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Coffee tables, in general, are a modern concept. They are, like Starbucks, a creation of our dependency of Java. Where there coffee tables in the days of yore? Well, I have no doubt that there were. Were they called coffee tables? Were they, in essence, pre-configured for the purpose of being knee high so you could place your napalm adrenaline juice? Ehh, who knows… For the sake of this article, we will render that awe-inspiring mute; no even give it a second glance. With that tidbit in place, let’s warm ourselves around some murky gray areas, and place our derrières on that fantastic area that is MODERN TIMES.
Characteristics of a Modern Coffee table:
- Minimalistic design.
- Straight curves.
- At the most two different construction materials (aside from screws, paste, and whatnots).
1. The Low Profile Coffee Table
Coffee tables, to some, are vanity pieces. They are at their core, by their own definition, a placeholder for your coffee. A way of telling everybody: “hey, look, I’m such a big-shot that my Cup O’ Joe deserve its own throne!”
Well, some of us, at least some, believe that such extravagances should not be highlighted; why go all Liberace when a simple piece will do?
- 3/4” Pine Plywood
- wood filler
- Wood Glue container
- Table saw Ridgid R1512
- Circular Saw
- Miter Saw
- Pocket hole jig
- Nail Gun
- Heavy duty Staple gun
- Orbital sander
Related: 18 Different Types of Lumber
- Measurements are key in this DIY. If it’s not your strong suit, then add a cm’ or two for wiggle room; shave those extra suckers during final cut.
- Fabric for the underside gives this piece an expensive look; it adds a bit of sparkle. As such don’t skimp out on it, even if you think it’s overkill.
- You might consider placing a piece of tempered glass on top.
2. Modern Maple and Steel Coffee Table
A doozy of a project. A two video tutorial that will have you at home, scratching your head and thinking: “Why the hell did I get myself into this mess?” Is it worth the endless nights? Is it worth the nightmares? The stress? The worry? You betcha’! Just look at the finished product, your friends will want to be you, and their wives will want to be with you; wink, wink, wink.
- 65 board feet of Hard Maple, or 6 2x10x8′ boards
- Wood Glue
- General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Polyurethane
- ¾” Threaded Rod, 4 x 29″ lengths
- ¾” Hex Nut x 8
- ¾” Flat Washer x 8
- Dewalt 20V Max Impact Driver
- SawStop PCS 1.75-HP Professional Cabinet Saw
- DEWALT FLEXVOLT 12″ Compound Sliding Miter Saw
- Supermax 19-38 Drum Sander
- DEWALT DW621 2-Horsepower Plunge Router
- DEWALT DW682K 6.5 Amp Plate Joiner
- 8 Inch Jointer
- MIRKA DEROS Sander
- DEWALT TrackSaw
- Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane
- If you are not a welder, then by all means either by the bases or supplant with some legs.
- Precut everything.
- Burnish the bolts for that extra sparkle.
3. The Mid-Century Modern Coffee Table
Build from scraps and a single sheet of plywood, the BIG selling point of this build is the fact that you can recycle all those leftovers from other DIY projects. It’s a beautiful piece that’s relatively easy to build. Plus, IT HAS DRAWERS!!!!
- 3/4″ Sheet of Maple Plywood
- Dark Walnut Stain
- Semi Gloss Polyurethane
- Tools: saw, drill, and sander.
- Play with the height of the legs. The tutorial makes a case for 16” legs, but that only works for couches or sofas that sit bit higher than the norm. Measure your futon, or your sitting contraption and work from there. Too tall and your whole set will be out of whack, too small and you’re in the same boat. Measure twice, and then just for kicks, measure a third time.
- Use a simple interior latex paint. You pick the color.
4. The Two Tool Wonder
This modern design only needs two tools in order to be brought into life. Just two… sounds simple, right? WRONG! This is a challenging piece that will test your woodworking skills. Watch, re-watch and then memorize video; it’s chock full of tips for the would be carpenter.
- Incra T-Rule (the marking square thing)
- Arm R Seal Urethane Top Coat
- Gorilla Gripper (for carrying plywood)
- Plywood sheets
- Be creative with the legs. The video used hairpin legs, that doesn’t mean you have to.
- If you’re not a fan of raw dowels and plywood edges, then a simple edge cutter or iron will give the whole piece a more “finished” less rustic look.
1. Rustic Coffee Table
Two things will make this video stand up above the rest. One: you see the presenter? I’ve decided that she’ll be the future mother of my children. Two: this rustic beast is transportable; nifty little wheels underneath. Oh, and for those with a bit of belly flap peaking over your belt, get ready to blast those abs!
- Caster Wheels
- Trim Head Screws
- Wood Filler
- Sanding Blocks
- Miter Saw
- Drill and Impact Driver
- Precut everything.
- If you’re only going to dabble in DIY once, and this is your piece, then don’t buy jigs and clamps. Go and ask a neighbor or a friend.
- If you want it to look vintage, distressed and like it’s been in a war zone then beat up the wood and 4x4s.
- Wait for everything to dry.
- Propose marriage to the presenter.
2. Easy Recycled Timber Coffee Table
For a couple of bucks and some basic DIY skills you can now own a simple, firm and nice-looking coffee table. The trick to this piece is to haggle; to name prices, auction off and come to an understanding with your local lumber yard employee.
- Finished using Danish Oil
- Glued together with TitebondII
- Table Saw
- Random Orbital Sander
- Battery Drill
- Circular Saw
- Read the finished article with excellent words of profound wisdom: ThirstyCraftsman.com
- Try supplanting table tools for handheld tools.
C. Vanguard Pieces
1. Just a Slab Of Wood Coffee Table
“Holy Moley,” you go. “Last nights storm was a rough one.” out your window you stare, glaring back, a scene plugged straight out of the Apocalypse. All around across your neighborhood crews – your tax dollars at work – are cleaning up “El Niños” hissy fit. All manner of woodworking tools making a symphony… This, my friend, is the perfect DIY storm; wood, of all manner and shape, sitting on the sidewalk ready for your greedy little hands. Grab the car, fast, and start scouring your neighborhood for gold.
- 16″ Hairpin Legs by industrial By Design
- Watco Natural Danish Oil
- A slab of wood
- Bug-spray that sucker down; God only knows the sleeper cells it has in its underbelly.
- Sand your discovered treasure to a nice smooth veneer.
- Follow instruction at https://www.modernbuilds.com/modern-live-edge-coffee-table
2. Glass, Wood and Metal
Glass, wood, metal, oh my… Toss a bit of ceramics into the mix and you have Yahtzee! This build is perfect for those houses that simply can’t get a bit. Those ecliptic rooms where everything seems to mesh together into a hodgepodge mess that somehow clicks into place.
- Large slab of pine
- Thick Glass
- Bosch 10″ 15 Amp Portable Tablesaw Model # GTS1031
- Black & Decker Miter Saw
- DeWalt 20v Max Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill
- WEN 12-Amp 12.5 in. Thickness Planer Model # 6550
- Ryobi Circular Saw
- DeWalt Sander
- 300 Grit Sandpaper
- Wood Glue – Titebond II
- Various Chisels
- Strap Clamp
- Hot Glue (for the temp. table saw rails)
- Red Mahogany Stain
- 5 Coats of Polyurethane with sanding (300) in between
- Legs: Black Hammered Metallic Spray Paint
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