In this Instructable, I'll walk you through how to build a DIY plywood coffee table using a single sheet of plywood. This project was built with my two co-hosts from the Crafted Podcast while attending the Skiatook Adventure Video Woodworkers 2017 event in Skiatook, Oklahoma this past weekend. Let's get started!
Don't miss the video above for a lot more information!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Materials Needed For DIY Plywood Coffee Table:
- 1 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood : Home Center (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.)
- 1 Gallon Wood Glue : http://amzn.to/2rbzABf
- (Optional) ~ 200 1 1/4” Brad Nails : http://amzn.to/2uaTHwU
- 1 Quart Wipe-On Poly : http://amzn.to/2tgF7Yp
Tools Used On DIY Plywood Coffee Table:
- DEWALT Flexvolt Table Saw : http://amzn.to/2tgC4iz
- DEWALT 20V Max Miter Saw : http://amzn.to/2si5fwY
- DEWALT 20V Max Brad Nailer : http://amzn.to/2rXD47k
- Stanley Sweetheart Low Angle Jack Plane : http://amzn.to/2rY3RQU
- Stanley Block Plane : http://amzn.to/2udFAY3
- Triton Triple Blade Planer : http://amzn.to/2rXuhCs
Step 2: Breaking Down the Plywood
This coffee table is built from a single sheet of 3/4" plywood. I opted for Birch plywood from a local home center. This has a nicer looking veneer and generally means fewer gaps between the layers.
Before leaving the home center, I had them break down the 4 foot by 8 foot sheet into four 2 foot by 4 foot pieces. At the event, I used the table saw, to rip pieces into 2 inch strips. You could use a circular saw with an edge guide for this operation if you don't have access to a table saw.
Once everything had been ripped to 2 inch strips, I cut them to length on the miter saw. The layers of the table will essentially be box joints once glued up. This method creates a really strong connection between the legs and top without requiring any fancy work. To do this, every other strip is cut 4 inches shorter than the adjacent strip. To keep them all the same length, I used a stop block on the miter saw stand.
I have more detailed plans available on my site which include exact measurements if you'd like to build this for yourself.
Step 3: Glue Up
With everything cut to length, it's time to assemble. This is pretty straightforward, but we have to make sure the first layer is square. Keeping each layer after that lined up, the table will end up square.
We first laid out one layer, using a short top piece and two long leg pieces. I put on glue, then laid down the next layer, alternating to a long top piece and short leg pieces. Staggering the seams gives this joint plenty of gluing surface and strength.
I continued building the layers, gluing each layer and using brad nails to keep them from slipping around. You could use screws to hold the layers together if you don't have a brad nailer. Once all the layers were glued together, we used clamps to close up any remaining gaps. While waiting on the glue to dry, James used epoxy to fill voids in the plywood.
Step 4: Flatten, Trim, Chamfer, Finish
After the glue and epoxy had dried, we began flattening to the top and sides. We used an electric planer and a hand plane for this process. A belt sander would also give you similar results. Once flat, we used a circular saw and carpenter's square to trim the legs. We also put a chamfer on all the edges using a block plane.
Prior to applying a finish, we sanded all of the surfaces to 220 grit sandpaper with a random orbit sander, then signed the bottom of the table. We used three coats of wipe on poly for the finish. The edge grain of the exposed plys soaked up a lot of finish, and it took a whole quart of wipe on polyurethane. After the finish dried, the coffee table was complete.
Step 5: Enjoy
I hope that you enjoyed this build. It was really simple to make and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Again, I have DIY Plywood Coffee Table plans available on my website.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below! Thanks again for checking out my Instructable and, if you liked this project, make sure to check out my YouTube channel and website for a lot more where that came from.
- Johnny Brooke
onkelhugo made it!