loading

In this Instructable, I'll show you how to build a live edge river coffee table, inspired by Greg Klassen's amazing work. It's a simple enough project with a few tricky moments, but, with a little workworking skill, you can build one for yourself. Let's get started!

Don't miss the build video above for more details!

Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

This is a surprisingly tool-light build. If you buy 1x3s for the legs, you can easily flatten the top with a router and make all of the cuts with a circular saw. Nothing particularly fancy needed here!

Tools Used On Live Edge River Coffee Table:

Materials Used On Live Edge River Coffee Table:

Step 2: Flatten Slab, Cut Slab in Half, & Square Up Ends

The slab I purchased, for the bargain price of $55, was significantly warped and cupped, so I cut it in half before flattening. If your slab is already relatively flat, you could use a router jig to flatten it before cutting it in half. After flattening, square up the ends with a miter saw or circular saw.

Step 3: Create Template for Glass

I had my glass cut by a local glass company, so I created a template for them using a piece of cardboard. The glass I used was ¼" blue plate glass, and it cost about $100 including the cutting fee. The glass alone was over $70 and I was afraid to break it if I tried to cut it myself. I've seen others have success with a glass cutting tool but I didn't want to risk it.

Step 4: Route Inset Area Into Top of Slabs for Glass

This is THE most critical part of this build. To make the glass flush with the top of the slab, you need to route out an area in the top of the slab to accept the glass. Here's how I did this:

I secured the glass to the top of the slab using clamps and then used a router and a ¼" x ½" template bit to cut the groove. The router bit rides against the glass and follows the curves. This is inherently dangerous, so wear eye protection and do this at your own risk!

After routing this groove, the rest of the waste needs to be removed. I did this with the same router bit and freehanded it, making sure to stay clear of the first groove I cut.

Once all of the waste was removed, I cleaned up any of the router bit marks left using a card scraper and sander.

Step 5: Shape Live Edge & Remove Loose Bark

Most live edge slabs will have some kind of loose bark and other stuff hanging from the live edge. It's best to remove anything that is loose and might fall off later. I used a chisel and spokeshave to remove the bark and shape the edge, then smoothed everything out with a random orbit sander.

Step 6: Sand Slab Thoroughly, Removing Any Tool Marks

With all of the routing done, I sanded my slab pieces up to 220 grit using a drum sander and random orbit sander. This is the show surface, so take your time and make sure to remove any lines or other tool marks.

Step 7: (Optional) Fill Holes & Cracks With Epoxy

Most live edge slabs will have some kind of cracks or bug holes, and mine was no exception. I used ArtResin epoxy to fill the carpenter ant holes in my slab. I love using ArtResin since it has no fumes and I can apply it inside.

Step 8: Cut Leg Pieces to Size

The sizes of your legs are going to depend on the size of your slab and the height you want your coffee table, but mine ended up roughly 16" wide by 14" tall. I used rough Walnut I already had on hand, but you could use 1x3s from the home center if you don't have the machinery to mill lumber.

If you want to skip building legs altogether, you could use something like hairpin legs.

Step 9: Cut Joinery for Legs

For joinery for my legs, I used my Festool Domino, but there are tons of options for joining butt joints. Dowels, pocket holes, dovetails, finger joints, the list goes on and on. Use whatever you feel comfortable with.

Step 10: Drill Holes Into Top of Legs to Fasten to Top

Before assembling the legs, it's a good time to drill the holes through which you'll attach the legs to the top. I am using drilled and tapped holes with bolts to attach my legs. I drilled a countersunk hole with a Forstner bit and then elongated the holes towards the outside of the legs to allow for wood movement.

Step 11: Assemble Legs

Using whichever joinery method you landed on, assemble your legs. Try to avoid as much glue squeeze out as you can, because it will be tedious to clean up later.

Step 12: Cut Channel in Top Edges of Legs

A nice design option on the legs is to route a cutaway along the top outside edges of the legs. I cut mine roughly a ¼" deep by ¼" wide. This cutaway will give the top a floating effect when assembled later on. I just used the same router bit as before to do this.

Step 13: Drill & Tap Holes in Bottom of Top

As I mentioned earlier, I used tapped holes to attach the legs to the top. To tap the holes, I used the new Wood Whisperer Thread Taps, which are a pretty nifty little tool. To tap the holes, you pre-drill with the correct drill bit and then just run the tap into the hole. Super quick and very strong. I used ¼-20 1 ½" long bolts for my table.

Step 14: Finish Sanding & Apply Finish

I sanded all of the pieces up to 220 grit, removed the dust, then it was time to apply finish. This was my first time trying Minwax Wipe-On Poly, but it was a really easy to apply finish. I just wiped on a coat, let it dry for a few hours, sanded lightly with 320 to remove any rough areas, removed the dust, then repeated this step 3 to 4 times. The finish turned out great.

