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A white slatted coffee table with books, a candle and a bowl of fruit

Overview

A coffee table is a handy thing to have in your lounge room or around your home. Not only does this modern one look great, but you'd be surprised how easy this slatted coffee table is to make with just some timber and a few simple tools.

Steps

1Cut the timber to size

To make this project easier, you can have your timber pre-cut to size at your local Bunnings. Here's our cut list:

65mm x 19mm pine DAR

  • 1200mm x 2 (frame)
  • 710mm x 2 (frame)

42mm x 19mm pine DAR

  • 710mm x 19 (tabletop slats)
  • 1160mm x 2 (slat battens)

90mm x 45mm Tasmanian oak

  • 350mm x 4 (legs)

65mm x 19mm Tasmanian oak

  • 570mm x 2 (trimming)
Timber slats on a workbench

2Attach the supports to the frame

You will need to attach support battens to the inside of the coffee table sides to support the slats. They should be positioned so the slats and the sides of the coffee table frame are flush. To do this take your two 65mm x 19mm lengths and attach a 42mm x 19mm length to each as a support. Glue and fix into place with the nail gun.

Person marking joins of two pieces of timber with pencil

3Complete the frame

Take the two 710mm lengths of timber, which is for the short side of the table, apply glue to their ends and fix into place with the frame using the nail gun.

Person connecting timber frame together using glue

4Attach the slats

Measure and mark for the slats leaving an equal distance between each slat. We made our gap 15mm apart. Place the slats on the battens and secure into place using the nail gun.

Person using nail gun to nail timber slats to frame

5Putty and sand the frame

For a nice clean finish, use wood filler to fill any nail holes and gaps. If you need to make the wood filler more pliable, try putting it in some warm water first. Once the filler is dry, sand with the orbital sander using 240 grit sandpaper.

Person filling gaps in timber slat and frame with putty

6Prime and paint the table

For a great finish and good coverage on your table, apply two coats of primer. If you're using spray paint, make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions, work in a well-ventilated area and use the appropriate safety gear. Use smooth even strokes to apply the primer. Once the primer is dry, finish off the table with your favourite colour. Apply as many coats as necessary.

Person spraying tabletop with spray paint

7Rebate the legs

For a neater finish and to make the table sturdy, you'll need to make a rebate in each leg. Measure 65mm down the leg, which is the depth of the frame. Then set the drop saw to 26mm, the width of the frame, and make a series of cuts along the timber to check out the rebate. Use the drop saw to cut the leg to size – 350mm. Then use the hammer and chisel to remove the timber from the rebate. You'll need to do this for all four legs. Then use the orbital sander and 120 grit sandpaper to make the edges smooth.

 

Person cutting rebate out of timber table leg

8Attach the legs

Flip the table so the top is lying on the workbench and clamp it down. Then place the rebated legs so they sit flush with the frame. Pre-drill with a 2mm countersunk drill bit, then glue and screw into place. You should use a 40mm galvanised screw into the end and a 30mm screw into the facing board.

Person drilling hole into table leg and tabletop

9Fix the trimmings

To give the table a clean look, we attached the 570mm Tasmanian oak as a trimming to the ends. Make sure that your trimming is cut according to the length of the sides of your table. Fix the trimmings with glue and nails for both sides.

Person attaching trim to edge of coffee table

10Putty and sand the legs

Putty up all of the holes in the legs and the trimming. When it's dry, sand until it's nice and smooth.

Person filling cracks between timber with putty

11Varnish the table

To bring out the natural grain of the timber, give the coffee table a stain or coat of varnish. We used masking tape to keep the varnish away from the painted timber. Apply as many coats of varnish as necessary, then leave to dry and lightly sand between coats.

Person applying varnish to table leg

12Enjoy your new coffee table

Once the varnish is dry, find a spot for your new coffee table. Add a few books or some of your favourite things on it and then sit back and enjoy your handiwork.
Coffee table with a book, bowl of fruit and tray with candles

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.