DIY Coffee Table 42 X 42 With Drawers and a Shelf

8 Materials
3 Days
Great coffee table plans for the semi-experienced wood worker or beginner who is feeling like a challenge. I've included losts of step by step and links for additional instruction.
Cut list:
(2) 4 3/4 x 36 pine (top side aprons)
(2) 1 1/2 x 3/4 x 36 pine (front and back rails)
(4) 1 1/2 x 36 pine (bottom stretchers)
(6) 1 1/2 x 4 pine (stiles)
(2) 5 1/2 x 42 oak (top breadboards)
(8) 5 1/4 x 33 oak (top)
(10) 39ish x 3 1/2 pine -- wait to cut -- (bottom shelf)
(2) 4 3/4 x 37 1/2 x 3/4 plywood (support for drawer guides)
(4) 1 1/2 x 2' pine (drawer guides)
(8) 3 3/4 x 15 3/4 x 3/4 plywood (drawers)
(4) 3 3/4 x ??? around 15 3/4 x 3/4 plywood (drawer backs)
(4) 4 x ???? around 16 pine (drawer fronts)
(4) 1 x 1 x 3" scrap blocks of wood (table top fasterners)

Cut all apron, stretchers and rails to length. Create tenons on each end. Transfer your tenon measurements to your legs 1/2" back. Set legs up to make sure that all markings are lined up in the correct position. Use a plunge router with a 1/4" upcut spiral bit to create mortise holes in the legs.
Dry fit the coffee table carcass together. Make any necessary adjustments. glue and clamp the aprons and stretchers together. If you only have 4 pipe clamps, glue 2 sides together, allow to dry, then attach the 2 sides with the aprons and allow to dry. Check to be sure it's square before it dries.
Glue and clamp in left and right stiles. Use a dowel pin to attach the center stile. (front and back).
Cut plywood to length. Cut a center 3/4 wide notch 2 3/8" H in the center of both pieces so they can join together making a +. Use pocket holes to screw into place. Measure each width between your stiles and build 4 drawers. (See separate post on my website for step by step instructions.)
For drawer guides, notch the front to fit around the back of the front rail leaving only enough room for the drawer front thickness. Set drawer in place and adjust the guide placement until the front of the drawer is flush with the rails and stiles. Mark the top and sides and use pocket holes to attach. Nail in the front. Remove drawers and set aside.
For the bottom shelf, cut all 1 x 4's to length. Sand, prime, and paint (or stain and seal). Not the 2 end pieces around your legs. Set and nail end pieces into place. Set all other shelf pieces next to each other on one side. measure the gap and divide by 9. That's the amount of space you need in between each board. Set all boards in place and put 2 finish nails in each board on each end.
For the top. Cut all of your oak boards to width and length. Create a tenon on both ends of each 33" board. Use biscuit joiner and glue to join all boards together, 2 or 3 at a time. then join sets until table width is complete. Transfer the tenon measurements to the inside edge of each breadboard. Use a plunge router with a 1/4" upcut spiral bit to router out the mortise holes.
Dry fit the bread boards on. This should fit very snuggly. Use a rubber mallet to tap into place. Clamp the breadboard to the long boards as tight as possible. Flip the table top over so you are working on the underside.
Drill 1/2 - 5/8" into through breadboard through each tenon. Either place a mark on your 1/4" drill bit or use table to prevent from drilling all the way through. Remove clamps and breadboard.
Reinsert your drill bit into your tenons and rock slightly left and right to widen the hole. This is going to allow for the expansion and contraction of your long boards. If you skip this step, your table will split with the change of seasons. Reattach your breadboards for the last time.
Insert 1/4" dowel pins into your drilled holes. Cut the ends off flush with the bottom of your table with a hand saw. Flip the top back over and use a hand plane to smooth any of the joined edges that aren't flush.
Wood expands and contracts across the grain making the boards slightly wider during warm, humid weather. Just as we built the table top to be able to withstand the movement, we also need to attach it in a way that will allow for movement. To do this, drill a hole with a drill but that's the same size as your screw. Then slightly rock the bit to wide the hole across the narrow side of your block. Glue and clamp the block to your table apron. Allow to dry. Place your finished top on and center it. Screw from underneath the blocks careful not to screw all the way through the table top.
Reinsert your drawers and enjoy your work!
Suggested materials:
  • Lumber   (lowes)
  • 1 1/4" Finish nails   (lowes)
  • Glue   (Lowes)
See all materials
Lisa Laker Interior Design
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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