DIY: Herringbone Barn Wood Coffee Table

July 27th, 2012

I’ve been longing for a different coffee table for a while. I couldn’t find one that I liked available for sale anywhere, but I knew exactly what I wanted. Luckily my dad has major woodworking skills and a garage full of tools! I drew a sketch of what I had in mind, and last Saturday morning we built my new coffee table. My mom and sister helped too, which makes the table extra special since everybody had a hand in it—well, except Daniel since he was still asleep. It turned out even better than I imagined!

DIY herringbone barn wood hairpin leg coffee table
DIY herringbone barn wood hairpin leg coffee table

I will write up some DIY instructions below, but since we figured it out as we went along and my dad was the brains behind all the measuring and sawing, I can’t provide detailed table building plans. It’s probably best to build a table like this with someone who has woodworking experience. I know if I had attempted it on my own, my table would have ended up crooked and covered in blood (because I would have sawed my fingers off).

DIY herringbone barn wood hairpin leg coffee table

How To:

We ordered the barn wood from this website, and the hairpin table legs from this website. My dad made a 30″ x 48″ base for the table by screwing two sheets of plywood together. First we attached the hairpin legs to the bottom of the plywood base with wood screws. After that we cut the barn wood for the herringbone planks to 3.75″ wide on a table saw. Then I layed out all the pieces so there would be plenty of color variation throughout the table top.

Next we used a chop saw to angle the slats so they would fit together to form the herringbone pattern at the center of the table. Once the pieces lined up properly at the center, we traced a line on the bottom of each plank where it stuck off the table top and sawed along the lines to make the planks the right length. Then we attached them to the plywood base with a nail gun—my favorite part! (When we tried to screw into the barn wood it split, but the nail gun didn’t cause the old, brittle wood to split at all.)

After that we lightly sanded the edges of the table to remove any big splinters. Then we used the table saw to cut the outer frame pieces to the right width, and my dad used grandpa’s old miter box to saw the corners. After a little more nail gunning to attach the frame, we carved our names into the bottom of the table with a Dremel tool, and we were done!

The only thing I still need to do is add a piece of glass to protect the table top. I like the look better without glass, but I don’t want to have to worry about making sure people use coasters to protect the wood (and by people, I mean Daniel).

So, what do you think? Have you ever, or would you ever try your hand at woodworking?

50 Comments

  1. the table is beautiful, the wood looks great with the hairpin legs. I worked in a model shop in college to build models of my designs–I miss it alot. My husband and I would love to have our own equipment/shop to build things.

  2. Kp

    Love it! mad props to your pops. I have to saw though that I think your coaster comment is a bit funny (like, funny ha-ha) to me: it’s all reclaimed barn wood that’s been out in the elements for years and years and you’re concerned about water rings? lol.

    (also, that pillow on your couch with the spokes of muted colors? did you make that? v. pretty)

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      Oh geez, you sound like Daniel, haha. I can handle some dried cow manure on my table, but not water rings! ;) That pillow is from West Elm. I wish I made it!

  3. I could not love this more! What a great memory with you Dad too.

  4. So beautiful! I love the design of the table and it’s even better that your family members helped you build it. My husband is a hobby woodworker and he has built me a few things over the years, but I stay far away from all the whirring blades!

  5. Love it!!! Looks so good. Can’t wait for the DIY write up!

  6. hip hip hooray for handy dads! your table is fantastic.

  7. dana

    oh my gosh, it’s LOVELY! Well done! It looks great in your room as well. :)

  8. Wow, I love it! Wish there were more photos though!

  9. wow, amazing! I would not have guessed it was home made. I would have paid good money for that

  10. Joy

    Don’t think I’d ever try my hand at woodworking – I’ll leave that for the hubby. I really like the table – it looks great!

  11. Love your table – so great, I especially like the barn wood! My dad is a bit of a woodworker and makes lots of things out of reclaimed wood. He always finishes off his pieces with a coat of laquer (it can be applied carefully with a brush) and then a coat of johnson’s paste wax applied with a scotch brite pad. Buff with a scrap of wool and you’re done! I’ve never had a water ring on a single piece of furniture (handcrafted or refurbished vintage) that I own! Anyway, just another idea if you’re not feeling the glass table top route. :)

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      Thanks for the tips Kaytie! My glass top arrived over the weekend, and it turns out that I like it pretty well. I’ll definitely try the lacquer + wax combo in the future though.

  12. What a stunning piece of furniture! You really have a beautiful space there.

  13. KJC

    LOVE this table! I was wondering if you could share a little bit more about how you nailed the barn wood slats to the top of the table; did you use brad nails or finishing nails? Did you fill the holes, or countersink the nails?

    Amazing work, thanks for sharing!!

