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Coffee tables are magnets for clutter. Traditional living room litter -- magazines and beer cans -- have now been joined by a bevy of digital detritus. Mindful of this problem, I built this coffee table as a wedding present for two old friends who live in a small apartment on the outskirts of New York city. Made from salvaged Douglas Fir, it features a wide laminated top and a slatted shelf for stashing those everyday artifacts. The top, slats, and legs all push and pull past one another, creating an understated visual rhythm equally at home in a modern or traditional room.

Simple lap joinery and pegged-screw connections make this a relatively straightforward, intermediate-level project. It took about 30 hours and cost $25, primarily in sandpaper, finish, and brushes. Prime old-growth salvage lumber like this usually goes for about $1-2 a linear foot if you have to buy it.

If you dig this project (and I hope you do!) please toss a vote my way in the Woodworking Contest! Your support is why I keep posting to Instructables and dreaming up new projects to share.

You will need these tools:

- Table saw

- Circular saw

- Drill/driver with countersink bit

- Thickness planer

- Chop saw

- Orbital sander

- Block plane

- Putty knife

- Disposable putty knife

- Sanding block

- Chisel

- Mallet

- 6 36" bar clamps

You will need these materials:

- At least 25 linear feet of 2x10 Douglas Fir, old-growth pine, or similar

- Wood glue

- 80, 100, and 120 grit sandpaper

- Epoxy

- 3/8" plugs or 3/8" dowel cut into 3/4" chunks

- Handful of 1-1/4" #8 drywall screws

- Handful of 2" #8 drywall screws

- Clear brushing lacquer (or polyurethane)

- Wax

- Rags

- Latex gloves

Step 1: Laminating

I found these 2x10s in the basement of an old building. Some had suffered some water damage; others had soaked up some heating oil. That said, all in all, they were pretty straight, having been stored flat.

Cut the 2x10s into 5 5'-long blanks with a circular saw. Thoroughly inspect for nails, screws, or staples and remove. Rip the edges off of four boards on the table saw. Lacking a jointer, I cut 1/2" off of one side; flipped the clean side against the fence and cut off a 1/4"; then flipped and cut off another 1/4" twice more, until the board had lost a total of 1-1/4" in width. The flipping and alternating cuts is a quick-and-dirty way to clean up and straighten edges.

Cut the fourth and fifth 2x10s into 1-1/2" strips entirely.

Feed the 8"-wide boards through the thickness planer until both sides are clean and smooth.

Set the three wide boards up on cauls on a workbench or other flat surface. Puzzle the boards together until the gaps seem to fit tightly. Alternate the end grain so that it shows smile-frown-smile. This will keep movement to a minimum over time. Coat running seams with a thin, even layer of wood glue, push together, and clamp. Alternate clamps over and under the boards to prevent bowing.

Once glue has cured, set up a straightedge and trim the wild ends off. This table ended up being 24" x 48".

@Winged Fist. I did enter the Wood Contest, just took a little time to make it past the moderators. Please toss me a vote if you enjoyed it!
<p>Finalist :D</p>
<p>Great Instructable! Do you think the same plan could be used to make a dining sized-table? Thanks!</p>
Nice job!
<p>Fantastic table and fantastic 'ible! Really well written and documented! But why haven't you entered it in the &quot;Wood Contest&quot;? Looks like a winner to me;-)</p>
Great job!this was very easy to understand you explained it very well nice work man!!!
<p>Nifty ! lol Good Tut on the dato, Great job !</p>
Nice work! beautiful piece.
<p>Wow! This looks really cool and helpful. It looks like you did an awesome job on this, and thanks for sharing it with the community! Your photos are great, and you did a great job explaining your process. Totally nice job!</p>

About This Instructable

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Bio: Furniture hacker. Author of Guerilla Furniture Design, out now. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @objectguerilla.
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