Step 15: Assemble Table

Assembling the table is super simple, just thread the bolts into the holes we tapped earlier and tighten them down. Leave the bolts towards the outside edges of the table slightly loose to allow for wood movement.

Step 16: Enjoy Your Live Edge River Table!

That's it! Hopefully your river table will turn out as nice as mine did, I am super happy with the final result. This is a great build to take your woodworking to the next level and I think this would be a great introduction to a number of new woodworking methods.

If you enjoyed this project, check out my website and YouTube channel to see more of my work. Hopefully you can share my stuff with your friends too! Thanks, and see you again next week with another project.

<p>So nice! Great work :)</p>
<p>Voted! :)</p>
<p>I wonder: Are ther silent water pumps. Could you make a real 'river' table?</p>
<p>I was thinking the same thing :) </p><p>It wouldn't take much to add some led lights and small fish such as neon's and you would really have something... I may try this.</p>
<p>Can you make this in one day? Or would you wait. Also I love this idea. Nice work! </p>
<p>If you try to make this all in one day it will look like garbage. Take your time and do it right. You'll be so much happier in the end. Remember this is something you'll be looking at for ten or twenty years, you don't want to be reminded of all the shortcuts you took, every time you sit down next to it.</p>
Alright. So I am guessing it takes a month or so to make? Cause I want to make this, it's just I have so many things going on, and it is kinda hard to keep at one thing for a month. You know with school, and after school programs.&nbsp;
<p>It took me a solid 20+ hours of work to produce. Just split it up into manageable sessions and you'll be good. </p>
<p>I agree. Split it up into managable sessions. Just tell yourself &quot;I will work on this every day from 1pm to 2:30pm&quot; and that will force you to set aside that time every day, just as though it was a job where you had to show up on time or get fired. Make sure you are ready to work exactly at 1pm and don't take any breaks until 2:30pm. You'll be surprised at how much you'll get done.</p>
Alright! Thank you so much!!
It would look neat if it had some type of water feature. Put another piece of glass on the other side and for the legs incase the pump and return lines. You would need to move the legs out and incorporate end caps. Put a good epoxy seal on the wood. Put some rock features on the glass. And of course the bottom glass would need to be angled some to get the water to flow.
<p>Looks very elegant. </p>
<p>Looks beautiful! Would love to try something like this some day :D</p>
<p>Nice work. I would like much more detail on how to make the template for the glass as this is the part I have been struggling with for a table I am making. </p>
<p>Absolutely beautiful. Very impressive build, and I'd never heard of flattening using a router jig before either (no jointer or planer here), so double thanks!</p>
<p>I checked the web site for ArtResin and read the MSDS information on it. As with all epoxy resins, there are warnings about developing skin irritation and lung irritation if exposed to fumes. You can't smell the fumes but they are there. </p>
<p>It's beautiful, and the techniques would apply to non-live edge tables (or put the live edge on the outside)</p><p>But the nature of coffee tables is to collect books and magazines. The only time it would be visible is when we have company.</p><p>Still, very cool.</p>
Beautiful and unique! Great piece of art and furniture.
<p>Very nice project and video. I wish I had some of your tools!</p><p>I make model airplanes and we often drill and tap holes to bolt the wings on. After tapping the threads we run superglue in the hole which hardens up the wood, and when dry we run the tap through the hole again. It makes a huge difference.</p>
I love you man! Okay, well, perhaps its the workshop?.<br><br>The table though is awesome!
<p>This is sooooo cool where can I find the glass?</p>
<p>He said he got it from a local glass company for 100 bucks.<br><br>I'm sure they used something insanely expensive to cut it, like a water jet cutter, so it's probably much better than trying to cut it yourself. Sometimes there is just no substitute for having a professional deal with it.</p>
<p>Jim, thank you for the reply... the issue is not the cutting, for me. He mention on the video &quot;blue plate glass&quot; and I search on line and didn't find anything like that.</p>
Contact your local glass company, the larger ones. Braumbergs ajax etc. <br>if they do not already have it they can either make it in shop or order it.<br>You can also get green glass and a few others.<br>
<p>Fantastic table! Well done</p>
<p>Thanks!</p>

About This Instructable

43,667views

366favorites

License:

Bio: Weekly how-to project videos about #woodworking, metalworking, and more. #Maker. Created by Johnny Brooke.
More by craftedworkshop:Scrap Wood End Grain End Table | How to Build Modern Live Edge Waterfall Coffee Table | How to Build Modern Maple and Steel Coffee Table | How to Build 
Add instructable to: