Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Coffee Coffee Coffee

I am VERY excited to FINALLY get around to build a coffee table for our living room. In December we bought a new sectional sofa and just went the easy route and used an old chest as a coffee table Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE this chest. It was so much meaning to me; it was my mother's Hope Chest and it somehow made its way into my home. But it was a little too tall and the top surface was not great for cups and feet. So today, I built one!

The "standard" coffee table height is around 18" OR 1"-2" lower than the height of your sofa. We must have a short sofa. I went with a table height of 15" knowing that our current 17" was not comfortable. Other things to consider when determining the size of a coffee table; length and width of a coffee table should be about two-thirds the length of the sofa, and make sure to leave at least 16" from the edge of the sofa.
After determining a rough size idea I went to my lumber stash. I had fully intended to use 2x3 pine for the top because I think it is all tiny yet beefy and precious (I am crazy about wood I tell ya). But as soon as I looked for the other materials I would need I right away changed my plans. I found three pieces of wood leftover from the disassembly of my mom's antique dining table. The size was a bit larger than I had in mind but using these pieces would make it easier, faster, way cheaper, and much more meaningful.
For the base of my table I used 2x3 legs cut with a slight angle. It is really simple to do a tapered leg like these. I just mark and cut one then use that first leg as the template for the rest. Once they are all cut I clamp them together and sand them to make sure they are all even to one another.

Once all pieces were  cut and sanded (legs, side and end aprons) I set up my Kreg Jig and marked and drilled all my pocket holes. On small pieces like this I really like to set up the whole piece as much as possible and mark out everywhere I need a screw. It really helps to save headaches later on (I tend to forget pocket holes for side aprons).

Isn't this beautiful?! Look at all the character!

After that I assembled the base, joined the top boards together, and attached the base to the top. Easy peasy.  But now that I have it in my space I have no ideas on how to finish it!

The old mahogany has really thrown me. I have a hard time matching red tones. Do I paint or stain the base?

I shouldn't touch the top, right? Other than to put on a fresh poly of course. And I really love the old holes in the sides. 

UPDATE: I decided to finish this by staining the base in a mahogany gel stain that is a close match to the top. After that I applied several coats of white wash. Then I buffed with 0000 steel wool and applied a spray protective finish to the entire project.

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