Balin Console Table

Balin Console Table
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Console table can be used in the entryway or even as a media stand. Features four large doors and stretcher details on the bottom. Special thanks to our readers for sharing this photo.

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Balin Console Table

Balin Console Table
30" Tall x 56" Wide x 14" Deep (approximate)


Shopping List
  • 1 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
  • 12 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
  • 5 - 1x12 @ 8 feet long
  • 1/4" plywood scraps for the back
  • 4 knobs or hinges
Common Materials
1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List
  • A) 4 – 1x3s @ 29 1/4″ (Fronts and Backs of Legs)
  • B) 4 – 1×2 @ 29 1/4″ (Sides of Legs)
  • C) 2 – 1×12 @ 14 3/4″ (Sides of Drawer Box)
  • D) 1 – 1×12 @ 54 1/2″ (Bottom of the Drawer Box)
  • E) 2 – 1×2 @ 54 1/2″ (Top Inner Trim of the Console)
  • F) 4 – 1×2 @ 52 1/2″ (Front and Back Trim for the Bottom of the Drawer Box)
  • G) 1/4″ Plywood or Planking @ 14 5/8″ x 57 1/2″
  • H) 3 – 1×2 @ 12 1/4″ (Center Drawer Guides)
  • I) 2 – 1×12 @ 1″ (Outer Drawer Guides)
  • J) 2 – 1×2 @ 11 3/4″ (Vertical Trim Between Drawers)
  • K) 1 – 1×12 @ 61 1/2″ (Top)
  • L) 2 – 1×2 @ 61 1/2″ (Top Side Trim Pieces)
  • M) 2 – 1×2 @ 11 1/2″ (Side Stretchers)
  • N) 1 – 1×2 @ 54 1/2″ (Back Stretcher) Cut List for 4 Drawers
  • O) 4 – 1×12 @ 10 1/4″ (Drawer Bottoms)
  • P) 4 – 1×12 @ 11 3/4″ (Drawer Backs)
  • Q) 8 – 1×12 @ 11 1/2″ (Drawer Sides)
  • R) 4 – 1×12 @ 11 3/4″ (Drawer Fronts)
Cutting Instructions

This project depends on your 1x12s being 11 1/2" wide. If your 1x12s are not 11 1/2" wide, you will need to adjust - as the drawers are designed to fit a 11 1/2" wide drawer front, with 1/8 gap around. Adjust the height of your drawer box if your 1x12s are a different height.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
General Instructions

Cut all your boards. Use 2″ nails and glue, unless otherwise directed. Always nail through and to any neighboring boards. The more different directions you can nail into, the greater the reinforcement.


Step 1

Build the legs as shown above, using boards A and B.

Step 2

Using boards C and D, build the drawer box as shown above. Leave a 3/4″ lip as shown above on the bottom edge of boards C. In other words, board D will sit up 3/4″ from the bottom of board C. This is shown above.

Step 3

Fasten the drawer box to the legs as shown above. Make sure you nail through the fronts and the sides of the legs into the drawer box. Keep top edges flush.

Step 4

Fasten board E as shown above, keeping top edges flush. Use 1 1/4″ nails when nailing into the front and back leg pieces.

Step 5

Step 6

Fasten boards F as shown above. Keep all top edges flush. On the top apron, use 1 1/4″ nails to nail through the back apron into the front apron, shown in white. You can use the 2″ nails to fasten the lower trim piece to the drawer box.

Step 7

Add the plywood to the back. Use 1 1/4″ nails and glue and nail all the way around. Make sure you take a square first. (See the how to section on how to check for square).

Step 8

Add the center drawer guides, H, as shown above. Use 1 1/4″ nails. Make sure you measure the back to be certain the guides are in square. Do not guess – your drawers won’t work. Your guides should be flush with the back, but not pass the front trim pieces attached in the previous step. Make sure your drawer guides are 12″ apart, as shown above.

Step 9

Add the outside drawer guides, as shown above. The drawer guides will sit flush with the legs on the front of the console table.

Step 10

Fasten the vertical trim, J, as shown above. Nail through J into the drawer guides, from under the console into the bottom edge of J, and from the top outer trim piece into the top edge of J. Again, make sure you measure and place J exactly 12″ appart on the top and bottom, as lined up with the drawer guides.

Step 11

Top. Fasten the center, K to the top of the console, edges lining up with the inner top trim, boards, E. There will be a 2″ overhang on the ends. Then fasten boards L to the outsides of K, as shown in white. Nail through the edges of L into the edges of K to secure.

Step 12

Fasten the side stretchers M with 1 1/4″ nails as shown above. Use the longer nails to nail through the legs into the end edges of M.

