Instructables
Picture of Coffee table upgrade!
Summary: Extra storage and a top that raises up to meet you - and your needs!

What's the job of a coffee table these days?
Rest your drinks on?
A stable surface for the odd TV dinner?
Rest your feet on?
How about storage?
What about laptops? Ever bent over your coffee table to use your laptop? How about sitting on the floor and trying it?

Several years ago, we bought a coffee table that was pretty much what we wanted.
It was large, rustic-looking and solidly built.. but a bit high!

We'd find that we'd sit back on the couch at the end of the day and put our feet up, only to find the coffee table was so much higher than the seat of the couch that it would soon be biting into our achilles tendons.

It was last day of my holidays and I found myself sitting back, watching "Hot Fuzz". After shuffling my legs about on the table trying to get comfortable I thought it was about time to put a long held plan into action.....

So, I checked with the boss and she liked the sound of my idea - mod the coffee table or get a new one!

Goals..
-Lower the coffee table
-Add storage area/s
-Add some kind of funky lid to get to the storage areas
 
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Step 1: What you'll need..

Picture of What you'll need..
Tools I used..
Screw drivers (electric driver/drill makes this more fun)
Hammer
Pinch/wrecker bar or something similarly thin and strong to prevent you bending your screw driver.
Old blanket to catch splintered wood, screws, scraps and keep the boss happy ;)
Oh, and ear protection (hammering the pinch bar and smacking at the wood from the underside of the table generated a fair bit of noise and caused my ears to ring before I grabbed the 'muffs)

Parts required to make something similar at your place..
A similar table to start with ;) - Something with a fairly heavy base if you are going to make it open up..
Bolts
Nyloc nuts
Hardwood for the cantilever hinge
Any extra wood required for shelves etc.
Replacement wood for any bits you damage
(I had to sacrifice the top routed edging as it was nailed and glued to the table and the table top)
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lori.a.brown2 months ago

I bought a lift top coffee table which I love except that it hinges up way too high to comfortably use my laptop. Anyone have an idea for modifying the height?

solobo3 months ago

Hey, just saw your instructions for sale on listia. This guy grabbed one of my instructables and sold it without permission as well.

http://www.listia.com/auction/18625350-diy-coffee-table-advanced

lofgren (author)  solobo2 months ago
Hmm. Thanks.
evaldes34 months ago
where did you find the wood for the hinges where can I find that at
mikeyloe259 months ago
This coffee table is amazing! It is by far my favorite design/idea.
Andsetinn9 months ago
Really nice. I've been thinking about converting my coffee table to a big chest (I live in a really small apartment at the moment and need all the storage I can find). It would be neat to make the lid cantilevered.
caarntedd10 months ago
Wow! I'm making one of these! How much weight can you put on the open top before the base starts to tip over? And why am I looking at this i'ble in the Thanksgiving food section?
BasRutten10 months ago
That couch looks familiar
Great idea using the cantilever hinges! What did you use for a stop? Does the front part of the hinge just rest against the inside of the box, or did you add a metal stop or something?
polerix1 year ago
making one.
mburner1 year ago
Brilliant!
smitscot1 year ago
Is there a way you could attach a door piston so that it would close slowly? That would avoid slamming and possible damage. Really great idea and instructable!
ledshed1 year ago
Fantastic! I'm amazed I've never seen them for sale!
matt.ohara2 years ago
Thanks for the guide! Looks great and I'm definitely going to try and make one of my own.

One question I had though. How do you stop the hinges from continuing to swing? It's a little hard to tell but do they just stop because they resting up against the box of the coffee table when it is open?

lofgren (author)  matt.ohara2 years ago
Correct, just rests against the side. You could put a rubber buffer there but it isn't necessary.
Terri1ND3 years ago
I love tables like this. I was given a table that does the same thing & I love it. I have trouble standing for very long & so this helps so much. We eat at it every night (now that the kids are grown & gone) while watching tv.
I find I also do alot of prep work for cooking at my coffee table now as well. I take my cutting board & bowls & go to work while watching tv. I especially love it when I have to make huge batches of potato salad & I sit there & take care of all the prep work there. It works wonderful for me. My 2 yr old grandson came to visit & I had put lunch on the table & had planned for him to sit beside me, but he sat on the other side of the table where the top lifted up from & he enjoyed his lunch at the right height for him. (Just don't leave it unattended with a child around while it is up). We had no problems, but it is just a thought to be safe.
Biggsy3 years ago
Just spotted this, this is awesome... well done... I would love one

High Five for you
hi.jpg
I understand how the hinges are made, b7ut how and where are they attached into the coffee table.

What are they attached to?
lofgren (author)  Tsu Dho Nimh3 years ago
I'd hope you've worked it out by now, but if not, check out the photos in Step 4 and the last photo in Step 7 :)
I love this projects, but I'm still stuck on this point to. I understand where the hinges go, but how are they attached to the table top and sides? nails, screw, glue, dowels, biscuits? Maybe I just missed it somewhere.
offseid4 years ago
Hey thanks for posting this. I especially appreciate your DIY hinges, since the setup most people use (from Lee Valley) costs $160! I do have one question about the hinges. Okay, maybe two.

