Build a Walnut-Slab Coffee Table

Learn how to turn salvaged wood into a coffee table perfect for your living room.

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Instead of turning it into firewood, transform a reclaimed slab of walnut into an elegant, rustic coffee table in this project.

Materials and Tools:

walnut slab
wood glue
paraffin wax
eight 6-inch lag screws
sawhorses
straightedge
tape measure
pencil
17-inch circular saw
chop saw
flush-cut saw
power drill
½-inch Forstner bit for drill
lag bit for drill
hex attachment for drill
plug-cutter attachment for drill

Steps:

1. Lay the walnut slab on top of a pair of sawhorses. One side will be intact and used for the tabletop, while the other side will be divided into four sections for the legs. Keep an additional small scrap for later use.

2. Mark four evenly spaced 14-inch lengths onto the walnut to cut out the legs. Crosscut the marks with a 17-inch circular saw, since the wood is thick and requires a large blade.

3. Cut down the legs as square as possible, and then send the legs through a planer to trim them to a uniform size and finish. Cut about five degrees off one end of each leg to prevent the naturally uneven table surface from wobbling.

4. Measure and mark lines on the top and bottom of the tabletop for mounting points for the legs. For a stylish look and greater stability, attach the legs at an angle toward the center.

5. Use the Forstner bit and drill to create two large holes through the walnut where each leg will mount. The bit creates large holes so the screws will sink in deep and won't be visible.

6. Switch to a lag bit on the drill and create pilot holes in the legs where they will attach to the tabletop through the holes. Wrap a piece of tape 6 inches from the bottom of the bit to mark the correct depth.

7. Place a small amount of wax around the 6-inch lag screws so they screw in easily. Hold the legs up in place beneath the tabletop so that the pilot holes and the Forstner holes align.

8. Using the hex attachment on the drill, carefully fasten the lag screws in place through the tabletop. The screw will sink all the way through, with the screw head sitting beneath the surface. Tighten each set of two screws gradually so that the leg snugs tightly to the bottom of the coffee table.

9. Place a plug-cutter attachment on the drill and drill straight into a small piece of scrap walnut to hollow out plugs to cover each lag screw. Finish cutting them out on the back side with a chop saw.

10. Put wood glue on the plugs and place them inside each of the eight leg holes through the tabletop. Hammer them into place if necessary. Wipe off excess glue with a wet towel and cut the plugs flush against the top.

11. Sand the table to a smooth finish.

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