When we first got married, we used a black leather storage cube for a coffee table. It wasn't perfect, but it worked: it was a place to put drinks, our tv (and by "tv", I obviously mean "laptop"), and most importantly, it was small, and so was our little apartment.
In Cleveland, Carson found a secondhand chest that we used as a coffee table for about three and a half years. It was slightly larger and could hold some appetizers for community groups, doubled as seating, and held extra blankets. We stripped and stained the chest earlier this year and even though I liked it before, I really love it now!
I wanted a real coffee table though. A big reason was that the chest was obviously used for storage, and it was a little annoying to have dinner (oh yeah, we also used it as a table) sitting on the table and then need a blanket. It was also a little small.
We looked at thrift stores for coffee tables but I really wanted something pretty big, nothing with glass, and a fairly simple design. I was drawn to something industrial or farmhouse - and nothing at thrift stores caught my eye.
So in February, we bought the IKEA Lack Table. It was cheaper than buying the supplies to make a whole table, but we'd have the ability to modify it if we wanted. We'd been meaning to get around to modifying it since then, but our weekends have been full, so we finally got around to it in June... what's four months?
We picked out 1x4s at Lowes (Carson inspected to make sure they were mostly straight).
We got nine boards, and they didn't have to be cut at all, which was terrific!
Carson put one coat of Minwax Dark Walnut on the boards and wiped them off. He'd paint it on one, paint it on the next, then wipe off the first one to give it a little chance to soak in.
The nice thing about Carson running point on this project is that he does things a lot more carefully than I do. Like measuring instead of eyeballing, and knowing to buy the gun thing for the glue.
The cheapest place we found clamps was at Walmart. Carson seemed to think that they were a screaming deal. So go there if you need clamps.
The glue might have been good enough alone, but to be safe, Carson drilled some screws into the bottom of the table to secure everything. Genius.
Here it is! Isn't it pretty!
We put some weight on the table to prevent any warping. I have no idea if it helped (and we did put more weight than just this), but better safe than sorry.