Introduction: Gaming Coffee Table With Hidden Vault

As a long time board gamer, I've always thought the custom gaming tables from sites like geekchic and were really cool, but having a game table already I never had a reason to make one. That is, until I needed a new coffee table.

The Idea here was to make a game table with shelving to hold games and a hidden vault so you can pack up a game if you have to stop midway through and still use the table. There's also a small shelf to put the planks on top while your using the vault section.

If you like this design, hopefully you'll be able to follow these steps and make one that looks just as good, if not better! I'm not the most experienced woodworker but I think this table came out pretty nice! I'd advise you play with the size a little as well. They say a coffee table should be roughly 2/3rds the length of your couch and around the height of the cushions if not a little lower. I made this to the specifications of the wallmart futon in my game room so unless you have one, feel free to tinker.


Here are the tools I used:

Miter Saw

Table Saw

Hand Saw

Electric Screw Driver

Wood Glue

Pocket Hole Plugs

Wood Putty

Stain + Polyurethane

Screws of the following sizes:

1 inch

1 1/2 inch

2 inch

For the wood I mostly used pine planks I got from lowes but really you could use kind whatever you like or what fits your budget. I'll just list the dimensions I used as I go through the steps to avoid repeating.

Step 1: Assembling the Base

I made the table so it breaks down into three parts for ease of moving. First we'll start with the base. I started by cutting the wood to these dimensions:

4 - 3x3 cut to 15 inches

4 - 1x2 cut to 39 inches

4 - 1x2 cut to 19 inches

4 - 2x2 cut to 22 1/2 inches

Once the wood was cut I used my jig to make pocket holes at the ends of the 8 1x2 and 2x2 pieces.

I attached two of the long pieces flush to the bottom of the 3x3s and the other two long pieces roughly 5 and a half inches from the top of the 3x3s.

I then attached the shorter pieces along the ends at the same heights.

Finally I screwed in the 2x2s at roughly equal distance to support the shelves.

I used 1 1/4 pocket hole screws for all these steps.

Step 2: Preparing the Posts

Now that the base is assembled we need to prepare the posts so we can snugly fit the table top onto it.

On the inside of each post measure out a 1x1 square and use a hand saw to cut 2 inches down as shown above.

Once we get the table top built it will slot right into these posts and sit firmly on top.

Step 3: Finishing Up the Base

Now it's time to add the shelves!

For these I cut 14 1x4s 45 inches long each. Unfortunately, my measurements were slightly off and I had to use my table saw to rip two of the boards slightly thinner. This can be avoided if you're not a goof like me and you plan your measurements better.

For the boards on the outside of each shelf, I measured the ends around the 4 posts and cut them to slot in snugly. I then applied wood glue and used a couple finishing nails on each plank to hold them down. The wood glue alone would probably be enough but I wanted to make sure they stuck.

Finally, the last thing I did was screw rubber feet onto the bottom of each corner to it wouldn't slide around and scratch up my floor.

Step 4: Making the Table Top

At this step we need to make the top that will sit on the base. We are building it deep enough that we can have a recessed vault area inside. I also wanted to give the outside a fancy tiered look.

Here's the wood I used during these steps:

For the inside frame

2 - 2x2 cut to 24 inches
2 - 2x2 cut to 41 inches

3 - 2x2 cut to 21 inches

For the main side boards

2 - 1x6 cut to 24 inches

2 - 1x6 cut to 45 1/2 inches

For the tier lip

2 - 1x2 cut to 22 inches

2 - 1x2 cut to 46 1/2 inches

For the rim

2 - 1x2 cut to 45 inches

2 - 1x2 cut to 27 3/4 inches

For the top planks

8 - 1x6 cut to 24 3/4 inches

I started by screwing the 2x2s together in a rectangle with 3 bracing 2x2s in the middle. This is where the sheet of plywood will sit.

I then used my pocket hole jig to put hole in the ends of the 24 inch 1x6's and connected all the 1x6's in rectangle which I then attached to the frame we just made. I screwed the inside of the 2x2 frame to connect the two.

Next I drilled through the inside to connect the first set of 1x2's so they would be flush with the top.

The last part of the actual solid table top was the rim, which I made drilling pocket holes in the back of the second set of 1x2's and connecting them with pocket hole screws. I attached this to the top of the table with wood glue and some well placed finishing nails.

FINALLY I cut the planks that would cover the vault area when not in use. I had a little gap at the end so I trimmed down a 1x6 on the table saw and chiseled a little notch in it to make it easier when removing the planks.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

There were two last things I needed to do to bring it all together, stain it and prepare the sheet of plywood that would sit in the bottom of the vault.

I used a hand saw to cut a 2x4 sheet of plywood down to 41 inches long. Then I used doubled sided carpet tape to attach soft shelf liner, cutting two rolls to fit. Last I stretched a roll of green velvet I got off amazon over it. I used a staple gun to secure it and once it was tightly on I cut off all the excess. Having this soft surface makes it MUCH easier picking up tokens and cards!

The last thing I needed to do was stain the whole thing and make it look pretty. I used Rustoleum stain + polyurethane in the golden oak color. I put three coats on and in between each coat I lightly sanded the whole thing down with 320 grit sandpaper and wiped it with a damp cloth to remove any bits. You could also do a single coat of stain and several coats of poly, but I'm lazy when it comes to this part.

Step 6: Assemble and Enjoy!

Once the stain had set up after a few days I lugged the three pieces up to the game room and assembled them. I didn't feel a need to secure the plywood vault bottom as it sat pretty flat and snug.

As you can see the table has enough room for most mid-sized games with 2-3 players. I set up the Viticulture board just to give you an idea.

You can use the small upper shelf to store the top planks when not in use and the lower shelf for board games (duh!).

I hope you enjoyed this instructable! This is my first so if you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them and I'll try to answer in a timely fashion. Thanks for reading!

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