DIY MCM side table
Who doesn't love a good side table? And who doesn't love something that they built themselves? I love it when people come into my home and say "ooohh I love that where did you get it?!" Its a great feeling to say "I built it!". Add some hairpin legs and you have magic. Or you can sub the hairpins for another style of legs if they aren't your jam.
This table can be put together in under an hour (including dry time) for under $100 including the cost of the legs (bonus if you know a welder and they can whip you some legs up on the cheap). All you need is a few basic supplies and a saw.
This table measures 20" wide x 14.5" deep. You can make it any height you please, just choose your legs accordingly. I used 15" legs to get a height of 24" to top of table.
-1" x 8" pine boards (I got 8' long as that's what fits in my truck! Get 3 boards just to be
safe for miscuts, they should run about $6 a board)
-legs of your choice. I love using hairpin legs from Vancouver Hairpin Legs. They run $18.75 per ;eg
-stain of your choice (I love Miniwax special walnut)
-sliding chop saw
-hand sander (or sanding block if you want to go old school)
-220 grit sandpaper
-rag for staining
-nail gun, compressor and 1.25" brad nails (if you don't have one, a good glue job should do the trick but I highly recommend nailing)
- # 8 wood screws, length depends on board thickness. I used 1.25" for 1"borard and hairpin legs
STEP 1: CUT
Yes those are pink crocks, don't judge me. Measure twice, cut once they say. Cut your boards for the top and bottom. You will need 4 of them. (note in these photos I was building a set of two for a customer so it looks like more material). Lumber measures short of the listed size. ie. 8" is actually 7.25-7.5". Cut 4 boards to 20". Use your fist cut piece as your template, do not measure each time or use the last board you cut as the template. Reason being is that as you go, your cuts could be slightly off, even a fraction of an inch will make your boards uneven.
Now cut your two side pieces. Remember 8" boards are 7.25" - 7.5" wide, so cut accordingly. Just to be sure I lay two of the top boards side by side on top of my side piece and draw a line to be exact.
STEP 2: SAND
Using 220 grit sand paper, with a hand sander or sanding block. Do not oversand as you want nice sharp clean edges for gluing your boards together. Just a light sand for now.
STEP 3: GLUE
Lay two top boards on a flat surface. Put a bead of glue along one edge, and spread evenly with your finger, being careful not to use too much or have it spill over the edge. Less is more.
Lay the boards flat and tight to dry. Use a clamp if you have one (I do not and rely on a flat table)
Place a bead of glue on the edge of a 14" board, spread with your finger and place on the top boards. Make sure the side is flush with the top boards. Do this for both sides. Let dry.
STEP 4: NAIL
Flip your dried boards over carefully, like a table, and nail from the top into the side board. Try to space your nails evenly as you will see small holes.
You can choose to use wood filler but I personally don't like it as it looks like putty in the holes. Plus having the nail holes is natural and expected. Here is what it looks like after stain, see very au naturel !
STEP 5: GLUE AGAIN
Repeat step 3. Let dry. You should grab yourself some wine at this point as you will soon have a table to rest your glass.
STEP 6: NAIL AGAIN
Nail the bottom boards from the top, into the side boards. Voila, you have what is starting to look like a table,
STEP 7: SAND
Give the table one more sand now that it is assembled, paying more attention to the edges. Round them off if you like,
STEP 8: STAIN
I love stain. Why? Because its foolproof. You wipe it on like water, and wipe it off. It almost does the work for you. Don't use too much or it will get sticky, just enough to cover your wood completely. Let sit for a few minutes, and wipe off the excess with a dry soft cloth or rag (old t-shirts or socks work well). My favourites are Miniwax special walnut and weathered grey. Below is Espresso, at the very top and bottom of the tutorial you will see a walnut stain, my go to stain.
STEP 9: INSTALL LEGS
Choose the best side for the top, and place it face down. Install your legs according to the fabricators instructions. Most are pretty straightforward. If you can run a saw, you screw legs n a table. I have faith in you. Make sure to use the correct length screw and it must be a wood screw! For the hairpins, I used # 8 wood screws. The length will depend on your board thickness and the attachment of your legs. I used 1.25" for this table.
STEP 10: ENJOY YOUR NEW TABLE
Give yourself a pat on the back for making an awesome new table, and make sure to tell all your friends you built it ;) Here are a few other tables I have made with various stains and leg sizes.
Stephanie Hilton Design is a full service Vancouver Interior Design firm servicing Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley.
She specialises in Residential Interior Design. Her hobbies include wood working, furniture design and building.