Instructables
Picture of NES controller coffee table
I saw a few NES tables around the internet and fell in love with the idea. However, they all fell in either the "not quite what I'm after", or "there's no flippin' way I'm paying that!" category.

I decided straight away that it didn't need to work as a controller...as I thought the novelty would become a bit old before too long. Instead I wanted something that was a bit subtle, looked good, and showed off some nice wood.

Here's how I made mine.....



 
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Step 1: Measure up

Picture of Measure up
First I got my trusty controller out and hit it with some digital calipers to get all the dimensions.

Step 2: Design

Picture of Design
Armed with the dimensions I draw up the face on AutoCAD, scaled it up to the size I wanted (about 1m long), and worked out some details for some basic designs.

I didn't stick too rigidly to the plan...I'm a bit of a geek though so it was important to me to get the top spot on.

Step 3: Let the build commence!

Picture of Let the build commence!
There's 3 colours on a NES controller...

Black - Oak
Grey - Maple
Red - Mahogany

I was thinking of using walnut for the black bits...but I really like oak!

First up I went to my local timber yard and selected some nice bits of oak, and got a few maple & mahogany offcuts too.

I cut the oak roughly to size, and fed it to my planer/thicknesser until I had some nice square bits of wood.

Then I glued it together using "Resintite" wood glue (kinda like Urea-formaldehyde adhesive), and plenty of clamps.

When dry the glue got scraped off and I had a good go at it with a belt sander.

Not pictured here...but I got some glass cut at this stage for the top (as I didn't trust them to cut it accurately enough later). Then I cut the oak panel to match the glass.

Step 4: Rebates for inlays

Picture of Rebates for inlays
I marked out where all the details on the top were to go, and found the center points of the radius' of the corners.

I drilled little pilot holes and drilled all the corners with a forstner bit. Then scored in lines between the edges of each corner with a sharp knife.

I then took out the bulk using my router at a depth of 4mm. All the rest was taken out with chisel & mallet.

A long day of chiseling later, and all the rebates were done!

Step 5: Maple inlay

Picture of Maple inlay
I took my maple and mahogany and ripped it as thin as I dared, then thicknessed it as thin as I could (just over 5mm).

With a lot of patience I shaped all the maple so it slotted perfectly into the rebates.

Then they got glued & clamped in place, and sanded flush with a belt sander.

Step 6: D-Pad

Picture of D-Pad
For the D-pad, I first thicknessed a bit of oak and made it into a little panel. It then got shaped to fit into the rebate.

It needed a 6mm maple edging though. So I made a template off it using a flush bit in my router, then I rebated off the template with a 6mm rebating bit.

I thicknessed some maple to 6mm and worked it to surround the cross.

Then glued...clamped....sanded flush

Annoyingly, the oak I used for the cross looked completely different from the rest of the tabletop. I recommend just making a 6mm channel and filling it with maple instead.

Step 7: Marking out letters

Picture of Marking out letters
Right....now for the dreaded letter detailing!

I found a NES font & nintendo logo and added them to my CAD drawing.

I put masking tape over everywhere there were words on the tabletop, and projected my drawing onto it.

Then traced around the projected words with a pen, and cut through the tape to score the letters into the oak.

This also provided me with a perfect template for the mahogany inlay.

Step 8: The road to madness

Picture of The road to madness
I chiseled the letters out by hand so they had about a 3mm rebate.

I then shaped the mahogany by hand to fit perfectly into the rebates....this took flippin ages...seriously, it was fiddly and delicate and almost drove me insane!

Everything got glued/clamped/sanded flush.

I'm really glad I took my time over this...came out really nice!

Step 9: A/B buttons

Picture of A/B buttons
For the red buttons I drilled the center points and defined the edges with an 87mm hole cutter in my drill.

The rebate was made using a router and a little chiseling.

Then I made some circles from mahogany by hand and they got glued/clamped/sanded flush.

The oak start/select button got done in a similar manner (sorry, not pictured)

Step 10: Maple edging

Picture of Maple edging
It all got a thorough sanding down to 240 grit, then a coat of sanding sealant, then down to 400 grit. Then finished with a clear wax.

