Live Edge Coffee Table W/ Metal Base




About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @

This awesome looking live edge coffee table is made using a slab of wood and some flat bar steel which I bent into shape, so no welding involved. There are so many cool looking slabs out there to choose between in different colors, sizes and species of wood, and here you can choose one that fits your space. This table is made with a mesquite slab, however any live edge wood would work nicely. Making the base is not very difficult, and the simplicity of the steel really compliments the wood. So let's begin!

Step 1: Cutting the Wood

I started with looking over the piece of wood. This one is very flat which is nice so it doesn't need any jointing, however often times slabs need a fair amount of work to get perfectly flat. I'm deciding which side should be up and down, and seeing how much the size differs on either side. To get a better idea of where to cut the sides, I'm marking a line so the two sides will be parallell.

Then I'm getting ready to cut off the edges, so setting up a board to follow. And I'm simply using the circular saw to make the cuts.

Step 2: Cleaning Up the Slab

Now time to clean this slab up a bit. So this is a live edge piece of wood which means there is still bark left on the sides. Now I want to keep part of that rustic nature, however I don't want loose bark falling off the coffee table. So here I'm using a draw knife to remove loose bark. I made sure I sharpened it before using it here, and it's a lot of fun doing this job. This is one of my favorite tools that I don't get a chance to use that often, so I was really enjoying this. It's quite memorizing and then deciding how much to leave, how much to take off. I also brought out a large chisel here to continue to clean this up.

To create a chamfer on the edges I used a number 4 smoothing plane here. And I'm trying to create a smooth transition from the bark and the sap wood to the edge. I also brought out a spoon carving gauge which was really useful.

And then I did quite a bit of sanding and cleaning up the edge. Just looking it over, finding an area that needs further work and so on... Then a little more sanding, a little more chiseling and so forth until I was satisfied.

Step 3: Finishing the Slab

Now to seal the wood here, I'm starting out with this gel polyurethane which I'm just rubbing on with a cloth. And this makes the grain really come to life. Then once that was dried, I used Arm-R-Seal for a final top coat.

Step 4: Metal Base

Now, let's move on to the base. So I've got some of this 1 1/2 inch wide, 3/16th inch thick, flat bar steel and I'm measuring out where I need to bend the metal. So I'm going for a 17 inch height with the table top, so I'm bending the metal at 15 inches.

I was first planning on simply hammering and bending the metal using the vice alone which you certainly could do, however I ended up using a bending jig that I attached in my vice. This was really useful, so you simply put the jig in the vice, and the steel in between the bars, and it's quite easy to bend. So I was doing some tests first, bending the metal on the marks. Then I used a angle grinder to cut the excess off.

Step 5: Drilling the Steel

Then I clamped the steel down and drilled a hole on each end, using some a liberal amount of cutting oil to lubricate. I used a 5/16th inch cobalt bit with my hand drill since at this point I couldn't use it in the drill press with all the bends.

Then I drilled holes on the underside of the slab and attached the steel with a lagbolt, and continued the process all around.

Step 6: Adjusting the Bends

Now once I had both legs attached, it was easier to see where I needed to adjust the bends a little to get base even and straight. So I took them off, and made some fine adjustments here and there.

Once I was satisfied, I sanded the metal down with some sand paper first, and then some steel wool. Then I took the table outside, and sprayed a few light coats of lacquer to protect the steel from rust.

Step 7: Wax Polish

Now to finish the top off, I put on a coat of my tung oil beeswax polish to get it really nice and smooth. And it's all complete.

Step 8: Conclusion - Watch the Video!

For a better understanding please check out the video.



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    10 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Very nice table!


    3 years ago

    For the legs, you might also take a look at Penetrol. Especially good for preventing future rust. It's heavily used in commercial marine painting.


    3 years ago

    Wow! That laquer really makes the colors pop!

    How much does a big piece of wood like that cost?

    It looks so simple to make, I'm already waiting for your next project :)

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    It really varies by the species of the wood. Around here, you can get a 12' slab of spalled maple for $750. You'd be hard pressed to find much mesquite outside of Texas for a reasonable price. Something the size that she used shouldn't be more than $200 no matter the variety (as long as it's domestic). All depends on if the seller has a scrap or something smaller that they're wanting to sell vs. trimming it off a longer piece.


    3 years ago

    I love live edge looks so nice i really like how yours came out.


    3 years ago

    That's a great looking slab of wood! Love the contrast the metal base provides too. Nice work!


    3 years ago

    Love all your videos. Very well presented and fun.

    To thank you for all your hard work, I offer two tips:

    (A) When using a drawknife, try skewing the blade so you're cutting with a slicing motion. Much easier to get through wood/bark and a smoother cut.

    (B) For working in the cold season, you may want to consider an overhead radiant heater. I have one over my bench and it warms about a six foot area at only 15 cents per hour. Lee Valley sells them but there may be other suppliers near you.

    Thanks again for your videos.

    Jim in New Brunswick, Canada

    Lee Valley heater link:


    3 years ago

    Great job, that's a nice looking piece of wood and table. Well done