*This post is sponsored by The Home Depot and Aqua Coat
I have been wanting to build a round coffee table for a while, I just wasn't sure about the design. I started building this with one design in mind, then I totally switched gears mid build. I ended up adding some brass accents for a modern twist and I am super happy I did!
Check out the full build video below!
Also below, dimensions and cut list so you can build this table yourself!
All links are affiliate links, clicking on them helps me keep this site going :)
Tools & Finish
I used 1x6 White Oak boards, you can use any material you like! I started by cutting the pieces for the two circles.
I wanted a 35" circle, so I took a thin scrap and made two little holes that were 17.5" apart from each other, this will act sort of like a trammel or compass. I put an awl in one hole of the trammel and a pencil in the other, then I placed the awl on the center of the middle board and rotated the pencil around all the boards to create a 35" circle!
The reason for drawing out the circle is to mark for the dowels I used to join the boards. I wanted to make sure the dowels would be inside the circle. It would be really bad if I went through the trouble of cutting a circle and my dowels were showing through the edge...
I used this center finding dowel jig to drill all the holes. It's really easy to use but sometimes it's just easier if you get up on your bench to use it.
The first panel I glued up was a disaster. Watch the video, you'll see what I mean...
I learned from my mistakes and the second one went really smoothly. It made more sense to work from the middle out. This way the widest board was at the bottom and it was more stable and easier to work with.
It was way easier to glue up the panel into two parts and then clamp those two parts together.
While that dried I worked on making the circle cutting jig for my router.
I unscrewed the router baseplate and used it as a template on a scrap piece to plywood for the jig.
There a 3 bits used to make this jig.
1) The largest forstner bit I had to make the center hole.
2) A regular twist bit that was slightly larger than the screws that came with the router. (I drilled all the way through the scrap with this bit.)
3) A forstner bit that was slightly larger than the head of the screws that came with the router. (I set a stop on my drill press so that I wouldn't drill all the way through the board with this one.)
Then I attatched the jig to the base of my router making sure not to overtighten the screws. (Overtightening can crack the thin plywood.)
I made a hole at the opposite side of the jig 17.5" away from the edge of the router bit. (I used an upcut spiral bit for this.)
Then I predrilled a hole in the center of my panel, making sure not to drill all the way through, also making sure the hole is drilled on the UNDERSIDE of the table. No one wants a hole in the middle of their table top...
Stuck a nail in place and cut away!
It took me roughly 20 minutes to cut out each circle, which is pretty good for a trim router and vacuuming in between each round.
After the circles were cut I got to working on the legs.
I didn't think the 3/4" material was going to be strong enough to support the table top so I glued up two pieces to create 1-1/2" wide legs.
I glued these all up at one time using the same set of clamps. I have seen ppl use waxed paper between each glue up, but I didnt think it was necessary.
After the legs were glued up, I decided to change up the design. I spent a good amount of time preparing pieces for arc supports on the legs but decided to scrap that idea and add the brass rods.
With this change of design, I also decided to cut the legs into squares.
Dowel joinery is really strong and simple to do.
I drilled holes on the underside of the table top, then I used dowel centers to mark the locations of those holes onto the table legs.
If you look closely at the picture below you can see 4 dots on the table leg. Those dots are from the dowel centers, this makes it really easy to drill the corresponding holes.
It's important to use a good brad point bit here. The tip of the bit will fall right into the hole made by the dowel centers, then the holes will be perfectly aligned.
I made a simple little jig to mark for the holes the bras bars will go into.
In retrospect I should have made a jig that included all the holes. The four holes for the leg and two holes for the brass pieces. That would have made this more precise.
I forgot that I had this cool little tool to help keep your drill straight while free hand drilling.
Luckily I remembered and used it to drill the holes for the brass.
There are a lot of ways you can cut brass. Circular saw, bandsaw, rotary tool, hacksaw...
I have tried all those ways and they all work fine (except a hacksaw, it just takes too long for my liking....) The Home Depot recently sent me this RIDGID Reciprocating Saw and a bunch of Diablo Metal Cutting Blades so I figured I'd give that a try!
These Diablo Blades are made for cutting through metal, so they were perfect for the job. The set also comes with wood blades that have no issues if you happen to run through some nails or screws. These blades are great, but honestly, my favorite thing about this set is the case it comes with. It's awesome for shop organization.
