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Build a Modern Coffee Table with Worldly Rustic Charm


After searching for a large scale coffee table that is both sleek and rustic at the same time, I finally found the one I wanted; that is, until I saw the price tag. It's not that I can't afford an expensive piece, it's that I simply can't justify spending ridiculous amounts of money on things that I know will most likely go out of style before you truly get your money's worth. The design of this table was not complex at all. In fact, it could easily be built in a weekend from start to finish. Even faster if you happened to have the time and really stayed focused! Come along as I show you how I built this beautiful piece that is both stylish and functional!


First, I took measurements of the exact amount of space I wanted a coffee table to take up between my two sofas. The table I had (see below) was just too small.


My plan was to build this table at 63" x 33". That would leave enough leg room to move around it but would also be easily reachable from both sofas on either side. I had spare poplar sheets in my garage leftover from a previous project so that is what I used for the top. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't use the poplar again. The table turned out so nicely that I wish I would've used a more high end type of wood for the top. There may be another table in my future for this reason!


I purchased some 1 x 3's for the edge frame. The only reason I needed these was because I wanted the table top to give the illusion that it was 2 1/2" thick. I screwed and glued them underneath the top and around the perimeter. Then I clamped everything down. One of the strips was a tiny bit warped (it's hard to find the ones that aren't in the big box stores) so I clamped it down to set overnight. I couldn't get the clamp as tight as I wanted it, so I clamped the clamp with another clamp! Try to say that 10x's quickly! Sounds crazy but it worked!




The next order of business was creating the box legs. Again, I wanted them to appear to be 2 1/2" thick like the top, so I doubled up each side with two pieces of wood. Using the 1 x 8's, I cut them down with the miter saw. I measured in 4 1/2 inches from each side and 8 1/2 inches from the ends. I used a Kreg jig to create the pocket holes and screwed them together. I also added wood glue for extra strength as well as some nails in each side length for a super sturdy base. Our family has been known to dance on the table a time or two, so this piece had to be ready for anything! I weighted down each side with some full paint cans.



This pic is one of my favorites. It shows how square each corner needed to be as well as the edge banding mitered at the corners to give the illusion of a 2 1/2 inch thick piece of wood.

After the legs were screwed on and glued in place, I let them completely dry before sanding everything down with a 120 grit sandpaper. I used tack cloth to catch all the dust and had to patch some nicks in the wood. The best way to fill little imperfections is to create a paste of sawdust and wood glue. It worked like a charm! I used some wood filler on another small area and in the end found out that was a big mistake. The wood filler didn't look uniform at all after adding stain over the top of it. Now I know. Every project is a learning journey and I'm getting better each time



Here is the piece after all the parts have been built, but without any edge banding. Isn't she pretty? I have a terrible case of "imposter syndrome" as a new builder/diy'er, however with each project, I'm gathering confidence.


Edge banding went pretty well except that it buckled a few times for no rhyme or reason. The good thing is that you can heat it back up with the iron and it just peels off if you make a mistake, which I did several times. I ordered it off of Amazon since Lowes and Home Depot didn't have the 2 1/2 inch in stock.

Picking a stain was the hardest part. My IG friends chose Minwax Golden Oak with Weathered Oak on top. I liked it too, so that's what I went with. I started by adding a pre-stain to separate the grains and allow the outer stains to really grab the wood. Then I brushed the Golden Oak on with a stain brush. By only applying to a small area, I could really control the look I wanted. As soon as it was brushed on, I dipped a lint free rag into the Weathered Oak and rubbed it over the Golden Oak. It really toned down that honey color and highlighted the wood grains.

After staining, two coats of satin polyurethane was added with a light sanding in between. It needed to dry at least 24 hours before it would be ready to style.


And then, the finished piece:




The inspiration for this table was $1500. My table, all in, was $140. Granted, I already had the table top, so if I had to purchase a large sheet instead of using what I already had, I'm sure it would've been almost $100 more. This is nowhere near what I would've paid for this beauty in a store or online. I love that it's custom sized and stained and looks made for the space- because it was! This table will withstand multitudes of feet on top during family movie nights, games during holidays, and dinners around the TV and I couldn't be happier with it. If you've decided to build a custom coffee table, I'd love to hear all about it. Leave your comments and follow for more DIY ideas and inspiration!











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