Lift Top Coffee Table with Storage & Copper Pipe Base

 

Steps

  1. Use your miter saw to break down the wood boards into rough lengths. Always be extremely careful when cutting rough lumber on the miter saw because kickback can happen really easily if the boards have a lot of tension and pinch the blade. Use the clamp to hold the material down and keep your hands away from the blade to ensure you will not get injured if kickback occurs.
  2. After the boards were cut to rough length, square up one face and one edge at the jointer. If you don’t have tools to mill rough lumber like this, you could always just buy pre-milled lumber or use plywood instead.
  3. Once the boards had two square surfaces, run them through the planer to bring the other face parallel to that flattened face.  The whole milling process could be spread out over the course of two days, first truing up the faces of the boards and letting them rest overnight to allow for any movement to occur and then flattening them again and bringing the boards down to final thickness.
  4. Next, rip the boards to their final width at the table saw and pay attention to any defects that you may want to remove.
  5. After the boards are ripped to width, lay them out and mark locations for Dominos, which you can use for alignment. Although, biscuits or dowels would also work in the exact same way here, the Dominos are really just to keep the boards from slipping around during the glue up, which saves some sanding later.
  6. After a few hours in the clamps, remove the clamps and scrape off any glue squeeze out. Then tape off a few knot holes on the underside of the top to prep for filling them with epoxy. Use a pressure roller to make sure the tape is really well adhered and this will also help prevent leaks.
  7. Use High Performance epoxy and mix in some dark grey pigment. Then pour the epoxy into the knot holes in a thin stream to try and allow as much air to escape as possible. Use the TS8000 with the MAP-Pro cylinder to pop any bubbles in the surface of the epoxy.
  8. After the epoxy cures overnight, remove the excess. Use a combination of a block plane and card scraper to do this. The block plane removes the bulk extremely quickly and then the card scraper flushes up the surface really well. And no wasting sandpaper and creating tons of epoxy dust, which is always a plus!
  9. Before cutting the coffee table top to final size, work on the cabinet section of the coffee table. The first thing you will need to do is work on the side of the cabinet which would house the drawer front. Cut the drawer front from the middle of the board, as this will create a drawer front with a perfect continuous grain pattern.
  10. To do this, lay out where the drawer front would be, making sure to label all of the parts, and then cut away the top and bottom sections at the table saw. With the top and bottom strips removed, crosscut the drawer front from the center section at the miter saw. After that, all that is left to do is glue the parts back together, leaving the gap in the middle for the drawer front. Use the Dominos for alignment again because alignment is pretty critical, and also make sure to leave a gap on either end of the drawer front for clearance.
  11. Only apply glue to the areas that need it and not along the entire length of the strips. Once the glue is dried, clean up the board and then rip all of the boards for the sides of the cabinet, including the board with the drawer front, to final width at the table saw.
  12. Next, cut the boards to final length at the miter saw, making sure to keep the drawer front opening centered on that specific board. Use a stop block to ensure the boards are the same length.
  13. With the boards at their final size, lay out the locations for the joinery for the cabinet, and use the Dominos to do. However, dowels or pocket screws would work great as well. The cabinet is just constructed with basic butt joints, so they need a little bit of reinforcement, but you could also use mitered corners, finger joints, or dovetails.
  14. After cutting the mortises, glue up the sides. Then cut a rabbet into the bottom edges of the cabinet with your router, to accept the ½” plywood bottom panel. You can make this cut in two passes. After cutting the rabbet, cut the bottom panel to size based on the size of the rabbeted area, and then round the corners to fit using a jigsaw and sander.
  15. Once the panel is cut to size, attach it with glue and brad nails. Be careful that the brad nails do not blow through that panel area. In order to make the coffee table cabinet deep enough to hold Blu-rays and video games horizontally, the inside depth should be about seven inches. The lift top mechanism is 3 ¾” deep, so add riser strips which will bring the height up on the lift top mechanism.
  16. Cut the boards to size on the table saw and miter saw and then add pocket holes for fastening them to the inside of the cabinet. With the cabinet carcass assembled, cut the top to final size, first cleaning up one edge on the jointer and then ripping it to final width at the table saw. Leave the top about an inch wider than the cabinet, so that the front edge would overhang and allow you to lift the top easily.
