Ok, confession time. We have lived in our flat for 7 years (whaaa – where does the time go?!) and never had a coffee table. Why not? Dunno, never found something we liked. I then finally wanted one and really like the live edge look. We know this timber place in Surrey and was hoping they would have some cross cut pieces.
I love going there – It’s like a fantastical warehouse in the middle of country side full of unusual and exotic woods in all shapes and sizes. And lo and behold they had a full stack of cross cuts of yew tree in perfect size! £100? You good sir have yourself a
Oh just look at that beauty! All the heart eyes!
This DIY is really easy to do. Even a beginner like me can manage it! The main ingredient for this project is patience. And arm strength. For sanding you see. Other things you’ll need is an electrical sander for sure. Don’t try to be a hero and do it without, I got my arm workout quota filled for the year despite having a sander to do the hard work leaving me to sand the awkward shapes by hand. Other ingredients you need – mask, sandpaper, table legs, screws and polyurethane to finish off the table and protect it.
Before sanding, the first job is to actually decide which side is the top side to ensure it has smoother than smooth finish. Weeeell I skipped this part and realised after sanding for hours that the other side was nicer..! So my plan of leaving the finish on the bottom side a little rougher was thrown out of the window. Gah! Two smooth sides it is!
*This piece of wood has been approved by Frankie*
I used a random orbital sander. They are so very easy to use. You need to start with the roughest grit (40) and step it up gradually to smoother and smoother grit (80 -> 120 -> 180). After going at it for hours I finally achieved the soft-as-baby’s-bum-feel. Word of warning – the dust will go e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, wear a mask! Once the sanding is done the hardest part is over with! Look how it’s glistening in the light! 🙂
Next up is finishing the timber. Our hunk of wood has a crack in the middle and I know some people use epoxy resin to make it smooth and to avoid dust and crumbs going in. I quite liked the look of it as it was and decided to skip this part. Why make life easier when it comes to cleaning, when you can make it difficult, eh? If you would like more info on using epoxy then check out below YouTube video, it seems really informative.
You can also use this technique for covering up any splits on the wood due to kiln drying. Our wood is not kiln dried and has no big split. I contemplated getting it kiln dried, but decided against it. This means that over time our table will dry and crack and will require maintenance. I decided to chance it on this occasion. Or maybe I just really like sanding and wanted to do some in the future? I’m probably over this coffee table before it becomes a problem?
We used clear Sadolin polyurethane in matt finish to seal the wood and protect it. It doesn’t smell too bad and promises to be non yellowy. I think it actually improved the colour. Really happy with it, but just be careful to spread it really thinly so you don’t get paint brush marks.
Next up legs! I chose hairpin legs and got mine off from eBay for less than £25 for set of four! I arranged them in a square shape in the middle of the table.
Once happy with the positioning we poked little holes to mark where the screws would go.
We used big screws as the table is quite heavy and thick, they were 4mm in diameter and 50mm long. I would choose screws as long as the thickness of the table allows.
Then we drilled some pilot holes and screwed the legs on. Easy peasy!
Flip over and enjoy!
The bark has held up surprisingly well even when we have been moving the table around. I was a little nervous about that, but having brushed the bark with a stiff brush to get rid of any loose bits, it seems to be doing well.
Doing this table ourselves saved us so much money! The entire project cost us £145, where shop bought ones go for a lot more than that like this one below!
Definitely worth it! 🙂