X Leg Coffee Table

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About: DIY Montreal is all about woodworking & DIY projects. I post how-to videos on my YouTube channel, as well as step-by-step tutorials on my website www.diymontreal.com. Builds include mainly woodshop proje...

So I signed up for season 5 of the Instagram Builder’s challenge @IGbuilderschallenge. The challenge is to build a piece of furniture based off the plans they provide, but to modify the design and make it your own. This time around we were challenged to build an X leg coffee table with a shelf.

To make it my own, I decide to make the coffee table more modern with an industrial flair. I kept the X leg as per the original design, but modified for a full length shelf where you can hide away remotes, magazines, Kleenex, coasters, or whatever, and added black iron pipe as a cross support for the legs for a modern industrial look.

The overall table dimensions are 47 x 22 x 17. I made it using dimensional pine bought at the big box store. You can get the plans here: https://etsy.me/2vdDjBr

Step 1: Tools & Materials

Here are the tools and materials I used for this X-leg coffee table.

Materials

Tools

Step 2: Assemble the Panels

You’ll need to first make two panels, each made up of four 1x6 boards. Start by pre-drilling pocket holes along the edge of 3 of the 4 boards that will be used to make up the tabletop and shelf. Place the first pocket hole at about 2-3 inches from one end of the boards, then space out the pocket holes every 6-8 inches.

Once all the hole are pre-drilled, lay the 4 boards flat, edge to edge, to form a panel. Apply some glue and use clamps to butt them tightly together, making sure to check the ends are square.

With the clamps tightened (don’t overdo it or the boards will bow) secure the boards together using 1-¼ pocket screws.

Make sure to clean off the squeeze out while the glue is still moist using a scraper or a wet paper towel.

Repeat the same process for the second panel.

Step 3: Assemble the Box

To make things easier, I sanded down both assembled panels at this point, as it will be difficult once the table is assembled. I sanded to 120-grit, then 220-grit using my orbital sander. I also sanded the 2 pieces that will make up the sides.

Before assembling the box that will form the tabletop, you’ll want to pre-drill pocket holes on each end of the top and bottom panels.

Lay the panel you want to use as the top of the table upside down, with the tabletop flat against your workbench (you should see the pocket holes). Use clamps to secure the 2 side pieces to each end, first applying glue. Attach using 1-¼ pocket screws in the pre-drilled holes.

Next add the bottom shelf (again upside down), clamp and secure with pocket screws.

Step 4: Fill in the Imprefections

Once the box is built, go ahead and flip it right side up. If you see any gaps, fill them in with some wood filler (or wood glue mixed with sawdust).

The last step is to sand down the top and the edges up to 220-grit.

Step 5: Build the X Legs

For the legs I used 2x4s that I ripped down to 3 inches using my table saw. I started by shaving ¼ inch off one side, then ¼ inch off the opposite side. This removes the rounded edges and gives the boards a modern clean look.

I set my miter saw to 45° and cut all my pieces to size using a stop block for accuracy and repeatability. You’ll have 4 longer pieces and 4 shorter pieces cut in half.

The glue-up is the tricky part. I decided to glue one side of the legs at a time. I used smaller clamps vertically to align the boards vertically, and larger clamps to clamp the leg down to my workbench. I used Gorilla wood glue and let it set for 30 minutes before flipping the legs over and repeating the process on the other side.

Once the glue was dry, I filled any gaps using stainable wood filler and a putty knife. I let it dry for a couple hours, then sanded everything down using my Gator Zip.

Before moving onto the finish, I pre-drilled some pocket holes at the top of the Xs on the inside face. These will be used to later attach the legs to the tabletop.

Step 6: Stain

Instead of waiting until the end, I chose to stain the tabletop and the legs at this point, thinking it would save me some headaches down the line.

After vacuuming up all the sawdust and wiping down all the parts, I applied wood conditioner and let it set for about 30 minutes. I find the conditioner helps the stain better penetrate pine wood and prevents blotchiness.

