Turned Leg Coffee Table

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:45
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How to build a turned leg coffee table. Step by step plan included video tutorial to build coffee table.

Hello everyone and Happy Monday!

I know we've all got a wedding or two to attend this summer, and wanted to get started on some economical plans that you can build and gift. Instead of going to the ATM a few minutes before the wedding reception, what about spending a weekend building a coffee table?
And for those of you asking for a turned leg coffee table, or just an updated Tryde Coffee table plan - well, we went the extra bit and made a video for you! 
This coffee table is very very easy to build.  I took me about three hours in total, probably take you less if you aren't being watched by a camera!  I used standard farmhouse legs purchased from Osbourne Wood, but if you watch the video, at the end, you will see a coffee table made with smaller legs.  It's the same plan, just cut the aprons a tad longer to make up for the smaller (and yes cheaper and available at local hardware stores) turned coffee table legs.
Oh - and OF COURSE you can use the ideas presented in this video to build a Farmhouse Table with turned legs as well!  I'd either use a 2x thick top or add a few under table supports because no handmade farmhouse table we make is going to sag, right?  Just remember that a standard dining table height is 30".  
Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

4 - 3 1/2" turned coffee table legs
6 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long

Cut List

7 - 1x4 @ 45" long (tabletop boards)
2 - 1x4 @ 24 1/2" (breadboard ends)
2 - 1x4 @ 16 1/2"
2 - 1x4 @ 41"

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

The key to a great tabletop is making sure all of your tabletop boards are cut to the exact length, and then joined with pocket holes from underneath. I like to clamp every screw just to make sure we are getting the smoothest edge to edge joint possible.

If you are using glue, be very careful not to let glue dry on the tabletop and stain the surface.

If your ends are not perfectly straight, there is no shame in trimming with a circular saw. It's about getting a great finished project!

Another consideration is to try to alternate the grain of the boards so the boards aren't all facing bark side up or bark side down. This is done to prevent your tabletop from warping in one direction.

Step 2

Once your main top is straight and square, drill 3/4" pocket holes on ends for attaching breadboard ends.

Step 3

Then attach breadboard ends with 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. Take a second to admire your tabletop and set aside :)

Step 4

Attach legs to end aprons. I like to use a scrap piece of plywood as a spacer to elevate the apron - just makes life easier!

TIP: to avoid any screw holes on tabletop, drill 3/4" pocket holes on aprons facing upward for attaching top in later steps.

Step 5

Step 6

If you drilled the pocket holes in aprons, simply attach through aprons into underside of tabletop with 1 1/4" pocket hole screws and glue. Otherwise, attach through top into aprons.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.



Mon, 02/13/2012 - 17:14

You'll actually be fine with 1x thickness stock for the top and it won't sag if you glue the edges and lay it on rails like you have. If you can secure it with pipe clamps until the glue sets you won't even need the pocket screws to join the edges.


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 17:34

Clay, do you mean with regard to making it a dining table? i.e. using 1x thickness? Just wanted to clarify. I see a new dining table in my future, but would rather use the 1x...


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 04:49

1x material is more than sufficient for a table top, if you use the support rails that Ana has shown in the picture. It will change the look of the table quite a bit, because the top will seem much lighter.

Your wood absolutely needs to be straight, and it's not a terrible idea to match plane the edges (look for youtube videos on match planing). It can partially or completely remove the groove between boards. Another alternative if you have a table saw is a glue line rip blade, which I'm currently using for some glue ups. If you have those tools though you're probably not asking these questions.


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 20:16

Ana, this is absolutely gorgeous. Thank you so much. The table is beautiful and the video is so very helpful! Love it all.


Guest (not verified)

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 22:16

Sorry - I am new at this - so some simple questions:
(btw - very nice work/site)

- What type of wood did you use for this?
- What do you mean that you "clamp each screw"?


In reply to by Guest (not verified)


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 07:01

Watching the video, what Ana is talking about with clamping the joint line is maybe not entirely obvious, and isn't always practical to do, but is very useful.

She's using toggle clamps to hold the boards down to her work surface, at the joint between the boards, as close as possible to the screw she is driving. That makes for a pretty flat top, and getting it any flatter will require copious sanding or some work with bench planes.

She's using toggle clamps, which require a work surface they can be attached to. The good news is that Kreg makes rails that will hold toggle clamps and can be attached to nearly any work surface. If you can find a Woodcraft store they usually have a pretty good selection and the people there can show you some really neat options.

I also thought she was using something a bit nicer than standard home center pine, possibly poplar or a select grade. For something like this the quality of the wood makes a real difference.


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 08:12

This is very helpful information, Clay. I'll look for match planing videos as you suggested. There is a lumber store near me that sells very nice straight wood (unlike the wood I find at Orange or Blue) so I may go there for the wood.

Thanks again Ana!

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