Coffee table from bed slats

A coffee table is the centerpiece of the living room, of every social conversation conducted in the home. It is what gives the home a finished look.

I have always had a coffee table, no matter where I live – be it India, Sweden, Japan. In fact, it has always been one of the first things we purchase! Except, we somehow never got around to buying one when we moved to the US a few years ago. Which is why, when we finally purchased our own house, I decided we needed a coffee table. The hubby wanted something chic and unique, and we were willing to wait until we found just what we wanted. Meanwhile, my declutter bug was in full mode, and I sold off sonny boy’s bunk bed which he’s outgrown.

One friday morning, as I sat in the living room, thinking about sonny boy’s old bunk bed we’d recently sold, a revelation dawned. A quick search for dimensions, and I bounded up the stairs to hubby’s home office and showed him a picture.

One friday morning, as I sat in the living room, thinking about sonny boy’s old bunk bed we’d recently sold, a revelation dawned. A quick search for dimensions, and I bounded up the stairs to hubby’s home office and showed him a picture. “I can make something better than this!” I exclaimed with confidence when his eyes lit up seeing the image on my phone screen. His reply, “make sure you don’t forget to eat!” I love the man for his confidence in me. Less than ten minutes later, I was dressed in the oldest clothes I could find, and loading my suv with the extra slats of the old bunk bed and the leftover posts from the bed we’d built for us, I set off for the woodworkers guild.

After some jointing and planing (not much because we wanted a rustic look), I used the mitersaw to cut it all to the measures I wanted. The bandsaw is perfect to cut at free angles. Done. It was late afternoon when I headed back home, heady with excitement. I would have started assembling it all right away, but the hubby forced me to grab a bite to eat first, because of course, as he had predicted, I’d forgotten to eat lunch.

Back to wood working. Unloading everything into the garage, I began working on drilling pocket holes into the slats. It is the one task I dislike because of the long set up and take down times of the jigs. An hour later, all the slats had enough pockets, and I got busy gluing them before inserting the pocket screws. All this because I am devoted to strength of projects. I like my furniture pieces to be stronger than they appear. Once all the slats were glued and screwed, I set about gluing the four pieces of the posts. The angular cut gave them the unique look we desired. This, I did not bother to screw because they would be individually screwed to the base and top. Next came assembling the three separate units together – the base, the posts (legs) and the top.

I wanted to test it before assembling, so we carried it into the living room, stacking the three pieces exactly the way they would sit. Woah! It looked better than we had expected! bubbling with excitement, I ran out to get the drill and screws, and assembled it then and there! That turned out to be a mistake, because I still needed to take it back out to the garage to finish staining, and now, it had become heavy! It took two of us to carry it back to the garage.

After dinner, the coffee table became a family project as we set about carefully staining it. The night went by too slow as we waited for the stain to settle so we could coat it with polyurethane. The next two days cralwed by as we applied coats and waited ten hours between light sanding and next coat. Once the third coat was done, the twenty-four hours wait for off gassing was one of the longest!

stage of the coffee table

The living room suddenly came alive on Monday evening when we were able to bring in the coffee table, a piece that now stands proudly in the center of the room, my pride, my joy. The ecowarrior and the economical woman in me take special pride in saying that the table is made from wood leftover from earlier projects, and repurposed wood, reusing what we already had, buying nothing new.

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