D.I.Y. slatted coffee table

kirsty cash
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D.I.Y. slatted coffee table

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Project Overview

A coffee table is a handy thing to have in your lounge room or around your home. Not only does this modern one look great, but you’d be surprised how easy this slatted coffee table is to make with just some timber and a few simple tools. Continue to step-by-step instructions
removing bent nail
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How to remove a bent nail

If a nail bends as you hammer it in, don’t try to straighten it, just remove it. The easiest way to do this is to place a thin piece of timber beside the nail to support the hammer and protect the surface. Fit the claw of the hammer under the nail head and pull the handle towards you until the nail comes out. Keep the handle as close to vertical as possible so you don’t make the nail hole wider.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut the timber to size
2 Attach the supports to the frame
3 Complete the frame
4 Attach the slats
5 Putty and sand the frame
6 Prime and paint the table
7 Rebate the legs
8 Attach the legs
9 Fix the trimmings
10 Putty and sand the legs
11 Varnish the table
12 Enjoy your new coffee table
  • Step 1. Cut the timber to size

    To make this project easier, you can have your timber pre-cut to size at your local Bunnings. Here’s our cut list:


    65mm x 19mm pine DAR

    • 1200mm x 2 (frame)
    • 710mm x 2 (frame)

    42mm x 19mm pine DAR

    • 710mm x 19 (tabletop slats)
    • 1160mm x 2 (slat battens) 

    90mm x 45mm Tasmanian oak

    • 350mm x 4 (legs)

    65mm x 19mm Tasmanian oak

    • 570mm x 2 (trimming)
  • Step 2. Attach the supports to the frame

    You will need to attach support battens to the inside of the coffee table sides to support the slats. They should be positioned so the slats and the sides of the coffee table frame are flush. To do this take your two 65mm x 19mm lengths and attach a 42mm x 19mm length to each as a support. Glue and fix into place with the nail gun.

  • Step 3. Complete the frame

    Take the two 710mm lengths of timber, which is for the short side of the table, apply glue to their ends and fix into place with the frame using the nail gun.

  • Step 4. Attach the slats

    Measure and mark for the slats leaving an equal distance between each slat. We made our gap 15mm apart. Place the slats on the battens and secure into place using the nail gun.

  • Step 5. Putty and sand the frame

    For a nice clean finish, use wood filler to fill any nail holes and gaps. If you need to make the wood filler more pliable, try putting it in some warm water first. Once the filler is dry, sand with the orbital sander using 240 grit sandpaper.

  • Step 6. Prime and paint the table

    For a great finish and good coverage on your table, apply two coats of primer. If you’re using spray paint, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, work in a well-ventilated area and use the appropriate safety gear. Use smooth even strokes to apply the primer. Once the primer is dry, finish off the table with your favourite colour. Apply as many coats as necessary.

  • Step 7. Rebate the legs

    For a neater finish and to make the table sturdy, you’ll need to make a rebate in each leg. Measure 65mm down the leg, which is the depth of the frame. Then set the drop saw to 26mm, the width of the frame, and make a series of cuts along the timber to check out the rebate. Use the drop saw to cut the leg to size – 350mm. Then use the hammer and chisel to remove the timber from the rebate. You’ll need to do this for all four legs. Then use the orbital sander and 120 grit sandpaper to make the edges smooth.

  • Step 8. Attach the legs

    Flip the table so the top is lying on the workbench and clamp it down. Then place the rebated legs so they sit flush with the frame. Pre-drill with a 2mm countersunk drill bit, then glue and screw into place. You should use a 40mm galvanised screw into the end and a 30mm screw into the facing board.

  • Step 9. Fix the trimmings

    To give the table a clean look, we attached the 570mm Tasmanian oak as a trimming to the ends. Make sure that your trimming is cut according to the length of the sides of your table. Fix the trimmings with glue and nails for both sides.

  • Step 10. Putty and sand the legs

    Putty up all of the holes in the legs and the trimming. When it’s dry, sand until it’s nice and smooth.

  • Step 11. Varnish the table

    To bring out the natural grain of the timber, give the coffee table a stain or coat of varnish. We used masking tape to keep the varnish away from the painted timber. Apply as many coats of varnish as necessary, then leave to dry and lightly sand between coats.

  • Step 12. Enjoy your new coffee table

    Once the varnish is dry, find a spot for your new coffee table. Add a few books or some of your favourite things on it and then sit back and enjoy your handiwork.

Tools and Materials


  • Chisel
  • Clamps
  • Combination square
  • Cordless drill
  • Impact driver
  • 2mm pilot twist bit
  • Countersunk drill bit
  • Philips head screwdriver bit
  • Drop saw
  • Earmuffs
  • Fixing gun and 32mm brads
  • Gloves
  • Hammer
  • Mask
  • Measuring tape
  • Nail punch
  • Orbital sander
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Putty knife
  • Safety glasses
  • Wood filler


  • 65mm x 19mm x 2.4m pine DAR x 3
  • 42mm x 19mm x 2.4m pine DAR x 5
  • 90mm x 45mm x 2.4m Tasmanian oak
  • 65mm x 19mm x 2.4m Tasmanian oak
  • 40mm galvanised screws
  • 30mm screws
  • 240 grit and 120 grit sanding pads
  • PVA or wood glue
  • Spray paint
  • Spray paint primer
  • Water pot
  • Woodstain or varnish

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