Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Mid Century Modern Sofa Table Project

Our first DIY furniture project was a midcentury modern console table. Right now it lives n the smallest area of our house- our entryway. But we still get tons of compliments and questions about it! Everyone always asks where we got it. Normally I wouldn't do a blog post on a piece of furniture I couldn't give you assembly pictures for (since we built the table pre-blog), but so many people have commented on the table while visiting our house, I'll give it a try!

This was the original inspiration for our sofa table

Jenn first found the original inspiration table on Etsy. However, that table wasn't quite the right size for the space. And it was WAY out of our budget. (My wife has champagne taste. She says it's part of her charm. I think she should just learn to like beer.)
Even though the price wasn't right, the style was. We love the sleek, modern lines of MCM furniture and totally dig the little quirk and touch of originality it brings to a room. So after studying the inspiration photo for a while, we got to work! We began by measuring the space in our entryway and determined the ideal size for our version of the table should be 48 inches long by 36 inches tall and about 12 inches wide.
I used some graph paper to make sure 48 in. x 36 in. was close to the original proportions of the Etsy table (thus keeping the overall shape and design). Those dimensions worked for us, but you may want to tweak it for your space. For our table it took:

Materials List:
  • 2 - 1” x 12” x 8’ (1x material is actually 1-3/4 thick)
  • 24 - 1-¼” Kreg Screws
  • Your Choice of Stain (we used Zar "Moorish Teak")
  • Your Choice of Poly
  • 4 - 8” midcentury modern legs*
  • 4 - Angled leg fasteners*
  • 4 - Waddell 8 inch round taper table legs
  • 4 - Angled Mounting Hardware
Tools Needed:
  • Kreg Jig Mini
  • Circular Saw
  • Electric drill/driver
  • Kreg Square Cut
  • 2 - 24" Clamps
Cut list:

  • 3 - ¾” x 12” x 48”
  • 4 - ¾” x 12” x 14" 
 Step 1:  Use a Kreg square cut and a circular saw to cut your boards to length. Finish the boards by giving your cut ends a really light sanding to knock off any splinters.

Step 2: Using the Kreg jig, drill pilot holes on the 4 short (14-inch) boards. We put 3 holes on each end of the board. One hole in the middle, and a hole about 2 inches away from each end. Three screws will make the table sturdy.

Step 3: Start by building the bottom or base of the table first. The legs will eventually attach to this piece, so we recommend using the piece with the most imperfections. Place the piece so the imperfect side is facing down. One of the 14-inch pieces will be flush with the end of the long (48-inch) board while the other one should be set in from the opposite side 8-1/2 inches. Clamp your 14-inch pieces at a 90 degree angle to the 48 inch piece (base of the table) and use the 1-1/4 inch Kreg screws to join the the pieces. 

Step 4: Place the second 48-inch board on top of the two 14-inch boards you just joined. Use the Kreg screws to join the second long board to the top of the two short boards.

Step 5: Reverse the layout from step 3. Join the next two 14-inch vertical pieces opposite the position they were joined in step 3 to give the "stair step effect". Once again, one short board should be flush with the end of the long board while the other will be set in 8-1/2 inches.

Step 6:  Since this piece will be the top of your table so we suggest picking the piece with the least amount of imperfections. Place the most perfect side facing up. This will be the top of your table. Join the long board to the two short boards and the body of your table is finished!
Step 7: This is one of those steps that we wish we had pictures for, but its pretty easy. We found the dowels were too long because they are made for 1-1/2" material. So first, we cut the dowels in half, then put a little dab of glue on them before sliding them into the pilot holes over the screws. If there is more than a penny's width of excess exposed, use a flush cut saw to cut off the excess. Sand and put on a little wood filler if you are not satisfied with how it looks.
Image via
Step 8: It’s time for some sanding. We used 80 grit sand paper on a vibratory palm sander (aka - quarter sheet sander) to round off all the sharp edges and give the table a more polished look. We then progressed to 120 grit sand paper and 180 grit paper for the final finish. Make sure to sand the table consistently, don’t spend too much time on one spot because over sanding will start to close the pores in the wood grain and there will be a light spot when it’s stained. You can go ahead and sand your table legs while you have your sander handy, but don’t put them on the table yet!

Step 9: After sanding, it’s time for some stain. Jenn and I really like the Moorish Teak stain by Zar that we used. We have used it on just about every project since! If you went with pine for your table, you might want to apply Minwax wood conditioner before staining. Pine often comes out a little blotchy if its not conditioned first. The wood conditioner is the only Minwax product I recommend! I always have had a hard time getting the stain to come out consistently because it penetrates the wood so quickly. I’m a big fan of Zar stain because it’s a little thicker and much easier to apply a consistent coat. It’s water based to so you can clean up without mineral spirits. 

Step 10: Apply some poly. Polyurethane protects your new piece of furniture and gives it a little gloss for a finished look. The key to making your poly job look professional is to very lightly hand sand between coats with 400 grit sand paper. Watch some You-Tube videos! Once again, I recommend Zar polly. We used their antique flat variety as it protects our awesome new entry table without making it stand out from our 1900s home. 

Step 11: Attach the angled mounting plates and table legs. You can play around with the table leg placement. We ended up placing our plates about 2-¼ -inches from the each end and 1-inch from the side so you cannot see the mounting hardware.

After attaching your legs, stand back and admire your handiwork. We sure did! Can you believe how fast this table comes together and how impressed all your friends will be? As soon as we finished ours, Jenn got right to work styling it with a rustic catch-all key bowl, some vintage books and bottles, and our favorite find - a T-Rex skeleton model! Will dinosaurs ever stop being cool? We don't think so.

We positioned our table in prime viewing position right under our mixed metallics gallery wall (tutorial coming soon!)

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