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      We did not fill the holes or countersink the nails. The nail gun shot them into the wood pretty deep, so they aren’t very noticeable. I’ll check with my Dad about which type of nails we used and get back to you!

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      The box of nails we used says “1 1/4 in. x 18 gauge finish nails (brads)”. Also my dad told me that the nail gun was set so the nails went into the wood and below so there were no nail heads to deal with. The bumpy barn wood also disguises the tiny nail holes.

  14. Hello Hello!

    I am SO happy to have found you through “A Daily Something” today. I have been trying to write this comment since the moment I got here, but I kept getting distracted. Your work is crazy beautiful! I was instantly inspired by your fresh, clean, lovely style — it’s impeccable! I think we may have the same disease? I can’t wait to read more and follow along, you have certainly motivated me to work harder than ever. Thanks for that.

    Amanda

  15. gen

    oh my goodness! i love the table! also, i love all the little plants you have around your house. would you do a post on all the plants you have in your home? maybe you already have one and i missed it. i truly enjoy your blog!

  16. Amanda, this looks absolutely incredible. Go you and your dad!

  17. It turned out beautifully! Do you know Ariele who blogs at http://brooklyntowest.blogspot.com?
    She makes a living creating tables just like yours!

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      Whoa, her work is amazing! Thanks for sharing that link. I don’t think I would compare my table to hers though. Her work is way out of my league! Look at that detail!

  18. WOW! I love this table. Just discovered your blog and I am a big fan already! :)

  19. Thanks! I have a lot of extra barnwood and am dying to make a coffee table… THIS IS IT! Love what you have done :)

  20. Mary

    Just beautiful! Love it! If you ever tire of it, let me know. (HA)
    I was wondering if you had to do any prep work to the barn boards before you assembled the table. Did you plane or sand them?

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      All we did to the barn wood before cutting it down to size was to wash the mud off with a hose and let it dry thoroughly. We didn’t do any sanding because I didn’t want to lose the aged coloring of the barn wood.

  21. Stunning table! This looks like it is a bit above my wood-working skill leve, but I’m still totally inspired :)

  22. Holly

    I have been begging my boyfriend to build me this exact table. I love it! What size hairpin legs did you use?

  23. You’ve done a lovely job with that coffee table, it’s gorgeous! I have this linked to my coffee tables post too today, well done!

  24. I am SERIOUSLY impressed!

  25. Michelle

    Hi…did anyone else have trouble with the link for the hairpin legs? I tried several times, it did not work… =( Boo.

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      It works for me Michelle, sorry you are having trouble! Maybe their site was temporarily down when you tried it?

  26. Erin

    I love it! What a beautiful table and family memory.

  27. fai

    very very nice! it’s beautiful!!

  28. Mary

    I asked my husband to build us a table like this & he said that barnwood is usually warped or cupped. He said it wouldn’t lie flat. Since your table is flat, how did your dad deal with these issues? Or is my husband making this up to get out of making the table?

    • Kyle

      Mary, barnwood often is warped or bent when acquired. However if you’re buying it from a vendor it usually will have been milled to some degree, eliminating that effect. Gluing and Nailing will help prevent future distortion. Another option is to use pallet wood. Find a store trying to get rid of them and break them down. Beachbumlivin has a video on YouTube that explains the process is excellent detail.
      Mary’s husband, sorry I blew your cover, but come on, man up and build something!
      ~ Kyle

  29. LOVE this! What a fun project. Well done!

  30. Amanda, you are so very talented! I love that not only does this table look amazing, but that it has sentimental value. You nailed it :)

  31. Kyle

    Looks great! To ward off those table rings you could always finish it. A matte Marine Varnish would give you excellent water protection. Just test it on some of the scrap and see if you like it.

  32. Janet

    Your table is very attractive. I would like to try this myself, but when I added up the cost of the materials, it seemed a little on the expensive side (minimum $100 order for the boards and $22 each for the legs). Maybe you or your readers can think of an alternative for those great legs…
    I think I could find boards to repurpose without much trouble.

  33. Roxane

    This table is beautiful! What degree angle did you decide on for your herringbone angle? And do you know about how much wood you ordered?

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      I’m not sure about the angle or the wood quantity. My dad handled all the details, so I can’t offer specifics. Sorry about that!

  34. Hey there! Love this table, thanks for posting. I’m trying to build a version for my dining room table. Roughly how many planks did you need for this project, and how thick was the base plywood? thanks!

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      I’m not sure about the wood quantity, but I think the base plywood was about 1/2″ thick.

  35. MP

    I love this table! Of all the hundreds of coffe table photos I have looked at trying to find “the one” this is my favorite by far! Did you get exterior barn siding or interior boards? I really like the color variation in yours and want to make sure I get the right boards for a similar look. Thanks!

 

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