Anyone can buy a coffee table, but how many people can say they made their own? Our Red Oak Coffee Table Kit allows you to easily construct your very own coffee table with minimal tools and effort. This is the perfect project for those wanting to explore woodworking and love a DIY project. The folks over at SELF MADE (who make the stainless steel brackets) put together these build instructions for you to follow along as you make your very own coffee table:
Find a soft floor surface (or lay down a towel to protect the brackets and the surface they are sitting on from getting scuffed or scratched). Lay out the bracket on the soft surface.
Flip the brackets upside down.
Lay out the long aprons (40” long) and the short aprons (20.5” long) in between the brackets with the most attractive side facing out.
Slide the long aprons into their respective slots in the brackets. Keep sliding the long apron in until it can’t slide any more and the apron end is up against the inside face of the bracket. Important note, the long aprons must be installed first and must be fully inserted in the bracket. Use the Allen Wrench (provided with each kit) to tighten the pre installed set screws up against the wood. Twist the set screws until you feel resistance as they hit the wood. From this point, continue turning the set screws for 1-1/2 revolutions so that they are pressing firmly against the apron. The flange that the set screws sits in should bend out around 1/16” in the process. To ensure the apron is firmly in place, carefully pull the apron apart from the bracket with a medium amount of force, it shouldn’t move. If it does move, keep turning the set screws 1/2 a revolution until the aprons are held firmly in place.
Slide both short aprons up against the same long apron and tighten the set screws as described in Step 4.
Slide the remaining long apron (which should already be screwed into brackets on each end) into ends of the short aprons. You should switch back and forth between each side sliding one side in 1/2 then moving the other side in 1/2” and repeating the process until the apron ends are up against the long apron. Once the short aprons are up against the long aprons, tighten the set screws as described in Step 4.
Position the two most attractive wood faces to face out on each leg. Apply glue to all wood faces being joined. Tighten glued legs with clamps. If clamps are not available, you can wrap the glued elements together with painters tape and can apply pressure by sitting weights on top of the glued legs.
Once glue is dry, remove wood from clamps, scrape excess glue away and sand all surfaces smooth. The wood edges may need a slight round-over to fit smoothly in the brackets.
Slide finished legs into the brackets and twist the pre installed bolts using the same process as described in Step 4. Be sure to pull on legs, before flipping the coffee table structure, to ensure they are firmly secured. If the table will sit on a solid floor (wood, tile, stone, etc.) We recommend purchasing some affordable adhesive felt pads and sticking one to the bottom of each leg.
Carefully roll the coffee table over, one side at a time, until the coffee table is fully flipped over with the legs sitting firmly on the floor.
Step 11 (optional, if you are making your own wood top)
Glue the wood top using a similar process as described in Step 7 after ensuring the boards are project ready. If you have enough clamps, it is a good idea to glue up the table top while you glue up the legs. Learn how to make a tabletop with only hand tools in this video tutorial by pro woodworker Ben Uydea.
Lay the top down top the coffee table structure. If you are making / using a wood top, use small “L” brackets to secure the top to the aprons. If installing “L” brackets, we recommend flipping over the top and the structure to provide easier access to pre-drill / screw in the brackets. If you are using a heavy material like solid stone or glass, rubber or felt pads should be placed atop the long and short aprons to provide a soft surface for the top to sit on, to make up the gap between the top of the bracket and the top of the aprons (1/8” gap) and to provide some friction that will prevent the top from moving. Please note, whenever moving the table, always move it by the aprons (not the top).