A Square Coffee Table That Turns into a Rectangle Bench
Materials and Tools:
3/4" oak plywood horizontal for front/back bracing - eight pieces at 36"x 3"
3/4" oak plywood verticals bracing for all sides – 16 pieces at 11-1/2" x 3"
3/4" oak plywood vertical side bracing – eight pieces at 17-7/8" x 3"
3/4" oak plywood front/back panels – two pieces at 30-3/8" x 11 7/8"
1/4" oak plywood side panels – four pieces at 12-1/4" x12-1/4"
1/4" ledgers for front/back – four pieces at 34-3/8" x 1-1/4"
1/4" ledgers for sides – four pieces at 16-3/8" x 1-1/4"
four pieces of 1" plywood for the top and bottom
drill and 3/8" drill bit
3/8" x 2" dowels
3/4" rabbet bit
nail gun and 1-1/2" nails
pin nailer and 1/4" pins
1. Measure the 3/4" oak plywood and cut all of the pieces down to size.
2. To attach the braces together, line up the horizontal pieces over the side braces so that they sit flush. Place a dowel jig over the end of the braces and drill four pilot holes (two on each brace) with the 3/8" bit, and the collar set at one inch. Drill holes into the end of the vertical braces and the side end of the horizontal brace.
3. Once the holes are made, clamp the corner down and repeat the above step on the opposite end. Do this for all brace pieces.
4. To attach the pieces together, take the 3/8" x 2" dowels and lightly apply glue to the ends with a small paintbrush. Insert the dowels into the horizontal pieces and then place the verticals over them. Pound the pieces in place until the two braces pieces meet. Repeat this step for all of the braces.
5. With the router, create a 1/4" rabbet cut along the inside frame. This is for the panels to be inserted later.
6. Take the frames and miter the side edges of each, making sure the short angle is on the same side as the rabbet cuts.
7. Attach the frames together using wood glue and 1-1/2" nails.
8. Cut down the inset panels to size. Stain the panels and let dry.
9. For the top of the bench, you’ll need to add ledgers to hold it up. Cut and miter the ledgers to size. Attach just above the rabbet cuts for the side panels.
10. Cut the top and bottom pieces to size. Use a pocket-hole jig to make several holes around the piece. It won’t matter where the holes are placed since they won’t be seen.
11. Place the top with the pocket holes facing upward and attach using screws. You will have a 1/4" inset all around the tabletop.
12. Repeat for the bottom piece.
13. For the top, mix up a batch of cement mix and cover the 1/4" inset with it. Smooth out so the mixture sits flat.
14. Create a mosaic top using tile or glass pieces, placing them into the cement mixture. Once you’re finished, take a sponge and wipe off any excess cement from the tiles.
15. Finish staining the frame of the table along with the table bottom.
16. Repeat all the steps above to create a second table.
17. Attach the inset panels to the table from the inside, securing with 1/4" pin nails. For the two side panels, attach to the sides that face out.
18. Attach the two tables together using a piano hinge.
19. Secure a little latch to the front to hold the two sections of the table together.
20. To make this table easy to move around and open, attach castors to the bottom of the table. Use a 1-inch spacer along the castors to make sure the wheels don’t hit the side of the table.