Hundreds of projects, thousands of meals, millions of words have been shared around this dining table. And while the table itself still functions well, the table was showing it’s age and use, most notably in the turned legs that have been scratched up. I removed the legs and replaced them with new legs. But never one to waste, I saved the old, scratched up legs and upcycled them into a brand new coffee table.
Cutting Legs to Coffee Table Height -
The upper portion of the table legs were in good condition. So I used my compound miter saw to cut off the bottom, damaged part, so the legs are coffee table height. Coffee tables can range in height from 15” to 20”, with 18” being the most common. Don’t forget to factor in the thickness of your tabletop when you cut your legs.
When cutting turned legs that are smaller at the bottom, make sure you keep the flat top part flush to the fence and saw deck. If you just lay the legs on the saw and cut them, the bottoms will be cut at an angle.
Building the Tabletop -
I like to build my tabletop first, and then size the base to fit the tabletop. I always cut my tabletop boards a little long, so later on I can go back and trim all the ends at the same time when the tabletop is complete. I use a pocket hole jig and glue to join the tabletop boards. I plan the tabletop so each board alters bark side up, bark side down and so on, so the tabletop doesn’t favor one way to cup. As the glue is drying, I attach temporary strong backs to the back of the tabletop. These are just pieces of 3/4” plywood with pocket holes drilled along one edge. The strong backs hold the tabletop square while the glue dries. I save the strong backs and reuse.
Once I have my tabletop finished, I then figure how much of an overhang I want for the tabletop. From there, I can figure my apron size. I cut my aprons with the compound miter saw, and drill pocket holes on the ends. I then can attach the aprons to the legs.
Cutting a Drawer in the Apron -
On this coffee table, I decided to add a small drawer for remote controls. To do this, I simply figured about how big I wanted the drawer to be, and cut one of the aprons out with a jigsaw. To start the jigsaw in the middle of the board, I drilled a hole first, and then started the jigsaw in the jigsawed hole.
Building the Drawer - Once I have the opening cut for the drawer, I build my drawer to fit the opening. The drawer slides I use are bottom Euro Style, that require a total 1” clearance. So I build my drawer 1” less than the opening, and to the length of my drawer slides. I used 1/2” plywood for the drawer sides and 1/4” plywood for the drawer bottom.
The drawer box is built using a pocket hole jig.
Then I glued and stapled the drawer bottom on with 1” staples.
Attaching Drawer Slides -
For the drawer slide members, I attached by predrilling holes and screwing the slides to the drawer box bottom.
Then I used rear mount sockets (can be purchased with drawer slides), and a scrap piece of plywood down the center of the coffee table to support the cabinet member drawer slides. The cabinet member drawer slides are first attached inside the cut opening in the apron. A level is used to ensure the drawer sides are installed level. Then the rear sockets are attached at the back, and the drawer is fitted and tested. I always end up adjusting drawers until they slide just right.
Finishing the Coffee Table -
Once the coffee table is built, I spray painted the base black outside. Then on the underside of the tabletop, I tested different stains, and then stained the top with a mixture of two of the stains. Then I attached the tabletop to the base using pocket holes drilled through the aprons.
Drawer Face -
To conceal the front of the drawer, I cut 1/2” plywood a little larger than the cut out in the apron for the drawer. This will be the drawer face. I painted the drawer face, and then attached the drawer face with screws from the inside.