Skip to content
DIY coffee table build yourself from wooden planks

DIY build coffee table yourself from old wooden planks

You want to build yourself a DIY coffee table from old wooden planks? Then you are exactly right here. Some time ago I had exactly the same idea and wanted to build my own coffee table with its own little story. Now I would like to show you the DIY coffee table here in the Do It Yourself Blog for Furniture present. How I proceeded, where I got the wooden planks and how the coffee table is now doing in our apartment, you will learn in this article.
Here is another short Table of contents about this DIY article:

The plan for the self-made coffee table

DIY coffee table build yourself material wood

What material do you have available? How big do you want the table to be? A DIY coffee table needs to be well planned.

Before you start sawing, screwing and planing your new DIY coffee table, you should first of all know how the coffee table should look and, above all, where exactly it should stand. For example, if the sofa corner in your apartment turns out a little smaller, then the coffee table should not be oversized, so that the overall picture does not appear irritating. The following questions popped into my head before I even finished a single move:

What style should the DIY coffee table?

In what style do you want to build your own coffee table? When answering this question, it is important that the table also visually fits well into the future apartment. For example, should the coffee table rather minimalist be or exude some industrial charm? With the old wooden planks and the solid metal feet, I finally decided on a mixture of both. Since the rest of the apartment is also furnished in the so-called industrial style, the coffee table fits seamlessly with the rest of the furniture.
I also wanted the used edges of the table not to be trimmed, but to retain the natural tree edge where possible.

Length, width and height of the coffee table?

DIY coffee table build yourself from wooden planks

I'm not a good drawer, but it's enough to visualize the future coffee table 😉 .

Of course, the size of the DIY coffee table should be determined at the planning stage. Depending on the size of the room and available space, usually also differs the ideal size for the coffee table. I wanted to build myself a coffee table that is about 100 cm long, about 70 cm wide and just under 40 cm high. So the table fits perfectly in our sofa corner. Tip: So that the table is not too high afterwards, you should also plan for the thickness of the tabletop - the wooden planks of my coffee table, for example, are just under 4 cm thick.

Material of the self-made coffee table?

As already described, the coffee table should shine in a minimalist, industrial style. Only two different materials I wanted to use for it - wood and metal. For this I searched in our area for really old, but still intact wooden planks of oak wood, to breathe life into them again. In the countryside, you can usually get such oak planks very cheaply, because they are lying around in every other attic there. In the city, these old planks for tables are more in demand and therefore not quite as cheap to have. But I do live in the city and for this very reason I simply asked around in my home village. Cheap, stable and well-made metal runners for the DIY coffee table to find, turned out to be a real challenge. However, I am also there finally with a known Zero Waste App called eBay classifieds for 100€ found. If you are interested in the contact, then just write me a short mail to metallkufen[at]

The construction of the DIY coffee table from planks

DIY coffee table build yourself from wooden planks

This is what the oak planks looked like after being planed and shortened - it's nice, isn't it? 🙂

So now it was pretty clear how the table should look. In the next step, I would now like to describe to you exactly how I proceeded to build this DIY coffee table from wooden planks as quickly as possible, as cheaply as possible and of course fully satisfactory.

Get metal runners for the coffee table

Metal skids DIY coffee table from wooden planks build yourself

In the metal skids need to pre-drill holes to later connect the wood and metal.

On the Internet you can find square, or rectangular metal skids at prices around 300 - 400€. That was much too expensive for me. Finally I found a really good supplier who made the runners exactly as I wanted them. Since I already knew what dimensions my table should have, he was able to make and send the metal runners within a week as requested. For two table legs I paid only 100€ gross - including shipping. If you also want such cheap metal runners for your DIY coffee table, just write me a short mail to metallkufen[at] 🙂
I briefly sanded the metal runners with a random orbital sander and painted them with a clear transparent lacquer to give the table legs their rough industrial charm.

Get and process wooden planks for coffee table

Nothing is more boring than building a coffee table from pre-cut new wood. A DIY coffee table gets its own charm only with a few rustic, old oak planks. As described earlier, finding suitable wooden planks in the country is much easier and cheaper than in the city. After a few conversations in my home village, I quickly found someone who has had a stack of old oak planks lying in his yard for 30 years. For a small amount of money, I bought the planks from him and transported them to my home. Since I now had a lot of wood, I built a dining table and a desk myself in addition to the coffee table. After a final material check, I could finally get started and prepare the wood for my tables. I proceeded according to the following sequence:

1) Clean and examine oak wood.

Since the wood had to go to the carpenter for straightening in the next step, I checked it in advance for nails, cleaned it of excess dirt with a high-pressure cleaner and dried it in a warm room. This step already shows how beautiful the wood still is, even if it has been lying unused in the corner for 30 years.

