How To Make a Mid-Century Modern Style Coffee Table with Hairpin Legs

How To Make a Mid-Century Modern Style Coffee Table

Getting Started

I was able to make this mid-century inspired coffee table with 1 sheet of 4 foot by 8 foot furniture grade plywood from Home Depot and 4 hairpin legs purchase from Amazon.  I had the store cut the piece of plywood in half the long way for me so that it would be easier to handle, but also because I designed the table to be 2 feet wide.

Tools and Materials used:

6″ Hairpin Legs

Circular Saw
Table Saw
GluBot glue bottle
Tightbond II Wood Glue
Irwin Squeeze Clamps

What I use for SHOP SAFETY:

RZ mask for breathing protection

3M WorkTunes Connect Headphones

ISO Tunes for hearing protection

Basic Plans Here : coffee table plans

*Disclaimer – these are hand written rough plans with the dimensions of my table and the basic layout/cutlist that I used to break down the plywood.  These are not detailed or digital… still working on my SketchUp skills.

Breaking Down The Plywood

I was able to use a straight piece of floor molding as an edge guide for my circular saw to further break down the sheets into their approximate lengths.

On the table saw I cut 45 degree angles on the two short pieces that will create the ends of the table, then moved to the longer pieces that will be the top and bottom.

A quick test fit and the seam looks pretty tight.

Cutting the mitered edge on these long pieces was a little sketchy, but I kept the plywood edge tight to the fence and fed it through very slowly.

Here I’m lining up on of the longer pieces with the other in order to cut them both to the same length.

I didn’t do a great job of using this painters tape consistently throughout the project, but it really does help reduce any chipping or tear out that the table saw could cause on the plywood.

And now I’m just cutting all pieces to the same width and cleaning up the factory edges.

Here is a close up of the two longer edges side by side, they were almost perfect.

Cutting The Groove For The Center Support

Now I’m measuring upside down for the groove that I’m going to cut in the top and bottom pieces for the center support piece.  And I just match the measurement on the table saw and drop the blade to half of the plywood thickness.

I made one pass through the table saw to establish one side, then clamped a scrap piece of plywood to the table saw fence for the other side of the groove.

As I started to feed the piece through again, I realized the blade wasn’t hitting the tape, yeah I forgot to flip the board around.  Would you believe that I made that mistake twice?  Here’s the proof, see that extra cut line there?  Is it because I measure things upside down?

To cut the groove I made multiple passes through the table saw and cleaned up with a chisel.  One side was a very snug fit, the other… not so much.

Glue-Up and Assembly

After removing all the tape, I brought the four pieces together for a dry fit… with more tape!

And everything appeared to fit together so it was time for glue up. Even though it was a pain to cut those 45 degree mitered edges, this turned out to be a really nice design because there are no fasteners like screws or nails holding these pieces together.

After all four corners were glued and taped, I checked for square and added a few clamps.

While the corners were drying, I had one last piece to cut.  Using a left over piece of scrap plywood, I line up the grooves cut earlier in the top and bottom and cut the piece to fit.

After everything was dry I removed the tape and found that some corners weren’t as tight as I planned.  Thankfully the darker color stain that we’ll see in a minute hid these imperfections.

Sanding and Staining

I gave everything a light sanding with my orbital sander and 220 grit sand paper to remove any glue squeeze out and give give everything a nice smooth finish.

Here that dark stain color that we chose.  I used Minwax Penetrating Stain and the color is Provincial.

Hairpin Legs

After the stain dried I added these 4 hair-pin legs.  I purchase this set of four from Amazon for about $40.  They have sizes from 4 to 28 inches.

I marked and drilled pilot holes and drove in the screws that were included with the legs and flipped the coffee table up right for the first time.

I then added 3 coats of Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic for protection and the coffee table was complete!

Thanks a lot for reading, let me know if you have any questions.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.