Instructables

Natural Rock Coffee Table

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This summer we refurbished our arbor and outdoor sitting area, and one improvement we made was investing in some high quality patio chairs. The complete set included a matching coffee table, but it was so expensive that we just got the chairs. This got us thinking about making our own coffee table to accent the chairs.

After some brainstorming, we decided that a natural rock table would look nice. The frames of the patio chairs are black metal, so we figured a simple black steel stand made out of square tubing would look good.

This rock coffee table is a great weekend project because it only takes a couple hours of work, and the result is functional and extremely professional looking. 

Another great thing about this project is it only cost about $60 in materials!
 
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Step 1: Choosing the Rock

On Saturday morning we headed over to our local rock supplier (Shamrock) and sifted through their flagstone selection. It took about 40 minutes to find a piece that was the right shape, size, and color. Our rock was 65 pounds and only cost 15 dollars. We also purchased some brush-on sealant because since we are using the rock as a coffee table, we didn’t want spilled drinks to stain it.

Step 2: Seal the Rock

Follow the instructions on the sealant and seal the rock. We got a water-based sealant and applied two coats with paint brushes. It was super easy to put on, and didn’t change the color or texture of the rock at all. The sealant definitely works because after we applied it, water droplets beaded up instead of absorbing into the surface.
Really nice table you have there. The three-leg design is particularly inspired; I have seen much wobbly patio furniture with four legs. Also, leaving the rock detachable probably makes it much easier to move.

I will probably be using your table design if I can get past the metalworking aspect. I am sure some oak legs could hold up a stone slab but I think the metal works better functionally and aesthetically here.
espdp211 months ago
Are there any sort of feet on those metal legs? I didn't see. They might scratch up your new brick pavers, but more importantly, there is that horrendous noise when you move the table. Eeek!
Sam DeRose (author)  espdp211 months ago
Thats a great idea! It never even occurred to me. I think McMaster's has some plastic tube plugs that would work well... Thanks for the suggestion!
hud200011 months ago
Hey Sam, are you in any of those pictures? And if you are, who are those other people?
Sam DeRose (author)  hud200011 months ago
Im the one in the green shirt and doing the spray painting. The other guy is my dad.
kinderdm11 months ago
This is gorgeous. Where do you find a rock supplier though. I didn't even know such a thing existed. Very nice work and for a great price too.
Sam DeRose (author)  kinderdm11 months ago
You could call some contractors and ask where they get 'flagstone' rocks to pave pathways, driveways, etc. Flagstone rocks come in big pallet bundles (as seen in the photos) but you can purchase individual pieces too.
shazni11 months ago
Lovely!..... Wonder if we have a rock supplier ??? We live in the city... And I have never seen such a supplier :-(
Sam DeRose (author)  shazni11 months ago
You could call some contractors and ask where they get 'flagstone' rocks to pave pathways, driveways, etc. Flagstone rocks come in big pallet bundles (as seen in the photos) but you can purchase individual pieces too.
juliadee12 months ago
Perfect, thanks! I don't know why I didn't think of this as a replacement for our rotting wood flitch. Adding to the honey-do list asap :-)
danzo321 juliadee12 months ago
flitch?
juliadee danzo32112 months ago
A longitudinal cut from the trunk of a tree, i.e. a slab of wood. Buy 'em from sawmills, use for tables, mantelpieces, etc.
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kinderdm juliadee11 months ago
Ooh, these look like an attractive alternative to the rock table, which I love btw. Its just that with small ones running around that table looks awful sharp on the edges. Wood could be rounded at the edges more easily. You said yours was rotting, if sealed how long could they last though?
juliadee kinderdm11 months ago
If you seal it and maintain it (reseal every few years) it should last a long time indeed. I've had mine for 10 years and I picked it up used - the previous owner probably had it for years too. It's been utterly neglected all the time I've had it, but is still usable, just looking a bit ratty. Could probably bring it back with a sander...
veruca_salt89012 months ago
So pretty! I want something like this in my house. lol Thanks for the instructable!
Beautiful!
binchen517712 months ago
Wonderfull. Great Job . Nice steps. Great
M.C. Langer12 months ago
That's awesome!
Sam DeRose (author)  M.C. Langer12 months ago
Thanks Mario!
Jenn_Baum12 months ago
Beautimus!!! Great work! Thx for sharing!
markc31012 months ago
My son welded me a stand for a naturally rectangular rock I found several years ago and we use it for a garden bench/patio table.
I couldn't see in your pics if you have a gap between the stone & the legs. Mine does and I have heck of a time keeping yellow jackets from building their hives in that hole.
Yours looks great!
Sam DeRose (author)  markc31012 months ago
The bottom of our stone slab is very flat. If there are gaps they probably are on the millimeter scale. Thanks for the heads up though, we definitely have yellow jackets in our yard so I'll keep an eye out for nests there.
r_harris2 markc31012 months ago
Maybe you could fill the gap with silicone caulk. It lasts a really long time in outdoor conditions, and it should be able to attach to both the steel and the unfinished underside of the rock.
danzo32112 months ago
Looks great. I seem to remember (making odd-shaped table) tracing the top, and figuring where the axes were (dividing lines the stone or slab would balance on). Anyway, decided legs did not have to be so close to the edges to be safe. I was working on irregular wood slab.
Sam DeRose (author)  danzo32112 months ago
Thanks! Yeah I was surprised how sturdy it is. We will be resting our feet and possibly heavy platters on it though so I think it was worth going a little wider with the legs.
blastedcelt12 months ago
Beautiful...the only thing I would have done would be to round off the pointed knee and shin grabbers on the corners. A couple beverages and I can see myself bumping into the corners and causing major bruises....just like the corners of the dishwasher when the door is down. Ouch....
Sam DeRose (author)  blastedcelt12 months ago
My mom voiced similar concerns, I think I'll be filing them down soon.
Eh Lie Us!12 months ago
Wow great work. Congrats on an awesome table!
Exocetid12 months ago
Professional looking? Good grief, you would pay through the schnoz for something like this at a high-end gallery. That table is gorgeous--FLW would approve.

I would have preferred a weld-less solution to the stand, though.
This is beautiful! It looks professionally built!