Fire Pit Coffee Table

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About: Chip's Wood Shop is all about rewarding and enjoyable woodworking projects and ''use what you have''solutions to make all kinds of fun and useful things. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Asso...

Once again, my wife had a vision, and I was inspired to bring it into being. We wanted a space on our new patio for friends and family to visit around the fire and have a place to set drinks and snacks. Also, this table keeps little hands away from the hot metal.

Tools

  • Miter Saw:
  • Clamps:
  • Ratcheting Tie-downs:
  • Cordless drill:
  • Forstner bit:
  • Auger bit:
  • Biscuit Joiner:
  • Disc Sander:

    (I use my Shopsmith for this)

  • Sanding block:
  • Belt Sander:
  • Orbital Sander:
  • Painting pads:
  • Brad Nailer:

Materials

  • Dimensional lumber, preferably kiln dried - sizes will vary with plans, but I used (in inches):
    • 2x4: 7 8-foot boards
    • 2x6: 4 8-foot boards
    • 2x8: 2 6-foot boards
  • Exterior wood glue:
  • 4 casters:
  • Exterior Stain:
  • Exterior clear coat:
  • 3.5-inch deck screws:
  • 2.5-inch deck screws:
  • Biscuits:
  • Wood Filler:

Step 1: Plan Around Your Fire Pit

You don't really have to model your fire pit in CAD like I did here, but you do need to make sure you size your table to fit around it. Our fire pit is about 34 inches in diameter and has four legs, so I made space for them to rest on the cross beams in my design with a few inches of space around the bowl to keep the wood from getting too hot. I attached drawings as images, as well as .pdf format, in case you want a cleaner copy for printing.

Step 2: Cut the Spokes

I left the spokes extra long initially so I could tweak the pointed ends a little. I set the "roll" angle of the miter saw and cut to pencil marks. Then I scribed the center line on top as shown in the first photo. Then I set my table to 22.5° and sanded each side until the point was on the line. After I was satisfied with the points, I cut the pieces to final length.

Step 3: Cut the Remaining Pieces Out According to the Plans

All the pieces are stock width. Most of the pieces have angles on the ends, so I used my miter saw to cut them. To get my angles satisfactory, I used a method I explained in another instructable to set up the miter saw. At this point I omitted the large radius inside the inner top pieces. I later decided to leave them straight, because I liked the way it looked.

Step 4: Cut Notches to Fit the Cross Beams Together

I measured and scribed a notch in the center of each cross beam half the width deep. I cut them partially with the miter saw then removed the rest of the waste with a chisel. Then I fitted the pieces together and drilled a .25 inch hole through the center. Finally, I joined them with a Carriage bolt, washer and nut.

Step 5: Pockets for Screws in the Legs

I'm not sure this is all that important of a step, but I wanted to secure the legs to both top pieces, so to get a screw in from underneath, I put one pocket hole in each leg so I could drive in a screw that could reach the inner top piece later. I started these holes with a forstner bit, then bored them the rest of the way with an auger bit. The location of the hole is approximately as shown.

Step 6: Cut Pockets With the Biscuit Joiner and Assemble

I cut two pockets on each of the spokes to match a pocket on the end of each top piece. I cut two more pockets on the outer edges of the outer top pieces and on the mating side of the outer rim pieces. I assembled the table upside-down on a flat surface, except the outer rim, which I left for later. I assembled the spokes and top pieces with exterior wood glue and biscuits. I wrapped the octagon with a ring of ratcheting tie-downs to clamp it together. Then, while the glue was still fresh, I whacked the pieces a bit with a rubber mallet until I got them aligned as best as I could. Sorry I don't have a great photo of this activity, so I inserted a view of my CAD model at this stage of the build, and I did get a good shot of the racoon that was watching the assembly process from our avocado tree.

Step 7: Attach Legs and Supports

While the table was still upside-down, I attached the legs on either side of each tall spoke with deck screws. I put one screw in each leg near the outside edge down into the top piece. As mentioned before, I also put a screw through each of the deep pockets I had bored earlier into the other top piece. I also put screws in from the side through each leg into its spoke. Then I screwed the supports into the top pieces and added a screw through each end into the adjacent leg as shown. Finally I attached the cross-beam between the legs with screws.

Step 8: Sand and Stain the Top

I added wood filler to cracks and gaps and sanded the top with the belt sander, starting with 36-grit to get it nice and flat, then worked up to 80 grit to get it smooth. Then I switched to the orbital sander and smoothed the top starting with 80-grit and working up to 220-grit to finish. Then I cleaned off the dust and applied stain to the top. To get between the top pieces, I cut the ends of painting pads and applied the stain to the inside edges as shown.

Step 9: Fit Outer Rim Pieces

I rough-cut the outer rim pieces a little oversize and adjusted them to fit with the disc sander and the table tilted to 45 degrees. I drilled a hole in the center of the side for a temporary screw later.

Step 10: Attach Outer Rim

I ended up using only one biscuit for each outer rim piece.

For each piece, I applied exterior glue and fit a biscuit in the left side only. Then I clamped the free end too the previous piece as shown and moved on to the left. After all the pieces were installed, I used screws to temporarily clamp each piece down where I had previously drilled through the center. I also added a little security with the brad nailer: I shot a couple brads into each end of the outer rim pieces "toe nailing" them to one another. After the glue dried, I removed the screws and filled the holes with wood filler.
Finally, I sanded the unfinished surfaces, applied stain and clear coat, and attached the casters to the legs. Done! Ready to roll into position and insert the fire pit!

Step 11: P.S.

If you liked this project, please vote for me in the Furniture Contest!

My instructable on the benches in these photos is here.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel.

If you like this style of step-by-step instruction, please share with
others and subscribe, so you'll be notified when I post more. If you have questions, please post them in the comments. I will try to answer and probably update the instructions, too. Read about more of my woodworking projects and tools at ChipsWoodShop.com.

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    3 Discussions

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    mjb816

    7 weeks ago on Step 11

    Are you worried about fire on the sides or bottom next to the wood frame? I'm thinking the bottom needs a metal arm with an air space.

    Also, your link to ChipsWoodShop is missing a " : " . Should be http://.

    Thanks for a great looking project.

    2 replies
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    ChipsWoodShopmjb816

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I was concerned about isolating the table from the heat of the fire pit. That's why I ensure a couple inches of space between the pit and the table all around. As for support, my fire pit is supported by a steel frame with four legs. Only the feet of the legs make contact with the wood frame.

    0
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    mjb816ChipsWoodShop

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Thanks! I have an old firepit that sat in a ceramic frame thats falling apart. I'll probably adapt it to your frame.

    Thanks!