Canadian Woodworking

Coffee table

Author: Jim Borland
Illustration: Mike Del Rizzo
Published: August September 2004

Coffee table with two large drawers provides lot of storage.

The living room is often the hub of the house. As a result, the living room table gets cluttered up pretty fast with books, magazines, CDs, etc. It’s stuff that you want easy access to, but that you don’t always want to have lying out on the table.

In this coffee table, the storage drawers are especially helpful when I see a car pull into the drive with unexpected guests. All you need to do is open the drawer, sweep everything inside and ‘voila’, a tidy and clutterless table. Come to think of it, you may want one of these for every room in the house!

Cabinet Parts

Assemble 3 web frames with 1″x3″stock. Cut pieces to size and install eight #20 biscuits for each frame. Glue and clamp.

Assemble base frame with 1″X4″ stock. Cut pieces to size and install eight #20 biscuits. Glue and clamp. Rout with 1/4″ round-over bit on all outside edges.

Assemble the top. Cut pieces to size and install five #20 biscuits. Glue and clamp. Rout all top edges with Roman Ogee bit.

Assemble Sides. Cut pieces to size and install three #20 biscuits to each side. Glue and clamp.

Cut 8 feet as shown.

Cabinet Assembly

Attach the 8 feet to bottom of base frame, using two #6 1 5/8″ screws through base into each foot.

Drill twelve 3/8″ countersink holes at 3/8″ depth on each cabinet side, as per plan. Drill twelve 1/8″ holes through the countersink. Attach each side to the 3 web frames with #6 1 1/4 ” screws. Install 24 wooden plugs on outside of sides.

Place and centre cabinet on base frame.

Attach with twelve #6 1 1/4″ screws through lower web frame and into base frame.

Place and centre the top of the cabinet. Attach with twelve #6 1 1/4″ screws through the upper web frame into the top.

Drawer Assembly

The upper drawer uses 1″x4″ stock (for cassette tapes)

The lower drawer uses 1″x6″ stock (for CDs)

Cut the fronts and backs. Cut 1/8″ dadoes 1/4″ up from bottom in all eight pieces. Cut 1/4″ dadoes in front and back, spaced to accept 1/4″ dividers: 4 1/2″ spacing in upper drawer and 5 1/2″ spacing in lower drawer.

Cut the 2 bottoms from 1/8″ fibreboard.

Assemble the drawers, making sure the four corners are square.

Fasten with two #6 1 1/4″ screws in each corner joint.

Install the drawer slides with #6 1/2″ flat head screws, so that they rest on the web frames and drawer bottoms.

Install the 2 drawers. The outside edge of the drawer frame should be flush with the outside edge of web frames and sides. Cut two sets of drawer fronts, one for the front and one for the false back. Rout with 1/4″ round-over bit on all outside edges.

Clamp the front of the top drawer in place, so that outside edges are flush with outside edge of sides. Clamp the back of the drawer to the web frame so that drawer is held rigid.

Mark centres for the two knobs, 8″ in from each end.

Attach front of drawers with a 2″ screw through each centre mark.

Remove clamps and remove drawer.

Attach drawer to front with #6 1 1/4″ screws, through the drawer and into the front. Remove 2″ screws and drill 1/8″ hole through each screw hole. Attach wooden knobs with two #8 1 1/2″ screws.

Screw through the 1/8″ hole and into the front.

Attach the two false backs to web frames and two sides with 2″ finishing nails.

Cut dividers 1/4″x3 1/8″x17″ for top drawer.

Cut dividers 1/4″x5 1/8″x17″ for bottom drawer. Insert dividers into the 1/4″ dado slots.


I used Minwax Colonial Maple stain. Then, three coats of Minwax Antique Oil Finish, with a fine steel wool rub between each coat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Furniture projects to consider
Username: Password: