA that I've seen. I would like to know the size of the opening if you could provide that to me, I would appreciate it. As others have said, and I agree...Very Well Done !!!

abedabund (author)2015-12-31

I absolutely love this! Simple, clean style yet functional.

isaylor (author)abedabund2015-12-31

Thank You!

wastavros (author)2015-12-29

very cool. simply funcitionial and beautiful

isaylor (author)wastavros2015-12-29

Thank You!

cyrademacher (author)2015-12-22

I love it. I'm always looking for ways to use up my offcuts. This is an awesome contemporary, simple design. Nicely done.

isaylor (author)cyrademacher2015-12-22


PatrickW51 (author)2015-12-16

Brilliant! So simple and totally awesome! 5 stars :D

isaylor (author)PatrickW512015-12-16

Thank You,

danielhwolf (author)2015-12-15

I built a bed frame very much like this and perched it 24" high on trapezoidal legs made of birch furniture plywood, then finished it like your table. Your table would be *great* with the bed: It would match it for style, it would add side-table utility, and it could pivot over the bed for reading in bed!

What a guy! :~)

isaylor (author)danielhwolf2015-12-15

Thanks! Do you have a picture? I would love to see it!

digitalia (author)2015-12-15

Excellent work. I've used this design before (small table, one corner leg) and can vouch for its strength. I'm not quite 70 yet (8 years short of that) but I've been a maker and woodworker since I was a little younger than you (15? Really? Amazing). This design is perfectly functional for its intended purpose, using exactly the materials techniques you describe. Make on, dude!

isaylor (author)digitalia2015-12-15

Thank You!

skirmishmonkey (author)2015-12-15

I've just seen isaylor's bandsaw flame project and realised that this guy is only 15 years old and is producing work to this level. Kudos fella. You have a talent and surely a bright future ahead of you.
Your table does exactly what it is designed to do and looks great to boot.

isaylor (author)skirmishmonkey2015-12-15

Thank You!

Seagrey (author)2015-12-15

Oh my. I am not sure why there are so many negative
comments. In your description I missed the part that said “Now here’s a table
that can hold a 200 lb hog why you slaughter it!” nor did I see “This will hold
that piece of 3 inch steel hull when welding at the shipyard!”. This is good
design. Beautiful in fact. It would hold my coffee and a book which is what I would need it to do. The design is
clean, minimal and fun. So gets an A+ from me. Good job and ignore the cranky fussy-pants.

isaylor (author)Seagrey2015-12-15


skirmishmonkey (author)2015-12-15

I like it. All I would need it to hold is a bottle of whatever I am drinking and a glass. I am definitely going to make one.

projectbronco (author)2015-12-14

Great cantilever design! Very pleasing to the eye and looks functional.
As most people in engineering and construction know, if your
design was rigid, it would merely break under a load. This looks far more overbuilt than the IKEA end tables. With the ability
to flex and recover it has more longevity built in to it. You don't need
me to say this but I will anyway, well done!

isaylor (author)projectbronco2015-12-14

Thanks! I totally agree with you, the flex gives it more strength than if it was rigid.

SoLongSidekick (author)2015-12-14

Uh testing with a bible, tablet, and lamp isn't really testing for weight. Why not put some actual weight on there to see if there's any effect? Tables don't just hold stuff, a lot of times they are un-intentioally grabbed for support.

isaylor (author)SoLongSidekick2015-12-14

Good point. It could catch you if you stumble, but a hard fall I'm not sure about.

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2015-12-14

Very nice, great work

isaylor (author)Jedi_zombie852015-12-14


The Rambler (author)2015-12-14

Awesome table man!

isaylor (author)The Rambler2015-12-14

Thank You!

yrralguthrie (author)2015-12-13

What you think is strong is evidently different than mine. Three screws are not going to produce a good joint. You, sir, are misleading people.

If you happened to use what are commonly called (in the US) sheet rock screws it may appear strong until the screws snap off.

I don't have to jump off the proverbial cliff to know it's going to hurt when I hit bottom. I've built similar all my life (70 years) and yes I do know.

Just take the compliment great design and look for a way to make it really functional. As in set something valuable, that weighs a few pounds and is fragile on the table and then accidently bump it.

zar011 (author)yrralguthrie2015-12-14

If you think it is that bad add gussets, real easy to do. You say you have a ton of experience. Put it to good use instead of basing people about little simple projects. His intentions was not to fix a car engine on it, just a do it yourself "keeping busy" project. Take it for what it is.

isaylor (author)yrralguthrie2015-12-14

Three words, Nice Coment Policy. I'm not sure you seem to understand it. Also, I know the difference between drywall screws and deck screws. I'm not going around trying to miss lead people into building things that are dysfunctional. That's not what Instructables is for. If you don't want to build it, that's fine, just don't keep bashing it because don't think it works.

Kreat0r (author)2015-12-14

creative and simple design!

isaylor (author)Kreat0r2015-12-14


MusicalBox (author)2015-12-13

I'm also surprised of all the negative comments. It's an end table. Nobody's gonna use it to carve the 25 lb Christmas turkey... So I'm sure gonna try this and see for myself. After all there is only around 5$ of material to buy.

Great idea sir. And a well done instructable. Keep up the good work.

isaylor (author)MusicalBox2015-12-14

Thank You!

static (author)2015-12-13

An interesting design and a great looking final product. No doubt it's up to handling the usual static loads an end table typically holds until hell freezes over. However someone plopping down on it withe their lard butt would be different story. But you didn't say it was chair. A person duplicating it could ad any extra structure they desire, but that would ruin the clean lines that make this great. Downloading gor possiblely duplicating in the future

isaylor (author)static2015-12-14


HardyN (author)2015-12-13

I would not put my laptop on this contraption.

isaylor (author)HardyN2015-12-13

It can hold 20 pounds with only one inch of sag. Loptops weigh nowhere near that. I'm pretty sure that no normal people have 20 pounds on their end tables. If you do have that much, this isn't the table for you.

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