The new Coffee Table

So, what to do when your presented with a week off? You could spend time catching up on the InterWebs, you could try and reply to all those emails asking you to buy Viagra or rescue some Nigerian Prince from the global credit crunch… or you could do something rewarding and totally offline. I chose the latter (something I’m doing more and more these days when I can get away with it :) )

Coffee Table

Yup, nothing Ikea about this puppy – not a single allen key was harmed making this coffee table! Unfortunately I didn’t have the presence of mind to take shots as I was building it, so you’ll just have to take my word.

The top is actually an offcut from a solid-core fire rated maple door. Very heavy, but has an excellent grain. I (with some help from my step father Roger), had to repair one end of the offcut, filling it with a spare piece of maple trimming – because the internal cavety of the door is filled with particle board which looks butt ugly!

The shelf is another spare piece of MDF that Rog had lying around, with the rest of the table made out of pine (the legs were bought from Bunnings for 20 bucks each). Because of the design, each leg needed to have mortiose joints to accomodate the shelf, and rebates cut at the top for the tabletop brackets.

The bracket was attached to the top using liquid nails, and allowed to set. Then the legs were arranged, and the shelf supports carefully inserted into their mortises, and again everything was set with liquid nails – legs to brackets and top, shelf supports to mortoise joints. As everything was setting, the legs were then nailed to the bracket and top using a nail gun. The shelf was added last, much like a puzzle piece. It isn’t fixed to the supports, but is rather a snug fitting piece.

It still needs to be stained, but I’m just waiting for the timber colours to go off, but we are considering something dark with a hint of red. Maybe a Jarrah or similar.


  • Nail gun
  • Plane
  • Drop saw
  • Panel hacksaw
  • Clamps
  • Liquid Nails
  • Triton workbench
  • Chisel


  • Time -Approx 12 hours (including beer-stops)
  • Materials – Approx $50 plus offcuts

Oh, and for those interested, the wonderful fruit bowl shown on the top of the coffee table was given as a wedding present by the folks at Redant, and is by Italian designers Alessi.

  • Kunama

    Shiny. I personally prefer rounded corners because I’m clumsy and walking into sharp edges when in a rush is painful. How did the staining turn out?

  • Simpleton

    I’ve seen this wondrous piece of art with my very own eyes and it truly is a thing of great beauty. Not too large in size that it crowds the space it’s nested in but not so small that you can’t fit anything on it. Aesthetically pleasing and built to the perfect height for a coffee table. I was very impressed.

  • dan


    @Kunama : Stain hasn’t been completed yet – been letting the timber go off fully – but ill post an update once it’s done

    @Simpleton : And it will look great in the new place too!!