1. So the hinges butting up against the table is basically how you determine how far the table comes towards you, right?
2. Have you seen any wear and tear on your hinges as they keep banging up against the table top? Are they getting dented up? I suppose you could file away the inside of the table top right where the hinge meets the table, so it meets a flat surface instead of a corner.

Anyway, I'd appreciate your thoughts!
If you are worried about wear and tear you could always attach a wedge-shaped block of wood just in front of where the lever connects to the bottom support rail, where the angle of the wedge is the exact angle of the lever arms just before they hit the edge of the box.  This will catch and support the rails instead of the front edge of the table.

You just have to be sure it isn't taller than the two rails when closed, and that it won't get in the path of the top rail as it is coming down.  As a bonus if you put four of these in (one for each rail) and you measured everything just right it would add a lot of stability to the top when opened.
lofgren (author)  offseid4 years ago
1 - I think you are confirming that the inner edge of the table becomes the stopper and the extent of the table-top's travel?

There are a few variables that determine how far the table extends towards you, as well as the height of the extended table.
These include:
-the length of the arms
-the height at which they attach to the inside of the table
-the distance they attach/pivot from the inside edge that is closest to you
-the distance from the edge that they attach to the table top itself
If I remembered maths from school there is probably a simple equation that would explain it - personally I just used a couple of bits of scrap wood and laid them out in the shape of the hinge to work out the travel :)

You will also find in testing that these lengths and distances will be limited to what will actually fit inside the table.

2 - Nope, haven't noticed any wear and tear. But we don't extend the table every time we use it. One of my goals for this project was to lower the table as well so that we could put our feet up on on it ;)
The wood I used for the hinge is hardwood and the inner edge of the box that forms the table is pine, so any wear is likely to be seen there.
If it was a worry, you could sand the angle of the edge as suggested and or include some kind of rubber to form a stopper.
kenbob3 years ago
I love this. it is uber geeky i must say, but folds away into presentable decor. brilliant.
ongara_013 years ago
Wow...great man. EXCELLENT job you do..
Dr.Bill4 years ago
Very nice. My friend has a production model made some 10 years ago.
jscott1194 years ago
just saw this instructable and wanted to say it is a great idea, i plan on using the DIT hinges in the coffee table I'm going to build. You saved me $160 buck by not buyin gthe specialty hardware instead, so thanks.
Excellent I really like it, more importantly so does my better half & you obviously know how important that is ;-)
I have been thinking about a table for our living room which is not as big as we would like so I prefer most furniture to fulfil more than one need & this is just the job.
I have in mind a mod for a seagrass chest with the structure & storage built into it, I may also include an idea from falconsabre about incorporating a power supply as I have also experienced mishaps with trailing cords.
Have you entered it into the woodworking competition yet?
Whoops!!!!!
I just saw the date on some of the other comments, I guess entering it into the current woodworking competition would not be an option would it :-)
Skip4 years ago
are you at all interested in seeing what other people's outcomes are from following your instructable?
lofgren (author)  Skip4 years ago
Yeah, of course! Please share :)
jeffeb34 years ago
If you are cutting the drawer faces out of the stock for the side, you could make clean, wide cuts and then use some decorative trim glued/tacked to the outside of the drawer front to thicken it up.  A lot o drawer faces have a ~1/8th in bull nose piece of trim because the face is made of plywood.
ebrperk14 years ago
 Great Idea, the finished product looks really good. This instructable will definitely be copied several times
Again Great Job
lofgren (author) 4 years ago
Thanks again for the positive comments :)
I've been looking for a little while now. I can't seem to find a really cheap coffee table that I can do this to. I may have to end up just buying a table for the top and build my own box for it. Thanks for the Instructable, now it's time for you to post another one.
lofgren (author)  foothillfrontier4 years ago
Hey, have you considered using plywood for the top?
Usually one side will be decent enough to sand/finish nicely.
To hide the layered edges (unless you want to go for that industrial look), you could put some wooden trim around them. This will both look nicer (than plain plywood) and will appear thicker (depending on how you do it).

Thanks for your enthusiasm :) I have a couple of other posts to put together when I get the time.
keiou4 years ago
 masterfully done. thanks
amplex4 years ago
amazing, beautiful piece of very functional art =]
courtney8254 years ago
I was shopping today at a local furniture store and i saw a table almost identical to this for $800, i fell in love but my wallet kept telling me no! I am so glad i didnt buy it! Im going to add this to my projects this summer for the new house! Crazy i ran across this the same day i almost bought that table! thanks!! 
northie4 years ago

I have to say that the rebuilt coffee table looks better than the original.  You did a great job!

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