A long time ago I found my self in possession of far too many Free AOL CD's. Initially I did all the normal stupid things with them that we all did, but then I decided to aim higher, to use all the CD's in one giant project. And on that day the CD coffee table was born. After all what better way to win friends and influence people, not to mention seduce the ladies, then to have a one of a kind coffee table made out of AOL CD's.
Although the free ISP CD craze is thankfully over, you too can make your own table using your old audio CDs or perhaps all those old data CDs you burned that failed.
- A lot of CDs (My normal height table contains approximately 600 CDs).
- 4 12" Long half inch threaded rods. You can find these at most hardware stores, mine were near the garage door parts.
- 8 Bolts that fit on the Rods (2 each)
- Wood for your floor piece and the base of your top. You can use whatever size and type you want, mine is about ~5x3 with finished plywood on the base Baseboard molding used around the edges (To make it classy...)
- The sealant of your choice (I used EnviroTex, which worked great and has held up for 9 years thus far scratch free).
- A large container to mix sealant in (Thank goodness soda comes in such big cups....)
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Step 1: Prep Work
The first step to completing the table is ensuring you have the necessary materials ready, the hardest part being the CDs for the legs.
Start with one leg and screw one of the bolts onto one end of the Rod. Ensure you screw it on far enough that you'll have enough rod to slide through the table base later. Failing to do this now will result in a lot of work moving all the CDs up and down the rod later.
Once you have this done slowly screw the CD's onto the threaded rod. If you picked the correct size the CDs should turn right onto the threads and move down the rod. It will take a while to get all of them on, but don't try just pushing them down the rod, as this will chip the inside hole on the CD and result in wobbly CD's.
Once you get to the desired length of your leg screw a bolt onto the other end, hand tighten both bolts to ensure your CD's don't move during installation.
Step 2: Lots of Discs...
After your legs are done you can begin work on the table base and the base for your top. This can be relatively simple, the only key is that for both the top and the bottom you need to ensure you have a support piece that you can attach your legs to. Also as you are going to be coating your top with sealant it is helpful if you build a lip around the edge of the top to contain your sealant and ensure a clean pour.
In the case of my table there are 2x4's under the top (hidden by trim) that receive the ends of the rods.
This hole is key to installing the legs.
Once you have your top finished lay out the CD's on the surface and choose a design you like. Once you have it glue all the Cds down in your new design. I recommend the Cd's touch each other whenever possible as this will ensure they are all in a straight line once your done.
Step 3: Fun With Chemicals
Once you have your top completed and everything glued down prepare your sealant of choice.
Mine was a two part mix, but follow the directions for whatever sealant you use. For the desired effect it is key that your sealant allow you to pour a minimum of 1/8" (Or the height of a stack of 2 CD's whichever is greater).
Once your sealant is ready pour the entire table at once. To ensure I had clean edges I ran masking tape around the border of the frame. Once my pour was semi cured I removed this tape.
After you've applied your sealant follow manufactuer's directions for curing. Given the size and time you've taken up to this point I recommend you cover the entire piece with something to keep dust, cats, etc off of it.
Once that's done just sit back and wait, but try not to inhale as none of this stuff is really good for you.
Step 4: More Construction
Once your sealant is dry clean up any small messes or overflow.
At this point your ready to assemble your table.
Remove the bolts from one end of your rods and insert the bolt free end into the table base.
On the other side of the hole you drilled to accommodate the rod reapply the bolt to the rod and hand tighten.
Once you have all four legs inserted in the base repeat this process with the top. As a note the top will weigh more after you have sealed it, so be careful. Once you have the top and the bottom both on tighten all bolts by hand.
Do not over tighten the bolts as now that you have your CD's between the base and the table they will start to break if you apply too much pressure. If during construction or after your done a CD does crack just pull it off of the rod and discard it. As long as there aren't lots of missing CD's no one will notice.
Step 5: Maintaince
Most of the sealants will require very little work to keep them looking nice, but follow the directions on whatever you use.
By the way an unexpected plus of this table design is that the CDs them-self are relatively clear when you look at them in profile. As a result the legs allow light to pass straight through them. As a downside you can clearly see the rods, however this isn't undesirable.
Also the surface between it's CD content and high gloss finish will reflect a lot of light, and weeks after I was finished i realized my ceiling lights were being reflected right back onto the ceiling in a very cool circle pattern that matched the top of the table.
Final advice, make sure the table can be disassembled and put away when you meet a nice girl. As it turns out most women don't appreciate the fine art that is CD table.