Turned Leg Coffee Table

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:45
Difficulty
Beginner
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How to build a turned leg coffee table. Step by step plan included video tutorial to build coffee table.

Hello everyone and Happy Monday!

I know we've all got a wedding or two to attend this summer, and wanted to get started on some economical plans that you can build and gift. Instead of going to the ATM a few minutes before the wedding reception, what about spending a weekend building a coffee table?
And for those of you asking for a turned leg coffee table, or just an updated Tryde Coffee table plan - well, we went the extra bit and made a video for you! 
This coffee table is very very easy to build.  I took me about three hours in total, probably take you less if you aren't being watched by a camera!  I used standard farmhouse legs purchased from Osbourne Wood, but if you watch the video, at the end, you will see a coffee table made with smaller legs.  It's the same plan, just cut the aprons a tad longer to make up for the smaller (and yes cheaper and available at local hardware stores) turned coffee table legs.
Oh - and OF COURSE you can use the ideas presented in this video to build a Farmhouse Table with turned legs as well!  I'd either use a 2x thick top or add a few under table supports because no handmade farmhouse table we make is going to sag, right?  Just remember that a standard dining table height is 30".  
Dimensions
Dimensions are shown above.

Preparation

Shopping List

4 - 3 1/2" turned coffee table legs
6 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long

Cut List

7 - 1x4 @ 45" long (tabletop boards)
2 - 1x4 @ 24 1/2" (breadboard ends)
2 - 1x4 @ 16 1/2"
2 - 1x4 @ 41"

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Drill
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Instructions

Step 1

The key to a great tabletop is making sure all of your tabletop boards are cut to the exact length, and then joined with pocket holes from underneath. I like to clamp every screw just to make sure we are getting the smoothest edge to edge joint possible.

If you are using glue, be very careful not to let glue dry on the tabletop and stain the surface.

If your ends are not perfectly straight, there is no shame in trimming with a circular saw. It's about getting a great finished project!

Another consideration is to try to alternate the grain of the boards so the boards aren't all facing bark side up or bark side down. This is done to prevent your tabletop from warping in one direction.

Step 2

Once your main top is straight and square, drill 3/4" pocket holes on ends for attaching breadboard ends.

Step 3

Then attach breadboard ends with 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. Take a second to admire your tabletop and set aside :)

Step 4

Attach legs to end aprons. I like to use a scrap piece of plywood as a spacer to elevate the apron - just makes life easier!

TIP: to avoid any screw holes on tabletop, drill 3/4" pocket holes on aprons facing upward for attaching top in later steps.

Step 5

Step 6

If you drilled the pocket holes in aprons, simply attach through aprons into underside of tabletop with 1 1/4" pocket hole screws and glue. Otherwise, attach through top into aprons.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Help Improve This Plan

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Comments

windjamer812

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 00:10

They actually make pocket hole wood plugs nowadays. Kreg and a variety of other companies make them and they are fairly cheap. They also come in a variety of wood types.

BTW Ana, I really enjoy your website and your wonderful projects.

bw_bandit

Sun, 02/19/2012 - 14:28

Just found your site and love it. Man Ana is hot and a craftswoman too. I just order the Kreg system and can't wait to start learning how to use it. Ana will make it easier with her plans and blueprints.

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 02/28/2012 - 18:48

Could you use just a one piece of pine already cut instead of individual boards or maybe it wouldnt look as good? Any thoughts? I know they sell them here where I am.

In reply to by Guest (not verified)

claydowling

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 03:57

You can definitely use the wide pine project panels to make this table. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also glue up your own panels. You'd need to do some research on panel glue ups. I've done it a couple of different ways, with pictures of one of them on my blog.

Sarah M

Sun, 03/04/2012 - 12:58

Hi All...
I have always been good with tools and figuring out plans but thanks to this site I have some new found inspiration to try and really make something.
This table, along with your video and plans, looks like a good starting point. Do you agree?
And also, since I'm just starting out and have nothing for tools other than average home owner tools (skill saw, palm sander, jig saw, etc), is there something that you can suggest as a must have for wood working and furniture building?
We don't park our cars in the garage anyway, so I've got the work space LOL

Sarah M

Sun, 03/04/2012 - 17:12

What about alternatives to the pocket jig? just nailing from the outside and filling the holes? The pocket jig looks really cool and way easier but I want to be sure I'm serious before buying $100+ tools. And do nails from the outside hold as well?

claydowling

Sun, 03/04/2012 - 18:02

It could probably be made to work with nails, but I don't recommend it. The kreg jig is pretty cool, but it can be expensive. You can buy a smaller kit for around $40.

Were I building this for myself and trying to avoid the kreg jig, I would use match planing and glued edge joints to build up the top. It takes a little longer, but it looks really great and is more durable than the kreg jig joinery.

You can attach the stretchers to the legs by using a mortise and tenon joint, which would be traditional. But an easier and nearly as strong joint is a dowel tenon. There are a few ways to make them.

The top can be attached to the base using screwing cleats. They're small blocks along the long side, predrilled and countersunk to have screws going into the stretchers and the top. I think the pocket hole looks more elegant in this situation, but there's something about about screwing cleats that make me smile every time I look at them.

There are four tools outside of the set you have currently that would be necessary, and they're useful for other projects as well. You'd need a jack plane, a chisel set, a marking gauge and a set of sharpening stones. The problem is that these tools are likely to cost nearly $100 themselves.

I picked up my jack plane second hand for about $30 after shipping on ebay, but I think you can buy a new one for $50 or so. The new ones at the big box stores have not impressed me with their construction, but I haven't actually used them.

For chisels, skip anything sold at the big box stores. You can buy a good set of four via mail order for $35.

For a marking gauge, look for one that cuts rather than scratches. They're a pretty simple tool, so don't spend a lot of money. Once you have a little experience you can build one of your own that's nicer than what you buy.

Sharpening stones are pretty inexpensive. I bought a very nice set of arkansas oil stones at Lowes for $25. Lowes also sells a synthetc sharpening stone for under $10, and I've had decent luck with it. It won't last as long as the arkansas stones, but your grandchildren can probably use your arkansas stones when they're grown.

All of these of course require you to learn how to use them. There are good books that can set you on the path, but of course practice is what you'll need most.