Now for the Recip saw... these saws aren't generally used for fine woodworking/metal projects, they are meant for heavy duty demo work. This RIDGID Saw is built super tough, it's crazy powerful and it cuts really fast. Since this was my first time cutting brass with it, I was really happy I could control the speed with the trigger. After a few practice cuts, I was able to get the perfect speed and pressure to quickly cut through this brass bar stock.
If you choose to cut round stock like this, just make sure you have some good clamps to hold your workpiece in place.
In order for the brass to go into the holes easily I rounded over the edges on my belt sander. I also sanded the bottom of the brass pieces so the epoxy had something to stick to.
The next step is optional. I was going for a cerused/limed oak look for this table. In order to achieve that look, I took a brass bristle brush and cleaned out the grain of the wood after sanding.
Then I assembled all the pieces! I used glue for the wood and epoxy for the brass.
Then clamped it all up! I made sure to lift the table up off the floor a bit so there was enough room for the clamps.
Since no one will ever see the bottom, I decided to just screw those in to place.
While it was upside down I screwed on the wheels. Since these wheels don't have locks, I was concerned the table would be rolling all over the place. I'm happy to report the table stays in place on the carpet, so it's all good!
I used the Makita impact bits to drive these screws in. These bits are meant to last up to 60 times longer than your average bit. That means less slipping and stripping. Good stuff.
Now time for the finishing.
The first step was to stain the wood. I chose to use this White Pickle stain from Aqua Coat. When you add white color to oak it ends up being a really cool gray color.
Since this stain is water based, it raises the grain. So, after the stain dried, I knocked it down with 220 grit sandpaper.
I probably should have added another coat of stain at this point. But you know what they say about hindsight...
It's really important to clean your surfaces between each coat of finish. After sanding I always vacuum. This little Makita 18 Volt Cordless Vacuum weighs only 7 pounds so it makes this job a bit easier. It runs on the Makita 18V system, so if you're already on that system, this is a great little addition!
Here's my little secret for finishing.... After I vacuum, I use a Swiffer pad to collect any dust that the vac may have missed. (I also do this method on the floors in my house. Vacuum, swiffer, mop...)
I'm going to be using a really cool product from Aqua Coat called Wood Grain Filler. In order to use that product I need to first put on a coat of dewaxed shellac (also known as Seal Coat).
This stuff dries super fast, so it's easy to move on to the next step.
And now for the grain filler.... This stuff is so cool.
Typically it's used to prep opened grain wood for paint or to create a glass like finish.
It dries completely clear, so I decided to add some tint to it to add contrast to the wood grain.
In the picture below, you can see how the white color is filling into the grain, creating a cerused/limed oak effect.
Its very easy to apply, you use a scraper to rub the filler into the grain. A little goes a long way with this stuff. I did 3 coats on the whole table and I barely made a dent into the container.
Once dry, (30 minutes) I sanded with 320 grit to remove any excess that was sitting on the wood and not in the grain.
I think I may have sanded a bit too much though or I should have put on 2 coats of shellac to protect my stain better.
After 3 coats of the grain filler I used this Aqua Thane topcoat.
It is really meant to be sprayed, but I just don't trust myself with my sprayer yet, so I used a foam brush to apply it.
I used this product because it's water based so it's non-yellowing on white stains. Another reason I used this topcoat, it's specially formulated to be scratch and mar resistant. You guys know I have 3 kids, right?
It dries really quickly, so I was able to do 2 coats, sanding lightly between each coat and then it was done!
Here's a quick little finishing tip: When applying top coats, I like to use a light at an angle like this so any imperfections could easily be seen.
Sometimes it's hard to see If you're missing finish in one area, or maybe there is a bubble. Using a task light, like this Milwaukee Battery Powered Light , makes it easy to spot that missing finish or tiny bubble.
After the finish dried I cleaned up the brass bars with some sandpaper and steel wool. It's important to wait for the topcoat to dry before using the steel wool. (If bits of steel wool get stuck in water based finished it could cause discoloration from rust.)
I'm super happy with how this build turned out! I loved experimenting with the finish, I would love you hear your thoughts on highlighting the grain and the brass accents.
I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the ProSpective 2018 Campaign. As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Worth of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.