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coffee table woodworking plans

Added/Modified on June 12, 2015
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Please read all the directions before beginning, and cut your pieces as you go, measuring before each cut. Use 2” screws or pocket holes with 1 1/4″ screws unless otherwise indicated. Always use glue. Pre-drill and countersink your screws. Home Improvement stores will generally cut your plywood for you. Ask them to cut your shelves to size to save you some trouble. I have not built from these exact plans, so use measure lots to make sure things work out!

Shopping List:
6 2×2 @ 8’
2 1×2 @ 8’
1 1×10 @ 10’
1 1×8 @ 10’
1 1×6 @ 8′
1 1×6 @ 10′
1 sheet plywood (I used ½” thick)
Several small L-Brackets OR Scrap wood
6 drawer pulls

2” screws (or Kreg Jig & 1 1/4″ self tapping screws)
1 ¼” screws
Wood glue
Wood filler

Cut List:A) 4 2×2 @ 18” (legs)
B) 6 2×2 @ 20” (side rails)
C) 2 1/2″ plywood @ 7.5 x 20″ (side panels)
D) 6 2×2 @ 45” (front & back rails)
E) 4 1×2 @ 7 ½” (stiles)
F) ½” strips of scrap wood OR several small metal L-Brackets (shelf supports)
G) 3 ½” plywood @ 45×20”(shelves)
H) 2 1×2 @ 20” (drawer dividers)
I) 3 1×2 @ 14 ½” (center divider)
J) 6 1×10 @ 11 ¾” (drawer bottoms)
K) 6 1×8 @ 14 ¼” (drawer fronts)
L) 6 1×6 @ 13 ¼” (drawer backs)
M) 12 1×6 @ 9 ¼” (drawer sides)
N) 4 1×2 @ 20” (drawer supports)

Step 1: Start by assembling the short ends of the table.

Attach the drawer supports (N) to the side panels (C), lining one up with the top edge and one with the bottom

Assemble the the legs (A) & side rails (B). Attach the bottom rail between the legs leaving a 1” gap at the bottom of the leg. Then attach the center rail leaving 7 1/2” in between. Attach the top rail flush with the top of the legs. If you have a Kreg Jig, you will be in good shape! I did this without, just screwed through the legs and into the rails but it was harder and we probably risked splitting the wood more. But it can be done:

Insert the side panel (C) in the gap between the bottom and center rails. Keep the drawer supports flush with the face of the legs to make sure your drawers fit correctly later. Attach the panel through the drawer supports using a kreg jig (if you don’t have a kreg jig, you can drill through the rails and legs into the 1×2 drawer supports instead. Do this before attaching the top rail so you have room to work):

Step 2: Connect the short ends.

Once the sides are complete, attach the back bottom & center rails (D) in between the sides. Leave a 1” gap below the bottom rail, and a 7 ¼” gap between the bottom and center rails. They will line up with the rails on the short ends. Repeat for the front rails:

Step 3: Attach the stiles.

Attach the stiles (E) between the bottom and center rails as shown below. There will be 2 stiles on each side, with 14 ½” between the stiles and the legs. You can use a kreg jig or drill through the rails. Repeat for the front stiles:

Step 4: Attach the top rails.

Attach the top rails on the front & back by using a kreg jig or drilling through the legs:

Step 5: Bottom shelf.

Next you need to cut some ½” strips of wood (F) to use as shelf supports. Leave a gap above the supports equal to the thickness of the plywood you will use for the shelves. I used ½” plywood, so I left a ½” gap above the supports for the shelf to sit in. Attach the supports for the bottom shelf as shown above using 1 ¼” screws. I had a left over 1×12 laying around, so I cut ½” strips off the side of it, parallel to the grain. You’ll want to do the supports as you go. For now just do the bottom supports, then place the bottom shelf, and we’ll move on to the middle supports and shelf later:

You could also use small L brackets like these placed around the edges instead of wood strips: Set the bottom shelf (G) in place. You can attach it with glue and screws or finishing nails, but mine is just sitting in there. Note: this was the tecnhique I used when building my table, but if I did it again I would skip these supports and use my kreg jig to attach the shelf to the rails with 3/4″ kreg screws. However, if you don’t have a kreg jig this will do the trick! Also, if you are planning to use drawer slides I don’t think you would even need the bottom shelf!

Step 6: Drawer Dividers

Attach the drawer dividers (H) to the bottom shelf, running between each set of stiles as shown below. Attach by screwing down through the dividers into the shelf:

Step 7: Center Dividers

Then attach the center dividers (I) to the bottom shelf as shown below . The dividers should be centered between the front & back of the shelf. Note: This is to keep the drawers from sliding all the way through on my table which doesn’t have drawer slides. If you are using drawer slides, you may not need these either.

Step 8: Center Shelf

Repeat step 4 to attach supports to the center rails as shown above:

Put the shelf in place as show above. If you want you can secure it to the supports using glue & 1 ¼” screws:

Step 9: Top Shelf

Repeat step 4 to attach the supports for the top shelf:

And set the top shelf in place and secure it as desired (again, mine is just sitting in there). Now your basic table is complete!

Step 10: Drawers

You will have 6 drawers total (which is different than the pottery version). You could also use baskets instead which would be sweet! If you are not using drawer slides, see my original plan for the drawers instead. To assemble the drawers, start by attaching the sides (M) to the short ends of the bottom (J):

Then attach the drawer back (L), keeping all edges flush:

Now install your drawer slides (before attaching the drawer front). This drawer is designed for a standard slide requiring 1/2″ clearance on each side of the drawer. Adjust so that there is an even fit around the drawers and the drawers slide smooth. Note: if you want more room to work you could assemble the drawers and fit the slides before installing the second and third shelves.

While the drawer box is in place, fit the drawer front (K) onto the front of the drawer box. Wiggle it around to get the front centered with an equal gap on all sides, then attach the front to the box using glue and finishing nails. Note: trace the box on the front with a pencil so you have an idea of where you will need to nail.

Step 11: Fill holes, sand and finish as desired.

I went with a dark espresso stain on my table.

But a bright coat of paint would be beautiful too! Maybe teal or yellow?

Step 12: Attach hardware to the drawers and you are done!

To get the same look as the inspiration table we ordered recessed ring pull hardware like this and used some matching label holders.

We got both in brass and antiqued them ourselves, but now they have other colors to choose from (and also some neat square pulls!).

The beauty part of home-built furniture is that you have no limitations! Make it your way and make it beautiful!

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