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Pipe-Frame Coffee Table

Customize this stylish table with dramatic wood and metal finishes. Then set it up for daily use or special occasions. When you need extra floor space, the table disassembles in seconds.

Pipe-frame coffee table

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Drill and 1-3/8-in bit
  • Jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade
  • Random-orbit sander and 120-grit discs
  • Tape measure
  • Clamps
  • Square


  • (See separate stories for wood and metal finishing supplies and tools.)
  • 1 x 20 x 48 stain-grade pine panel, #72820
  • 2 - 1 x 10 x 48 pine boards, #1162
  • 16 - 1/2-in galvanized caps, #22460
  • 16 - 1/2-in x 8-in galvanized pipe nipples, #24034
  • 2 - 1/2-in x 12-in galvanized pipe nipples, #24036
  • 4 - 1/2-in black iron crosses, #77964
  • 4 - 1/2-in x 1-1/4-in close galvanized pipe nipples, #24024
  • 4 - 1/2-in galvanized tees, #22210

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

Missing anything? Shop Online


For tools, materials, and instructions on finishing the wood top and shelves and the pipe legs, see the separate stories on applying decorative wood finishes and applying aged metal finishes. The parts shown here were left unfinished for photography.

Build the Table Parts

Step 1

Scrub the leg pipes and fittings with trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a grease-dissolving detergent and let dry.

Step 2

Leg brace parts

Arrange the parts for the two leg braces (Pipe-Frame Coffee Table Project Diagram, Brace Assembly) and begin by screwing the caps (1) onto the 8-inch pipes (2). Then screw the pipes onto the tees (3) and crosses (4). Connect each tee to a cross with a “close” -- or fully threaded -- pipe nipple (5), but don’t tighten completely. Lay each of the H-shape assemblies on a flat surface to check that they don’t wobble. Then connect the two H-shape assemblies with a 12-inch pipe (6).

Step 3

Fine-tune the leg assemblies.

Measure the distance between the two pipes in each H-shape assembly. Turn the end until they’re the same distance apart on both ends. Tighten all the fittings as much as possible without throwing off the distances.

Good to Know

By allowing one or both pairs of pipes on each end to hang over the edge of a table, you can apply more pressure to tighten the assembly. If you need to use both hands to turn the pipes, clamp the rest of the assembly to the table.

Step 4

Apply the metal finish of your choice (aged copper finish shown).

Step 5

Lay out the hole locations on the 1 x 20 x 48 panel (Pipe-Frame Coffee Table Project Diagram, Table Top). Place the top on a piece of scrap wood and drill the two 1-3/8-inch holes.

Good to Know

The finished table will be about 48 inches long and 20 inches deep with a height that varies slightly with the spacing of the pipes. You can shorten it slightly, but that also places the “feet” of the table closer together for less stability.

Step 6

Cut from the end to the hole.

With a square, draw lines from the end of the board to the edges of the 1-3/8-inch holes. Use a jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade to saw along the lines. Sand the notch edges smooth. Then sand the entire panel and both lower shelves with 120-grit sandpaper.

Step 7

Apply a wood finish to the tabletop and lower shelves (aged pickled wood shown).

Assemble the Coffee Table

Step 1

Attach the legs to the top.

Putting together the table will go faster with a helper. Begin by sliding the top H-shape assembly as far as possible into the notch on both ends of the table top (Pipe-Frame Coffee Table Project Diagram, Exploded View). The bottom pair of pipes should be about 12 inches closer to the center of the table than the top pair. Note how the upper pipes grip the top.

Step 2

Slide the shelves into position

Place a bottom shelf on each side of the table. Straighten the legs as little as possible to slide the shelves into position. (The wood needs to rest on raised edges of the crosses and tees as well as on the caps.)

Step 3

Finished coffee table with pipe legs

Continue leaning the legs and adjusting the position of the top and shelves until the assembly becomes stable. Estimated cost: $187 with finishes.

Good to Know

To use the table on hard-surface floors, attach adhesive-back felt pads to the bottoms of the pipe caps.