Introduction: The Ultimate Coffee Table

Have you ever been working on homework or playing a board games with friends and think, "Man I wish i had a big enough and strong enough table to hold everything"? I did and I decided to do something about it. I used to work construction so I had all of the required tools and knowledge to build one, so I took some time to design what I consider, "The Ultimate Coffee Table".

After collecting all of the materials, cutting and assembling the table took me around 3 hours . I know I could make it faster, but I took my time to document each step. Depending on your skill level, I would assume it would take you the same amount of time to build this table. If you have never touched a tool in your life and don't know how to use a tape measure, it will probably take you quite a bit longer.

The Cost of this table, assuming that you have your own tools, will be right around $40. This may vary depending on where you buy your materials, I bought mine at Lowe's.

If you do not have all of the tools to complete this project, which are listed in the first step, I would recommend asking a friend to borrow their or else you will be spending anywhere between $70-$330. This will vary depending on the quality of the tools.

Tip: Make sure that you have a flat, level surface to assemble the table on.

Step 1: Gathering Your Materials

Lumber : (Prices vary by store)
1-12'x2"x6", Pine
1-16'x2"x4", Pine
1- 3/4"x24x48, Stain Grade Wooden Panel
Recommendation: If you do not have a truck to haul the lumber to your house you can ask to get the 12' 2"x6" and 2"x4" boards cut into two 6' studs to fit them into your vehicle.

54-2 1/2" torque screws ($6.93+tax for 87 screws)

Tools: (Price of my tools)
Tape Measure ($15)
Drill ($200)
Star drill-bit (will come in box of Screws)
Circular Saw ($100)
Square ($5)
Safety Glasses ($10)

Step 2: Cutting Safety

When cutting with a saw there are some safety measures you should follow.
1. Always wear safety glasses when cutting material
2. Never place fingers in path of the saw.
3. Always make sure the power chord is in a dry location and is not frayed.

Step 3: Cutting the Frame

The frame is made out of 2"x6" lumber and consists of two sides, one front and back, and 4 braces.

Cut from 12' 2"x6" Board:
2 @24" Boards (front and back) (A)
2 @45" Boards (sides) (B)

Cut from 16' 2"x4" Board:
2 @24" Boards (braces) (C)
2 @6" Boards (braces) (D)

Step 4: Cutting Tabletop (E) & Laptop Shelf (F)

Cut the wooden panel to length. 2"x6" boards are technically 1 1/2"x5 1/2", so to determine the size we need to cut the panel to we need to remove 1 1/2" +1 1/2"=3" from the length to allow it to fit snugly into the frame.
Cut tabletop to 24"x45"

You will be able to use the scrap from the wooden panel to make the shelf to hold your laptop under the table. This piece will be attached to the two long supports, which will be 15" apart on center to fit any size laptop. The scrap piece will be 6"x24".
Cut the scrap piece to 6"x16 1/2" to make the shelf.

Step 5: Cutting the Legs (G's)

To make this table extremely sturdy and eliminate the possibility of it swaying once it is build, I put two sets of legs in each corner, creating a 90 degree angle. The length of the leg can be adjusted if you would like to make your table sit either lower of higher. If you decide to make the table taller, however, you will need to initially purchase a longer 2"x 4" board.

The leg height I used and would recommend, was 17". To make the legs, cut eight 2"x4" pieces at this length.

Cut from remainder of 16' 2"x4"board:
8-17" Boards (legs)

Hint: Make sure all of the legs are EXACTLY the same length to ensure that the table is level when completed.

Step 6: List of Pieces

A- Front and back of frame
B- Sides of frame
C- Center supports
D- Edge supports
E- Table top
F- Laptop shelf
G- Legs

Step 7: Assemble Frame (A & B)

All of the pieces are cut to the correct, length so now it is time to put it all together. To assemble the frame start by laying out the pieces as shown below. Place the A 's on the ground so that they are parallel to each other and the B 's are perpendicular to them, on the very edge of the A 's.

Start 3 screws, evenly spaced vertically, 3/4" away from the edge of the frame. Place the square in the corner and ensure that the two boards are snug against the square, making a 90 degree angle.

Drive the screws into B while pushing B down onto A to ensure a tight fit.

Repeat this step for the remaining 3 corners of the frame.

Tip:To easily space screws, use width of the square for a even 1 1/2" spacing.

Step 8: Install Center Supports (C's)

Now that the exterior of the frame is assembled, place the table top (E ), in the bottom of the frame.

Measure horizontally along either A, from the inside edge of a perpendicular B , 12 3/4" and make a mark. Place the right edge of the square on the measured and the handle tight against the table top. Make lines on both sides of the square, perpendicular to the table top.
Start two screws on the outside of the frame, in between the lines you just made, 1 3/4" and 3 1/4"(width of square) from the top of the table. Measure from the ground since the table is upside down. Measure 12 3/4" and start screws for the other end of board before inserting board C .

Place board C in between the lines. The fit should be snug since C is the same length as B . Make sure that the board is between the lines, which will make a 90 degree angle with the table top.

Drive the screws into board C while pushing C down onto E to ensure a tight fit.

Repeat Step 7 for the other C on the opposite side of the table.

Step 9: Install Edge Supports (D's)

Measure 9" horizontally along either B , from the inside edge of the perpendicular A . Measure 9" horizontally again, along the same B , from the opposite A .

Place a D vertically in between the two marks. Start two screws, staggered and angled so the drill can reach the screw, as show above. Screw the two screws into D while pushing D down onto E to ensure a tight fit.

Repeat Step 8 on the inside of the opposite B .

Step 10: Secure Table Top (E's) Onto Frame

Flip the entire table over so that E is on top of the supports. If you pushed down on the supports while screwing them in, E should be flush with the top of the frame, A &B .

Measure 3/4" into the table top E, from center of each edge of the supports C&D .

Drive screws into measured mark.

Repeat 5 more times until you have E secured.

Step 11: Attach Legs (G's)

Flip table back onto its top to attach the legs. Set the first leg into a corner where A and B intersect. Butt the wide side of G up against B and butt the narrow side of G up against A.

Start two screws in the bottom of the leg, staggered and slightly angled (approximately 30 degrees) away from the table top.

Use square to ensure that the leg is perpendicular to the table top and also parallel to B . Drive the screws through G , into B. This will help with the strength of the table since the legs will be straight.

Repeat this step for the remaining 3 corners.

Once the first set of legs is in repeat the step again, except this time butt the wide side of G up against A and butt the skinny side up against the first leg you installed. Also, make sure that the second set of legs are parallel to A as well and drive the screws through G, into A . This will ensure that the legs make a 90 degree angle and minimal, if any, wiggle room.

Step 12: Attaching Laptop Shelf (F)

Measure and mark 4" from both intersections of back A and C's . Place edge of shelf F on marks so that the edges are flush with the outsides of both C's .

Drive a screw into each corner of F , offsetting each screw 3/4" from each edge of the shelf.

Step 13: Completed Table

Flip the table back over and set it up on its legs.

Step 14: Conclusion-Additional Modifications

Once I had completed my original table, I make a few additions to make this table truly unique. I had one of my artistic friends burn my Fraternity's letters into the table top after I had sanded it smooth. I then applied 7 layers of clear coat to help maintain the wood and keep it from absorbing liquids. Later on I got sick of always having to plug and unplug my computer's charger from behind the couch, so I mounted a power strip underneath it. Once I had power to my table I installed a LED rope lights underneath the table, which allows me to know whether or not the power strip is on and charging my laptop under the table. The lights, which I initially installed during the Christmas season, also gives the table a nice golden glow.

Make It Glow Challenge

Participated in the
Make It Glow Challenge