Step 13

Fasten the back stretcher, N, as shown above. Use the shorter nails, 1 1/4″, to nail through N into the legs. Use the 2″ nails to nail through the legs into the end edges of N.

Step 14

Drawers. Measure your drawer openings and make sure the openings are 1/4″ larger than the above measurements. If your measurements are off, you will need to adjust each door to fit. I give an 1/8″ gap around my doors, or 1/4″ overall.
Then, take the bottom piece, O, and nail the back piece, P, to it, nailing through the back piece into the end edge of the bottom piece. The bottom piece is inset as shown above.
Next, nail through the side pieces, Q, into the end edges of the bottom, O, and back, P, pieces.
Then fit each door in the console table without the front in nailed on. When you are satisfied with the fit, set the face of the drawers on the drawer box. Adjust the face until the empty space around the drawer is even, approximately 1/8″. Then nail through the face into the end edges of the sides and the bottom.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all nail holes with putty and sand and finish as desired. Add hardware to the drawer fronts.


Maria (not verified)

Fri, 12/11/2009 - 18:08

LOVE this table! I seem to keep adding your plans to my wish list for 2010!!! Thanks so much for sharing your know-how for all my favorite furniture...asking Santa for all kinds of tools and such.
Happy Building!

Jori Hodgson (not verified)

Fri, 01/22/2010 - 00:11

I think this piece of furniture is perhaps my most desired. I may not have experience building, but I honestly feel like I can tackle this one. A few questions though:
- If you use plywood, can you paint it?
- I'm wondered about the look PB gave it and how you think it was done using a torch, Well, since I don't have one, I'm wondering if maybe hammering really hard and damaging edges would be good maybe before staining. Then maybe doing a darker shade of glaze. What do you think? If that would work, would I use some poly afterwards?
- There are so many different 1x2 and 1x12 measurements, would you mind letting me know what footage of each I should buy in order to get the most of those cuts? I ask because I would need Lowe's or Home Depot to help me cut.

Thanks in advance and I'm so sorry for all of the comments and questions tonight. I am just in dire need of furniture because I've never been able to buy what's out there ;) So THANK YOU so much for your time and effort in doing all of this to help others out there. You are most kind.

Ana White (not verified)

Fri, 01/22/2010 - 05:20

If you use plywood, you can paint it. There are many ways to duplicate the pottery barn look. If you are good at painting, use a rag or old sock to stain a darker color around the edges only, and this would give a similar look to the pottery barn look. I give the plans, but it's really the finish that makes or breaks a piece. And the finish, well, that's on you! I've done all sorts of crazy things to distress, everything from using the piece as a work table when building a new piece to rolling the faces on gravel on the sidewalk.

You are going to need

2 - 1x3 boards ($1.50 each)
8 - 1x2 boards (less than $1 each)
4 - 1x12 boards (about $10 each)

You will also need a scrap piece of plywood for the back. Most furniture stores literally use cardboard, but you can buy 1/4" plywood for about $10 a sheet, and the scraps leftover will get used for other projects.

I want to tell you to perhaps try a simpler project to begin, something without doors, but I keep thinking the first piece of furniture I ever built was a console table, with doors, and it turned out great. Just know that everything must be very square or your drawers will not slide properly.


Mon, 01/16/2012 - 14:40

I realise the comment is fairly old, but can you confirm that you can really get an 8 foot length of 1 x 3 (I assume pine) for just $1.50 each?

Nicole McRae (not verified)

Sun, 06/17/2012 - 06:15

Hey, I highly doubt it...I live in Canada (where everything is more expensive than the US) even though our dollar has been at par for years.

I bought spruce recently, which is significantly cheaper than pine (and also not always straight). I paid 1.97 CAD for 1x4's and 1.59 CAD for 1x3's...considering we have one of the largest sources of forests on the planet, I was pretty miffed about it...ugh.


Mon, 06/18/2012 - 15:08

Oh dear, well you should still consider yourself very fortunate - we are paying AU$2.37 per linear metre! here (in Oz) for 19mm x 70mm pine (i.e. AU$5.70 per stick).

No wonder I can't build these pieces of furniture for anything like the stated price estimate. :-(

Thanks for the info, it is very much appreciated.


Tue, 03/10/2015 - 19:14

If you use the select pine, which is craft wood, you can expect to pay about $3.50-$4 per board. $1.50 seems really low to me, but you can find it for about $2

Jori Hodgson (not verified)

Fri, 01/22/2010 - 14:29

Thank you!!

So does that mean 2 FOOT - 1x3 boards
8 FOOT - 1x2 boards, etc.?

If not, I was referring to when you go to the lumber store and how boards are 4, 6, 8, etc. feet tall.

