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  • Writer's pictureMatt Weber

Make a Live Edge Coffee Table

Table construction is a trending application for live-edge slabs. The slab alone can serve as the table top. You can build a wooden leg support structure, or reduce your labor and give the table an industrial touch by attaching prefabricated metal legs, as shown on this coffee table.

The U-shaped metal legs fasten directly onto the underside of the slab. With the table top upside-down, use a tape measure to position the legs where you’d like them, typically centered on the bulk of the slab and parallel to each other. Mark the legs’ mounting holes with a pencil.

Pre-drill the fastener holes to avoid splitting the wood. On this table, we used 1/4-in. lag screws to attach the metal legs.

Before final assembly, move the table to a very level work surface. Position a bubble level across the bottoms of the legs in each direction to make sure the table will sit flat when upright. Slight deviations in the slab thickness or construction of the legs can cause problems. If you see any issues, insert shims as needed between the slab and the metal legs until you achieve level in each direction. Drive the fasteners through the mounting holes in the hardware. Make sure all fasteners are cinched down tight and the legs are secure before turning your table upright for use.

This coffee table was made from a slab of poplar purchased from Rustic Lodge Works of Cullman, Alabama.

Our first step was to cut the ends square, although I left a live edge along both long sides.

On this project, I sanded off the tree bark but left the natural shape intact.

Finish to your preference. For the table, I used a combination of teak oil and a semi-transparent gray wood stain.

Use a square and tape measure to carefully position the legs on the underside of the table.

Mark the screw holes and pre-drill pilot holes for the fasteners to avoid risk of splitting the wood. It's a good idea to mark the drilling depth on the drill bit with painter's tape, so you don't accidentally drill too deeply and penetrate the table top.

Place a level on the legs in each direction to make sure your table will have a level surface when upright. Correct any minor problems by inserting shims between the table and the legs before screwing the legs in place.

Fasten the hardware in place. On this project, we used 1/4"lag screws. Make sure your drill bit and fasteners are not long enough penetrate the top surface of your table.

The final step was to apply a clear Polycrylic finish to protect the wood from water and stains.

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Dec 03, 2022

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