How to Build a Birch-Log Coffee Table

Build this rustic coffee table (on the cheap!) and bring the outdoors in.

coffee table

We're seeing lots of nouveau-rustic furniture in upscale catalogs and shops—it's one of the hottest looks on the furniture runway. But, hello sticker-shock—we knew there had to be a less expensive way to get this designer look. As it turns out, a few basic tools and materials are all you need to build this coffee table—and in just a weekend. We'll show you how.

Must-See DIY Coffee Tables

Why Birch?

Birch-Log Coffee Table

We love the look of birch. It's smooth, light in tone and texture, and easy to handle. For this project, we used 34 birch logs, each about three to four inches in diameter. Use a miter saw to cut the logs to size, or pay a nominal fee at a lumber store to have the logs cut for you.

Here are a couple of online suppliers of unfinished birch:

The best thing about using birch? The trees grow and replenish themselves quickly, so you don't have to worry about harming the environment to make your chic table.

What You Need

  • 4x8-foot sheet birch plywood
  • Circular saw
  • Wood glue
  • Wood screws
  • Cordless drill
  • Birch logs cut 18 inches long
  • Miter saw
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Putty knife
  • 4-inch casters
  • Clear polyurethane

Step 1: Build the Base

Birch-Log Coffee Table

Cut the plywood base to 33x24 inches, then build a plywood box, measuring 27x18x16 inches, by cutting two 27x16-inch and two 18x16-inch pieces for the sides, and one 27x18-inch piece for the top. Glue the box sides together, then add screws. Center the box on the wood base, screwing through the box and into the base to secure.

Step 2: Attach the Logs

Birch-Log Coffee Table

Cut the logs to 18 inches using a miter saw. We used 34 3-1/2-inch logs, but you can adjust the quantity based on the diameter of your logs. Bead wood glue along one side and on the bottom of each log. Secure the logs to the wood base and box, as shown. For extra strength, add screws through the wood box into each log.

Step 3: Close the Top

Birch-Log Coffee Table

Top the box with the 27x18-inch piece of plywood you cut in Step 1. Screw the top to the box to secure it.

Step 4: Add Accents

Birch-Log Coffee Table

Cut 1-inch birch rounds using a miter saw. We cut 40 for this project. Use wood glue to secure each round to the box top, aligning them in rows as you glue.

Step 5: Grout Work

Birch-Log Coffee Table

Spread grout over the logs with a grout float, smoothing between the edges of the logs. Use the float to wipe off the extra grout and a putty knife to scrape grout away until you're pleased with the appearance. Allow the grout to dry before continuing to the next step.

Step 6: Finish with Wheels

Birch-Log Coffee Table

Attach casters to the base of the table with screws. Position the casters 1 inch from the edges of the table. Finish by applying clear polyurethane to coat the wood.

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