Intro: Card Catalog Coffee Table
I wanted to make a coffee table that you could sit at with a chair, so I sketched out a few designs and settled on this one. The coffee table would look like a card catalog from a library, I hadn't really ever seen one like this, so off I went. Also if you like my instructable please vote for me. Thank You
The first step is to draw up a schematic or design of what you want it to look like. Next I decided how big I wanted the table to be. The rough dimensions are: 36" long x 22" deep x 21" tall, your dimensions will depend how you want it to look.
The next step is to start cutting up your pieces, I used 2x4's for my legs. They are cheap and you can cut them to what ever dimensions you want to. Then I cut down some 1x4's to 2 1/2" wide and cut them to length. After cutting up all the 1x4's and 2x4's, I assembled them in to a skeleton for the table.
The next step is to complete the rough out of the table. I put a piece of 3/4" plywood for the bottom of the table, and filled in behind the frames on the sided and back with 1x4's of varying widths ( gives it a unique design). Then I laid out the front with the false drawer fronts, this is probably one of the more important decisions you will make. This will determine what the front looks like, I decided to go with ten small drawers and two large drawers. After you decide on what size of drawers you want, make sure to space them out evenly so they will look good. My drawer fronts measured : small ones 5 1/2' x 5 1/2" and the large ones 8" x 16". I also laid out the drawer handles, this is what really gives it the library look. I found mine on ebay, I decided to go with two different sizes to give that look. I also chose different book categories and made small cards that slide in behind the handles (I would suggest gluing the labels to the handles).
The last step of the rough out is to mount the hinges, I mount hinges and all hardware before I finish a piece. The reason being that you can make a few adjustments and not worry about messing up your finish. This by far is the hardest part of the table. I made the lid out of five pieces of 1x material and framed them out with a 1" trim all the way around with the corners mitered. I made the lid where it would hang over by 3/4" all the way around. Next I mounted the hinges to the inside of the coffee table (side note on the hinges, there all different types of this hinge out there, I chose this kind so I could have the storage space. I bought from ebay they have various kinds and prices, they can be a bit pricey ranging from $150- $300.) In order to mount the hinge to the side of the table you will need to make sure that when it is in the closed position. The entire top of the hinge is level and flush to the top of the inside of the coffee table. Then you mount it to the side, now is the tricky part. If you look at the photos from the previous step, you see the middle drawer not nailed to the table. The reason so you can easily mark the hinge fastener holes on the inside of the lid. You fold the hinges to their closed position, then you align the lid evenly on top of the table. Then take some duct tape and tape the lid in place, now reach your arm through the hole and mark the holes. Take the hinges off the table and fasten them to the inside of the lid. Now refasten the lid and hinges to the coffee table. Your ready for the finishing.
You will want to fill in the nail holes with nail filler, then you sand with 80 grit sand paper. After you finish sanding wipe down or blown the dust off with an air compressor. Now your ready to stain or paint, I used stain and then finished it with danish oil. This will help to close the pores of the wood and to harden the top of the wood. Then I like to sand the danish oil with a paper sack, its the equivalent of 600 grit sand paper well about the equivalent.
The last step is to reassemble, since you have already mocked everything up. It should go together rather quickly. Now your ready to have a unique coffee table, that can be used as a dinner table or tv tray.