Ana White (not verified)

Fri, 01/22/2010 - 17:01

Hi Jori, unless otherwise noted, when referred to as board, it usually means 8' long. So a 1x2 board would be a board that measures 3/4" thick, 1 1/2" wide, and 8' long.

Andrea (not verified)

Sun, 01/31/2010 - 19:18

I really like this table. I see it as a potential filing cabinet that doesn't look like a filing cabinet. The dimensions on the drawers are so close... I could either take each drawer all the way out and work my files sideways, or add an inch overall to the width of each drawer and file as usual. Also, the weight of all that paper might be substantial... What do you think?

Amber (not verified)

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 09:52

Hi Ana!
I wanted to make this table but in a counter height (about 37 inches). Do you think that there is any other necessary modifications other than making the legs 7 inches longer? Thanks so much for your site!!!

Crystal Sauced… (not verified)

Sat, 07/10/2010 - 00:37

I love this! Am looking to make it but was wondering if you can give me a rough estimate of the cost? Thanks!

Tristan (not verified)

Tue, 10/26/2010 - 09:38

I have a problem... all the 1 x 12's are 11 1/4 wide! This screws up my drawers. Is this a local difference? How the heck am I going to fix this?

Jenny (not verified)

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 10:22

I had the same problem. We adjusted a few measurements and built the table and it looks good.
Here's what we changed. The other measurements stayed the same. Hope this helps.

C) 2-1x12 @ 14 1/2
H) 3-1x2 @ 12
J) 3-1x2 @11 1/2
Q) 8-1x12 @11 1/4

Stephanie Bowling (not verified)

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 06:41

I want this table SO bad! But...I've never built anything before and neither has my husband. Is it really that hard? I don't want to waste money or have it turn out horribly!

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 05/03/2011 - 11:24

Hi Ana,

Great plan for the console table. I will be building it this weekend but wanted to get clarification on a few board sizes before I begin.

Note: I was pulling up the Balin Console table and the instructions are mis-aligned. Instructions for step 5 are a repeat of step 4. Step 5 instructions are actually listed under step 6. This continues to the end and then in step 13 the same picture is listed as in step 12. Instructions need to be shifted up by 1 space and one picture deleted.

1) Should the qty for board J be 3 instead of 2?

2) Can you confirm the measurements for board I? It says 1x12@1". I think it should say 1x2@11 1/2"?

3) Can you confirm the length of board H? It says to cut them at 12 1/4". This will put them on top of board F and would require board J to sit on the top of Board H but the subsequent drawings show Board J to be in front of Board H?

Thank you for your time. Love the website and the projects


Erin E. (not verified)

Thu, 09/29/2011 - 09:22

Looking to create a few of the builds for a new living space. Do you typically stain, sand and seal before or after assembly?

Just curious about edges and corners if staining after.

Thanks, great site!

Kaase Levell (not verified)

Mon, 02/06/2012 - 18:34

Hi - We are working on the Balin Console Table. We are on step 5 and believe that Cut Piece F (which equals 1X2 at 52 1/2) is the wrong length. It won't fit between the legs. When we measure we think that F should measure 50 inches to fit in between the legs. Can anyone help us? We are stuck on Step 5 with 4 1X2's at 52 1/2 inches. Thanks!

Kaase Levell (not verified)

Mon, 02/06/2012 - 18:36

Hi - We are working on the Balin Console Table. We are on step 5 and believe that Cut Piece F (which equals 1X2 at 52 1/2) is the wrong length. It won't fit between the legs. When we measure we think that F should measure 50 inches to fit in between the legs. Can anyone help us? We are stuck on Step 5 with 4 1X2's at 52 1/2 inches. Thanks!


Mon, 02/06/2012 - 18:43

Hi - We are working on the Balin Console Table. We are on step 5 and believe that Cut Piece F (which equals 1X2 at 52 1/2) is the wrong length. It won't fit between the legs. When we measure we think that F should measure 50 inches to fit in between the legs. Can anyone help us? We are stuck on Step 5 with 4 1X2's at 52 1/2 inches. Thanks!

Krystal (not verified)

Tue, 06/05/2012 - 16:25

I literally cannot stop smiling. And I'm so happy I might cry. I just found your website and I am starting to think that all of the beautiful furniture I dream about may actually be possible!!!!
And I have desperately been wanting something with this design! EEEEEEK


Thu, 06/07/2012 - 02:30

Is it just me or are the diagrams in the plans too small to make out clearly? I certainly can't read the text associated with them and if I zoom them up the text is pixelated and illegible. The PDF format is even worse. :-(

Are the Sketchup diagrams available anywhere?

JordanW (not verified)

Tue, 06/26/2012 - 06:04

I am considering building this table. Could and administrator please update these plans with the needed corrections mentioned in the comments?