Then I planed down the last of my maple, cut it to size, and mitred the corners. They were made to stick above the surface by 4mm so the glass should slip nicely into place.

They got biscuited and glued in place, with a bit of oak veneer in the corners cos I cut them too short....looks good though, lets just say I did on purpose eh?

Step 11: Table top done!

Picture of Table top done!
Some more sanding sealant and wax, and that's the table top done!

Step 12: Legs

Picture of Legs
I cut the oak roughly to size and planed/thicknessed it nice & square.

Then marked out the ends, and cut the mortices for rails...using a morticer. I then cut them to length.

I decided to put tapers on the legs, so made a jig for my table saw.

The tapers looked great...but left me with some scorch marks that took ages to sand out.

Step 13: Rails

Picture of Rails
I planed/thicknessed the oak for the rails, then cut to length, then cut tenons.

For the rail on the front I marked out where I wanted the draws and drilled all the way through with a forstner bit.

I then cut between the holes with a jigsaw to take out the bulk.

The edges were formed by tracing along a straight edge with a flush bit in the ol' router...then I spent too damn long sanding off the burn marks that left me!

Step 14: Drawers

Picture of Drawers
I had some pine for the drawers kicking about so I cut the back and sides, then cut channels for the drawer runner and base (6mm ply). I put a strip of ply across the front of the drawer to make things a bit easier later. It all got glued together & clamped.

I then made the runners for the drawer from some more softwood I had in the shed...I've always struggled with drawers in the past so totally over engineered em to give as little play as possible, but without being too tight.

Then I made the drawer fronts so there would be about 1mm gap around them and the face rail.

Step 15: Glue it together

Picture of Glue it together
The base got glued together, then the drawer rails glued in place.

I then sanded it down to 240grit, gave it a good coat of sanding sealant, sanded it down to 400grit, and waxed.

I glued the drawer fronts in place with the drawer closed so I knew they'd fit just right.

Last of all I attached a "push to open" fixing to the rear of the draw - you push it in a mm or so and it pops open by itself, meaning there's no need for for handles on the front.

Step 16: FINISHED!!!

Picture of FINISHED!!!
fin3.jpg
fin2.jpg
And there we go!

Right then...anyone want to commission me to make one for you?!

hickscustomfurniture@hotmail.co.uk


knukelhed1 year ago
Great job, what happens when I hit up, down, up, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start?
You get endless lives in Contra :-)
Or 30 extra wings appear before game time.
davemmanc1 year ago
This is amazing!
I am envious of your skill and free time.
alex2015291 year ago
Hey, if you ever one night wanted to use it as a controller you could hook it up to a Makey Makey and have a retro night.
I. Love. This. <3 <3
rendermatt1 year ago
Awesome!
Orkekum1 year ago
You could've made a secret stash under some of the buttons
HicksCustomFurniture (author)  Orkekum1 year ago
Great idea! Something for Mk2 I reckon.
I will look forward to that!
Oh, and have the buttons right way around next time?


(and i doubt you'd ship to finland, without a giant fee...)
I thought the surface was etched by a laser cutter. After reading all the steps. Thats some skills you have got and it looks amazing.
Lindie1 year ago
Nice!
Very nice work ....
Beautiful work!
superriku1 year ago
Amazing work!!!
Skullbot1 year ago
This looks fantastic except for one detail: You mixed up the B and A buttons!
HicksCustomFurniture (author)  Skullbot1 year ago
i know :( Can't tell you how gutted I was when i realised!
Ouch! But otherwise, yeah, great job.
This is so well done! I'm considering it as a geek investment, I'm in Canada though and the shipping would be a mint. Is this the same one you have for sale?
stncilr1 year ago
looks great!
HicksCustomFurniture (author) 1 year ago
Thanks for all the positive feedback! A lot of love went into the details, and I hope it shows.
lewisb421 year ago
Gorgeous piece! Makes me wish I had a thickness planer to do tabletops.
mr.frob1 year ago
Really great! Thanks for sharing!
hgarmorer1 year ago
I'm just jealous, you still have a system. Great table!
Sweet!
Whoa! That looks amazing! All of the details are just perfect!