Intro: Coffee Table
Life begins after coffee...
...and then we can make a super funky table to enjoy our coffee with!
This coffee table is straight forward to make, with most of the major cuts made with a sliding mitre saw.
I will guide you through the stages with a top tip on how to make the leg mortice + tennon joints super easily with the mitre saw...and with a little more sweat it can also be made by hand.
Finish your coffee and lets get started...
Step 1: WHY
Why timber and metal?
It looks cool...and I have been very fortunate to try out the Evolution Power Tool sliding saw that can cut timber and metal...at the same time!
Don't worry if you don't own one, as I will give tips on how to achieve as good results by hand or with other tools as we go along...
Step 2: Get Your Bits Together
The coffee table that I made was 375mm deep x 860mm long and 355mm high.
Change the size to what works for you.
Selection of timber strips for the top 45mm wide x 30mm thick - I used 5no. Oak, 2no. Maple and 2no. Utile [the dark strips 30x30mm]
Legs Maple 375mm long 50x50mm widest dimension
Shelf end Walnut 30x70mm 300mm long should do
Metal channel 3x35x35mm 2no. 375mm long
12mm Reinforcing bar [rebar] 9 no. 700mm long
PVA wood glue
Gorilla Glue - polyurethane glue sticks metal to wood!
Black spray paint
General wood working tools
General metal working tools
Wire wheel attachment for small angle grinder
Bandsaw or circular saw
Safety gear - goggles, mask, ear defenders
Step 3: Easy to Cut Mortice - TOP TIP!
Okay this is super easy way to cut out the mortice [socket] of the mortice + tennon joint for the legs.
The legs are splayed by about 10deg...and the mortice requires to be at an angle to match.
The reason to laminate up the top in strips, as well as looking good, is to be able to cut the mortice with the mitre saw.
Set the mitre saw to the 10deg and cut the Utile strip...cut again to the width of the tennon.
Set out the distance to the leg at the other end of the strip and cut out the mortice block...remember to reverse the angle so that the legs will splay out away from each other.
Repeat for the second strip of Utile.
Jump to step 11 if you want to see the magic of this easy to cut mortice...
Step 4: Glue the Top Together
I like to use timber biscuits to strengthen the joints of timber tops and it helps in keeping the top lined up when glueing together.
Cut the biscuits if using...and glue in as you put the board together.
Make sure that the leg mortice blocks are left UNGLUED...push the rest of the strip tight up to the blocks so that it is a snug fit.
Cramp the board together, leaving the blocks in place whilst the board cures.
Step 5: It's Got Legs...
Cut out the legs for the coffee table...
The legs are solid with a maximum width of 50mm all around at the shoulder of the leg [where it meets the underside of the table top]
The legs taper to 20mm all around at the bottom.
Cut the taper with a circular saw, bandsaw or by hand.
Make a simple jig with off cuts from shaping the legs to hold the rough sawn leg in place.
Sharpen up your plane and make the legs nice and smooth.
Step 6: Cut the Tennon
Mark the position of the shoulders of the tennon on the legs, this will be the same angle as the mortice block cut.
Set the angle on the mitre saw.
Place a square on the leg and and tilt the mitre saw to the square...now halve the angle and lock in place.
By halving the angle will make the shoulders sit square to the table top on both sides of the tennon.
This is now a compound cut...angles in two planes.
Before we cut the tennon lets trim the end of the leg...this compound cut will allow the leg to sit flat on the floor.
Step 7: Cut the Shoulders
Use a scrap piece of wood up against the fence of the mitre saw and screw on an end block that will give a accurate length cut for the shoulder of the tennon.
Flip down the depth stop lever and set the depth required for the tennon.
Cut the shoulders of the tennons...the scrap wood allows the cut to go the whole way across the leg.
Step 8: Trench!
Now to cut out the tennon...
Add a little wedge at the leg end of the jig to bring the centre line of the leg parallel to the mitre saw table.
Cut back and forth until the tennon has been cut...trenching.
Flip the depth lever into the up position and cut off the end over long.
Step 9: Clean Up
Clean up the tennon with a sharp chisel.
This tennon could easily have been cut with a hand saw and a chisel.
Step 10: Trim to Length
Now is a good time to trim the table top to length.
The board is wider than the mitre can cut in one...so make a cut half way...
...flip around...carefully line up the blade...and finish the cut
Step 11: Knock Out a Mortice
The magic of the top tip...
...carefully knock out the motice blocks from the table top...
...you now have perfect angled mortices that need no more work.
