Create Your Own Contemporary Coffee Table


I helped my oldest son Eric move from his apartment in Utah to another in Georgia, where he has accepted a university teaching position. Unfortunately, his coffee table was no longer worth moving, for it had been made of painted particle board that crumbled under the slightest stress. In its place I offered to make him a simple table from real wood, and began by gluing together three boards: clear pine on the outside and a contrasting strip of cherry down the center.

After a light sanding and vacuuming off the dust, I brushed on the first of three coats of  Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish, selecting a gloss sheen for a more contemporary look.

To continue in the contemporary vein, I decide to stain the pine base black. Minwax® offers a black stain in five different formulas, and for Eric’s table I selected Onyx in the  Minwax® Express Color™ Wiping Stain & Finish line. You apply it with a soft cloth and, unlike paint, the stain still lets the beauty of the wood grain show.

After staining the two ends, two side supports, and the lower shelf, I let them dry, then glued and screwed them together to form the base for his coffee table. Afterwards, I applied two coats of the same  Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish I used on the top.

After everything had dried, I attached the underside of the top to the inside of the base with small L-brackets that no one will ever notice. As you can see, the strip of cherry helps relieve the large expanse of natural wood on the top.

But in our house no project is complete until Daisy gives it her wag of approval. “Just the right height for dog snacks” is what she’s thinking! In case you are wondering, this table measures 40” l., 22” w., and 16” h. And, yes, I softened the corners on Eric’s table after bumping my shins on my own coffee table corners too many times!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!