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Rugged pipe and fittings form the base for a table you can build with your choice of tops. Pipes are easy to cut with simple hand tools and go together without solder or adhesives for quick assembly.
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Build this table using the top of your choice. The one shown above was made using hardwood over a plywood substrate. For the instructional photos below, we made a top from 2 x 6 cedar boards with a Watco Danish Oil natural finish. You can also make a top from MDF, plywood or laminated pine panels. We’ll begin by showing you how to build the base using the cedar top.
From a 72-inch pipe, cut four 15-inch-long legs and save the remaining 12-inch pipe section for the bottom brace. From the second 72-inch pipe, cut two 36-inch top rails. Cut the third 72-inch pipe into four 15-inch-long cross braces and save the remaining 12-inch pipe section for the bottom brace. From the 36-inch pipe, cut two 14-3/4-inch top braces. The two 24-inch pipes can be used as is.
Cut carefully to create ends that are 90 degrees to the sides.
Measure the table top to find the locations where you’ll center the pipe flanges (Coffee Table Top Assembly Guide, Drawing 2). We used patches of painter’s tape to better mark the locations. (Table sizes may vary, but the spacing should be the same regardless of the table size.) On the table top (see the following section for assembly instructions), screw four flanges to the underside where shown using 2-1/2-inch wood screws and #10 washers.
You can mount the flanges with the hex screws turned outward or in toward the middle of the table.
Place the four 15-inch-long legs in the flanges, check that they’re at right angles to the table and tighten them in place.
On each leg, slide a combination swivel corner down to the flange, but don’t tighten it in place yet. Add the two 36-inch top front and back rails, sliding the corners as needed to slip the pieces in place. Fasten the rails to the swivels.
Add the two 14-3/4-inch-long top end rails. Rest the swivel corners on the tops of the flanges and tighten them in place on the legs.
Use straight couplings to connect each 24-inch pipe to a 12-inch pipe left over from cutting the other parts. At the end of each two-piece rail, attach a combination swivel corner.
Slip the combination swivel corners of one two-piece bottom rail over two legs, then fasten flanges to the legs to serve as feet. Repeat for the other pair of legs. Slide the corners up against the upper flanges and tighten them in place.
Fasten the diagonal braces to the other swivels on the corners so that one falls on one side of the top rail and the other falls on the opposite side. Slip a swivel base on the end of a diagonal brace, and position it on the underside of the table so the base is tight against the table and touching the top end rail. Screw the base to the underside of the table. Repeat for the other diagonal brace and at the opposite end of the table. Double-check all of the fitting connections before turning the completed table right side up.
To use the table on a hard-surface floor, cut felt pads to fit the bottoms of the flange feet.
From 2 x 6 cedar boards, cut five planks 49-1/2 inches long. Sand both sides and the ends smooth.
To clean up the long edges, we trimmed each plank just enough to remove 1/2 inch from the total width of this table top.
Where shown (Coffee Table Top Assembly Guide, Drawing 1), drill pocket holes on four of the five boards. Clamp the pieces together and drive 2-1/2-inch pocket-hole screws to fasten the planks together.
If you don’t have clamps long enough to join all five pieces at once, clamp two or three at a time and press the subassemblies tightly together for the final connection.
Measure the width of the table and cut two 1 x 6 cedar boards to length. Screw them in place on the underside of the table. Finish as desired (natural oil finish shown).