Plane one side of the tennons on the legs so that it is a consistent thickness to match the mortices
Dry test for fit.
Step 12: Breadboards
A breadboard on a table top is usually a piece of timber that is jointed and glued across the ends of the timber board to help keep the top flat...
...The steel channel will do the same job.
Cut the channel to the width of the table top...a hacksaw, metal bandsaw or angle grinder will do the job well...
...an Evolution mitre saw will do it also having just cut all the timber...it still amazes me that one saw blade can do it all
Step 13: Housing
Cut a housing in both ends of the table top to allow the steel breadboard to be fitted snuggly.
Cut the shoulder with the mitre saw and finish with a router of a chisel and mallet...
...shape the arris's with a plane for a snug fit
Step 14: Chamfer
Add a chamfer to the steel breadboard so the corners are not too sharp.
File or grind...or set a 45deg tilt to the mitre saw, clamp a block of wood as a stop guide and cut a nice chamfer all around the ends.
Glue the steel breadboards to the timber top...I use Gorilla Glue a polyurethane glue that will stick metal to timber and pretty much any other material.
To activate the glue the timber must be dampened with water.
Lightly clamp until cured so that the expanding glue doesn't push the breadboard out of position.
Cut off any glue that has foamed out of the joint.
Give the edges a sand...a belt sander works well for this.
Step 15: Wedgey
Mark out and cut the slots for wedges in the ends of the leg tennons
Angle them in a little to avoid splits forming in the leg and drill out the ends of the slots to help with this...maybe overkill though quick to do and will help.
Step 16: Wedges
Cut some contrasting coloured wedges...and glue and wedge the legs in to place
Step 17: Heavy Metal
What this coffee table needs is a shelf...from rebar!
It looks great when cleaned up and complements the metal breadboards...
...it is just cool!
Rough cut to length...
...clean up with a wire wheel...
...and seal with Briwax
Step 18: Shelf Ends
I chose to use a block of Walnut for the shelf ends.
The idea is for the rebar rods to poke through holes in the Walnut to be able to fix it to the legs.
Drill the holes for the rebar right through the block of wood.
Cut the block down the middle...this will make the holes line up nicely especially if you do not have a pillar drill for accurate holes...I don't.
Plane the angle of the legs onto the inner face of each piece...
...Glue the rods into the timber ends with some Gorilla glue
Step 19: Slices Like a Hot Knife Through Butter
I wanted to push the mitre saw to the limit and I cut the outer angled cut on the mitre saw...
...pack the rebar up so the shelf is laying flat and clamp in down for safety.
Don safety gear and taking it easy I cut right through the timber end and rebar rods...amazing.
As an alternative use a metal cutting disc and expect to do a bit more cleaning up as the timber will scorch...
...or cut the timber angle before gluing and then cut off the rebar ends when cured.
Finish off with a belt sander for a really cool look...the combination of shinny metal in the timber is great.
Step 20: Fit the Shelf
Cut the ends of the walnut ends to the angle of the legs...
...cut some scrap pieces of timber to position the shelf at the desired height.
I was going to pin the shelf to the legs with some rebar though decided that its diameter was just too large and went for some thin rod, wire nails...
...it turned out to be too thin visually, I should have gone for a thicker rod around 5mm to be more visually robust.
What ever size you go for, drill through the leg into the walnut, add some Gorilla glue, hammer in and clean off with a belt sander
Step 21: Spray
The coffee table is looking great...a couple of touches and it will be fantastic.
To reference the coffee theme spray paint the tips of the legs coffee black as if they have been dipped in coffee!...
...I tried dipping them in coffee...real coffee...it didn't work!
Text is so important to my work and it says it all...
Step 22: Hard...wax
Add your favourite finish to your coffee table...I like Hardwax Oil, easy to apply, enhances the timber and is hardwearing and allows for spills to be wiped away.
A bit of Briwax to the metal to stop it rusting...Done.
Step 23: Time for a Coffee!
After all of that work you now have a fantastic coffee table to enjoy having a coffee with...perfect.
I would like to thank you for getting this far and a big thank you to Evolution Power Tools for letting me test drive their new mitre saw...a great project and a great saw.
I am entering this project into the Pro Tips Challenge and if you have enjoyed this project, I would really appreciate your vote...thank you so much.
This project is part of my YouTube channel where I try to make cool and interesting projects.
Please check out my channel if you want to see more of the projects, if not there will be more coming to Instructables soon.
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Runner Up in the
Pro Tips Challenge