I then applied Espresso wood stain from Minwax to the entire tabletop and the legs.

Step 7: Mount the Black Iron Pipe

I had my black iron pipe cut to length and threaded at a local hardware store, but you may be able to buy these off the shelf where you live.

You’ll need to find the center of the X on each leg and drill a hole through using a 1 inch spade bit. I used tape to prevent tearout.

Screw an end cap onto each of the pipe nipples. Screw a coupling onto each end of the longer pipe. Slip the pipe nipple through the X leg and connect it with the other end of the coupling. Repeat for the second leg. Tighten.

Step 8: Assembly

With the base and the top assembled, all that’s left is to connect the two together. Center the base underneath the tabletop and fasten with 1-¼ pocket screws.

Step 9: Finish

To finish off this project, you’ll need to seal the wood with a finish of your choice. I was feeling a little lazy so I simply rubbed on a couple coats of natural Danish oil to the entire table, except the top - I used 3 coats of Varathane polyurethane varnish for the top since it will likely be exposed to moisture and liquids.

You can get detailed plans on my website:http://www.diymontreal.com/x-leg-coffee-table/

And if you want to see more great projects you can subscribe to my YouTube channel!

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    18 Discussions

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    JohnC1149

    7 months ago

    Thanks for posting this! I built a custom coffee table based on one I bought and broke (cheap particle board). The table top on mine lifts up and out to be used as a desk. I had originally designed it to have straight legs, but after completion, the table would tip over when weight was placed on the lifted top. After searching a while, I had settled on a design I wasn't completely happy with. As I was looking for ideas for other pieces of furniture, I unintentionally stumbled upon your table. It was perfect for my purpose. I used your design for the X legs minus the bar (I love the look of the pipe, but it would have gone mostly unseen due to the side skirts on my table; stability comes from attaching the legs to the side skirts and the base of the table). I didn't have a table saw available when I built them so mine have rounded edges; I used a belt sander to bring them closer to a point. I may go back and rebuild them later. Now, the legs stick out to the front and back of the table, widening the tipping point and making the table very sturdy. Again, thanks for the idea. Keep up the great work! The photos are from before I applied the matte poly coat. My table isn't perfect, but it is the very first piece of furniture I've built and I have about 20 hours in it so I'm happy with the outcome.

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    diymontrealJohnC1149

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks! Glad you liked it and it inspired you to build something similar.

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    TWhitney

    6 months ago

    Would you happen to know how heavy this ended up being? I love the design and am thinking about building it, but it needs to be light enough for my wife to move on her own.

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    diymontrealTWhitney

    Reply 6 months ago

    It's fairly lightwieght for a coffee table. I am able to move it on my own.

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    Bruceaulrich

    7 months ago

    Nice job, Marie! I really like the iron pipe...that industrial look is a nice touch!

    2 replies
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    diymontrealBruceaulrich

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thanks Bruce! ... turns out it was popular choice in the competition from what I'm seeing as the finished builds are being posted. I'll just tell myself I inspired them ;)

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    diymontrealpuravbhai

    Reply 7 months ago

    I used pine wood. 1x6s for the top and 2x4s for the legs.

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    trey1013hoos

    8 months ago

    About how much was the total cost of this project (no tools, just lumber, etc)?

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    diymontrealtrey1013hoos

    Reply 8 months ago

    The cost was about $90 CAD - $62 for the lumber & $27 for the pipe and fittings. Add a bit if you need to buy pocket screws and stain/finish.

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    lorenkinzel

    8 months ago

    Perhaps glue pieces of felt to the feet to avoid scratching that nice floor.

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    seamster

    8 months ago

    Very nice! I've built a few things with trimmed-edge, doubled-up 2x4 boards just like your x legs. It really is a great way to use cheap lumber but NOT have that "diy 2x4 furniture" look! :)

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    diymontrealseamster

    Reply 8 months ago

    Thanks! You're totally right. It's amazing what you can do with 2x4s!