  17. To make this front edge a little more comfortable to grip, rip a 45 degree bevel onto that edge. Then, trim the top to final length using a track saw. Again, leave a little bit of overhang on each end, about 1/16” in order to give yourself a little wiggle room on aligning the top when installing the lift top hardware.
  18. With the top trimmed to final size, move on to work on getting the lift top mechanism installed. The riser strips will be a little bit wider than the hardware, there was a little interference with the hinge mechanism, so remove that material with a spokeshave.
  19. Next, fully extend the mechanism and roughly center it along the riser strips, making sure it didn’t hit the side of the cabinet. Then attach the lift to the risers with 2 ½” pocket hole screws     and set the top in place, making sure it is positioned where you want it. Then carefully lift the top and clamp it in place before adding some 1 ¼” pocket hole screws.
  20. Keep the drawer simple and build it with ½” plywood for the sides and ¼” plywood for the bottom. Assemble the drawer with glue and pin nails and then reinforce the corners and bottom with 1 ¼” screws. Make sure to countersink the holes first so they will sit flush with the sides.
  21. To mount the drawer, use these bottom mounted drawer slides. To install the other half of the slides inside the cabinet, add some ⅛” spacers to bring the slides up and attach them with screws.
  22. With the drawer installed, now install the drawer front. Use the playing card trick to space the drawer front evenly, also making sure to align the grain pattern as best you can. After getting the drawer front evenly spaced, clamp it in place and add 1” screws from inside the drawer to attach it.
  23. For the drawer pulls, you could go a couple different ways but for this build, a simple hole in the center of the drawer works great. Next, sand all of the parts up to 180 grit and then chamfer all of the edges of the pieces with a block plane.
  24. After sanding apply the first coat of finish and then spray on three coats of a water-based polyurethane, sanding between each coat. With that, the top part of the coffee table is finished.
  25. For the base, use a ¾” copper pipe for the base. You will first need to figure out how all of the fittings and pipe will go together. Then start cutting the pieces to length using a pipe cutter. These cutters are cheap, about $15, and are really easy to use. You just tighten the cutter a little bit after each rotation and, before you know it, the piece is cut.
  26. This base has three long stretchers that connect the rectangular ends, so you may need to splice in some tees for those stretchers. The nice thing about working with these fittings is that you have a little wiggle room, since the pipe sits in the fitting about ⅞”.
  27. After getting the base dry fit, start soldering all of the joints. First, scuff up the ends of the pipe with some sandpaper and also scuff up the inside of the fittings with a brush. Next, add flux to the end of the pipe, as well as the inside of the fitting, and then press the pieces together, wiping away any excess flux.
  28. Next, use the TS8000 torch attached to a MAP fuel cylinder and heat the joint, making sure to focus the heat on the fitting rather than the pipe, since that will expand the fitting and allow more solder into the joint. Once the joint was hot, apply the solder, which is pulled towards the heat and drawn into the joint by capillary action. If there are any excess drips of solder, you can wipe them away with a damp rag before they cool
  29. After soldering, clean up the base. To clean up the excess solder, first use a file to remove the bulk of it and then further refine the surface with two different grits of synthetic steel wool. The lower grit will help to remove the file marks and smooth out the surface, and then the higher grit will get rid of the bigger scratches left by the previous grit.
  30. To seal the copper and keep it from oxidizing, spray on a few coats of an enamel clear coat, but if you wanted that oxidized look, there are all kinds of copper patinas out there you could try and get some really cool results.
  31. Finally, once the clear coat has dried you can attach the underside of the cabinet to the base and you can just use some copper pipe hangers for this.

What You'll Need


TS8000
TS8000

Max Heat Torch for Faster Work Times

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MG9
MG9

14.1 oz. MAP-Pro™ Hand Torch Cylinder

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Materials

  • Lift Top Mechanism
  • Soldering Kit
  • Wood Glue
  • Water-Based Polyurethane
  • Clear Enamel
  • High Performance Epoxy
  • Five foot sections of ¾” copper pipes

Tools

  • Countersink Bit
  • Powermatic 15HH Planer
  • Powermatic PJ-882HH Jointer
  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Woodpeckers Square
  • Cordless Drill
  • Domino Joiner
  • Router
  • ½” Rabbeting Bit
  • Jigsaw
  • Pocket Hole Jig
  • Track Saw
  • Sander
  • Block Plane
  • Card Scraper
  • Parallel Clamps
  • HVLP Sprayer
  • Scotch Brite Pad
  • Ultimaker 3 Extended
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