How to Build a Modern Coffee Table Step By Step

Step 1: Tools and Materials

3/4” Maple Plywood

Circular Saw

Wood Glue

Kreg Accu Cut

Biscuit Joiner


Belt Sander

Orbital Sander


Table Saw


Trim Router 

Japanese Pull Saw


Dust Mask

Step 2: Cut & Glue Top Boards

I’m starting by making the table top. And for that, I’m using 3 ¾ maple boards that I picked up from my local hard wood lumber yard. I found the middle of the boards then made a movie to chop the boards in two.

Now that I even have 6 boards, I paired them off making 3 1.5” boards, then glued each pair along side wood glue.

I had tons of area to attach and not tons of your time before the glue began to found out so I worked quickly to urge each pair together once the glue was applied. And once they were all glued up, I sandwiched the three couples together in clamps to form the foremost use of the clamps I even have .

Step 3: Make the Edges Straight

After letting the glue dry overnight, I unclamped my three boards and got started with making the sides straight. These 3 boards are getting to be glued together side by side to form a table top, so establishing a straight edge where the boards meet, with no gaps, is my goal.

To do this, I got out my Kreg Accu move help my buzz saw run within the straightest line possible. This Accu Cut is simply a straight track that features a guide that attaches to most circular saws.

Step 4: Prepare the Edges to Join

Here, you see me lining out marks across the 2 seems where I’ll be joining the boards together. These marks are getting to guide my biscuit joiner. A biscuit joiner is simply a tool that cuts out slots within the mating edges to assist make the joining of the sides more accurate.

To do this, you line up the joiner on the matching marked lines to chop out slots in each board.

Step 5: Glue Up the Boards

Next I applied wood glue on the sides to be joined, also as within the slots.

I then inserted these biscuits in each slot of 1 piece of wood. Then, with the mating piece of wood, you slide the biscuits into their corresponding slots. And again, this is often just helping to form the joining of the sides more accurate.

Once both joints were glued, i used to be ready to put this table top into clamps to dry.

Step 6: Sand the Top Flat

After letting the glue dry overnight, i used to be ready to move my top outside with my belt sander to start out sanding. To rough flatten this top I started with 80 grit sandpaper. then I moved to 120 grit to further smooth it all out.

Step 7

The final shape of this cocktail table will have rounded ends. When it came time to chop the curves, I didn’t have anything available to accurately draw the half circle cut lines I wanted. So I looked around my shop and got creative with some leftover stud shimming material from a past bathroom renovation. it had been flexible enough to curve nicely, but stiff enough to carry up while I drew my lines. I placed temporary screws into my bench top to be extra hands to carry the template in situ then i used to be ready to draw my round cut lines.

Step 8: Cut the Curved Ends

To cut each end, I used my jigsaw and cut just outside of the road . That way I could then use my belt sander and sand to the road to form sure the curves were nice and round.

I then flipped my table the wrong way up and added a chamfered edge to rock bottom with my palm router. And thereupon detail done, my top was roughly done!

Step 9: Cut & Glue Strips for the Base

The base of this cocktail table goes to be made out of stacked strips of maple plywood. to form these strips, I cut 2.5” wide pieces on my table saw. I cut enough strips that might create the peak I wanted the bottom to be once they were stacked together.

When I had enough plywood strips for my two base ends, I glued them up three strips at a time then sandwiched all of them into clamps to dry. You’ll see why I only glued three at a time here during a second.

Step 10: Prepare the Base for Cutting

Once they were dry I took the top pieces and marked where Il’l need to cut out some material for the table top to sit in. Then to make my cut lines for the curved ends, I grabbed a small rounded jar of plumbers putty, which was the perfect sized round template to draw my lines.

Step 11: Cut the Base Ends

To make these round cuts I used my band saw. And this is often why I kept my glue ups for this base at 3 inches or less. My small band saw features a 3” depth.

For the curved ends, I again cut just outside of the road . Ill return later and sand to the road to form these curves nice and round. The band saw also worked great for cutting away the fabric for the table top to take a seat in.

Step 12: Glue Up the Base Pieces

Once they were all cut, I applied glue between each board and clamped each base up. I let that dry overnight then for the primary time got an honest check out how these bases would really look with the highest and that i need to say, it looked even better than I imagined.

Step 13: Make the Center Brace

I’m getting to want these two bases to remain in situ so I’m getting to add a middle brace to tie them together. For this I just took a leftover piece of plywood to the table saw and ripped it in half

I glued these two pieces together to form a thicker 1.5” wide brace.

I then made a cut on each base for the middle brace to take a seat in. I made the cuts with my Japanese pull saw. I just made multiple cuts then used a hammer and a chisel to get rid of the meat within the middle and clean everything up.

I then wrapped some sand paper around a sanding block and smoothed out the within of the recess.

Step 14: Sanding

With all my cuts done I moved on to sanding. I used my belt sander, starting with 80 grit paper, and surface flattened the edges – getting obviate any glue squeeze out and rough spots. Then I moved to the curved ends and sanded the sides , making them nice and round.

And then again with my orbital sander with 180 grit sandpaper to end it up.

With everything sanded I took the middle brace piece and glued it in to the 2 slots I made on each base, connecting them together.

Step 15: Applying Finish

To prepare for finish on the table top, I first wiped a humid rag over the wood which raises the grain of the wood fibers. You can’t prevent raised grain with a water based finish, which is what I’ll be using, so it’s good to affect it first therefore the finish comes out smooth. After letting the highest dry, I then sanded it smooth with my orbital sander.

The finish I’m using is High Performance Satin by General Finishes. It’s my new favorite finish and that i can’t recommend it enough. i really like this finish on light woods like this maple because it dries crystal clear and doesn’t change the colour of the wood or cause it to slightly yellow in the least .

Now that I’m applying this water based finish, the wood grain won’t raise again nearly the maximum amount because it did with the primary wetting, helping to stay this table top super smooth. I applied three coats of this finish to the highest and therefore the base, in fact drying and sanding in between coats.

And with the finish applied, the cocktail table is done!

I’m thrilled with how this cocktail table came together and that i love the way it’s in my front room . I’m also super proud of how durable it’s .

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