2) Planing, trimming and cutting wooden planks to size.

After taking my beautiful planks to the carpenter, they were evenly planed on site, excess edges (of the connectors) were trimmed, and all the planks were cut to the appropriate lengths and widths. Besides a slight bend in the working wood, there were no other problems with the woods for the DIY coffee table from this point on.

3) Sanding wooden planks

DIY coffee table build yourself from wooden planks

This is how the DIY coffee table looks sanded and screwed together. Actually, the only thing missing is the hard wax oil.

First of all, lay the wooden planks next to each other in the same way as you want the table to be later. Make sure that the growth direction of the wood (the annual rings in the cross-section of the wood) always point in the same direction. This way you have the best chance that the table top will remain even over time. So that the self-built coffee table later has no sharp edges and rough surfaces, I now sanded it first with 80-grit sandpaper and later with 180-grit sandpaper. It is important that you only sand the outer sides of the coffee table and the surface. So that the underside remains nice and straight, you should only sand over it very roughly once at the most. You do not need to sand the sides that will be joined together later. This way you won't have any unevenness in the smooth surface. Optionally, you can now glue the wooden planks of the coffee table together. However, due to the higher effort and the longer waiting time, I did not do this. In the end, it works just as well 🙂

4) Coat wooden planks with hard wax oil.

DIY paint coffee table with hard wax oil

You can paint the sanded wooden planks with a transparent hard wax oil, for example.

To make the wooden planks for your coffee table very easy to clean, the surface should be as smooth as possible and have a kind of protective film. For this, you can coat it with hard wax oil, for example. I opted for transparent oil, so that the wood looks as natural as possible. Through the hard wax oil, for example, the water from a fallen glass does not soak directly into the wood and then also does not cause any damage. The oil also gives the oak planks a slightly glossy look.
The corresponding Hard wax oil you get here*.

5) Machining metal skids

The wood of the coffee table can now dry. Now it is necessary to process the made metal runners for the table. Overall, the time required for processing until drying is kept within limits. I first briefly sanded off rust and other coating on the metal, then wiped the surface clean with a damp rag. Now the way was clear to safely spray the clear coat onto the metal. I did this with a spray bottle -. plastic-free this is unfortunately not possible as far as I know. I wanted to preserve the somewhat rancid "used look" of the metal and therefore opted for a transparent varnish. Of course, it is also possible to spray the table legs with a paint. In any case, drying is pretty quick. Either before or now after spraying, you can now drill the holes for the screws to connect the wood and metal in the appropriate places in the table legs.

DIY coffee table build yourself from wooden planks

This is how the finished coffee table looks from below - instructions as described in the next two points.

6) Compensate for bending with crossbars

Ideally, the wooden planks are not bent and all the same thickness. But since wood is known to work, the planks are also usually not completely straight. This can not always be completely avoided even by planing. Especially to avoid possible unevenness on the surface of the coffee table, it is worth connecting the wooden planks with 1-2 crossbars under the table. Thus, unevenness on the surface still a little bit tighten. By placing some cardboard or other thin layers between the crossbars and wooden planks, you can also still vary the heights minimally.
The corresponding You can find screws here*.

7) Screw wooden planks to the metal skids.

The planks of the DIY coffee table are ready and the holes in the metal are also pre-drilled. If you want to make your coffee table yourself, the next step is to screw the planks to the metal runners. To do this, simply lay the (optional: already screwed together) coffee table on its back. Then you can place the metal runners in the desired places and carefully drill through the holes pre-drilled in the metal into the wood. This way the screws have a straight path into the wood. Depending on how much the surface is still warped, you can also balance it out a bit with the help of screws tightened to different degrees. This will give you the smoothest possible surface.
The corresponding You can find screws again here*.

DIY coffee table decorate and enjoy

DIY coffee table build yourself from wooden planks

The finished wooden plank coffee table in our apartment. Minimalist with a touch of industrial charm.

After the transport to your own apartment and the short assembly, it is finally done. The sturdy DIY coffee table made of old oak planks and metal is ready and ready for permanent use. From now on it is as desired decorate and enjoy. Even if such a coffee table here and there still makes a little more work than might be foreseen, he is in the end but quite quickly finished. What do you think of it? I look forward to any feedback and of course any questions about the self-built wooden plank coffee table.
Best regards,
Living plastic-free - Less plastic waste in the environment

PS.: Feel free to look further in the Do It Yourself Blog - there you can learn, for example, how to make your own coffee table in addition to the DIY. Make toothpaste yourself simply by following your heart.

Coffee box Suggestions for improvement Newsletter

* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate links. If you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!


Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *