Build a Rustic Coffee Table




About: 1979-1983 Chief Engineer On a 1927 117 foot motor yacht in the Pacific Northwest. 1984-2000 General Building Contractor, Sausalito CA. 2000-Present Sr. IT Administrator , Comcast Silicon Valley Innovation Lab

My daughter wanted a new coffee table for her new place. I wanted to do a father daughter workshop project, perfect combination. She chose a rustic style Ann White Rustic X design. The material list and plans are Here. So I'll concentrate on the methods and tools we used.

Tools required:
Table Saw
Dado blade
Chop Saw
Drill press
Finish nailer (optional)
Cordless drill
Framing square
5/8" forstner drill bit
5/8" plug cutter
Hand saw
Pipe clamps
C clamps
Bar clamps

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Step 1: Plane and Rip the Lumber

We started by planing all the 2x4 and 2x6 lumber in order to clean it up and have everything the same thickness. We purchased 2x4's and 2x6's for the project. The 2x2's,  we riped from 2x4's to square the edges and then riped them in half. the 2x4's for the cross pieces we ripped to form a square edge on each side of the 2x4. (ripping lumber = cutting lumber to width on a table saw)

Step 2: Cut the Frame Pieces to Length

We used a chop saw to cut all the pieces with the exception of the 1x12 board for the shelf that we cut on the radial arm saw. They could easily be cut with a hand saw. The radial arm saw was cooperating more than usual, in that is was producing square plumb cuts for a change. I have a love-hate relationship with my radial arm saw.

Step 3:

Instead of using pocket screw joints on the sides of the frame we used rabbited joints. Cut the rabbits on the table saw using a Dado cutter. If your without a dado blade, you can use a saw blade, but it takes a bit more time.

Step 4: Glue Up the Side Frames

Glue up both side frames. We used Gorilla Glue, if you use this type of glue wet the joints first with water. During assembly use a framing square to check for square, if the frame is out of square loosen the clamp and adjust accordingly. Do not over tighten the clamp or the legs may kick up (ask me how I know).

Step 5: Assemble the Rest of the Frame

We countersunk the the screws with a 5/8" forstner bit, then pre-drilled through the legs. And used 3" deck screws to hold the frame together. Cut the plugs for the countersink holes with a 5/8" plug cutter. our plugs are made from some redwood burl I had lying around the shop. I used blocks and shims to hold the cross pieces to the correct height.

Step 6: Cut the X Pieces for the Ends

We used a miter gauge on my table saw set to 30 degrees to cut the x ends where they meet the table. the chop saw can cut the center joints. Back screw the X member to the frame. on the last piece I used 5 minute epoxy because I'm impatient and I did not want any screw heads to show.

Step 7: Attach the Bottom Shelf

We turned the table upside down on the floor and clamped 3 scrap 2x4's crosswise and laid the 1x12 pine on top of that then I glued and nailed 5/8x5/8 stops on the bottom to hold them in place.

Step 8: Attach the Top

Pre drill the top frame pieces, then screw the 2x6 top pieces on from the bottom. I know its a little tight to get a screw gun under the table... but this way no screws will be showing.

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5 Discussions


3 years ago

Can someone show the screw placement, not sure how to hide the screws when putting together


3 years ago

I'd love to have a large collection of woodworking tools. I have a hand drill, circular saw, and a hammer. I'm Cajun, so, as long as the table can hold what I put on it, I'm good. (grin)


4 years ago

Im building matching end tables too


4 years ago

very good work, thanks for sharing.


5 years ago

I love this and the way you disguise the screw holes is brilliant, I'm def going to use that one in future