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How a Beautiful Slab of Old Wood Becomes a Coffee Table

A live edge coffee table isn’t as easy as it looks, but here’s how to do it yourself.

modern coffee table

Mike Montgomery of Modern Builds, found this slab of wood at his local lumber yard. It was sitting collecting dust but he had a brilliant idea to transform it into a mid-century modern coffee table. This modern coffee piece is the perfect example of how a raw piece of wood is left mostly intact to create a dramatic piece of furniture.

It took more than just slapping on some stain and hairpin legs to build this thing. A table requires two completely flat sides, but the old wood slab was warped and too large and heavy to fit through a planer. So Montgomery had to level the slab using wood shims and then build a makeshift planer using his router and a wood frame to support the project.

It took numerous passes on both sides of the wood, and a final sanding to achieve a flat and smooth surface. He used Danish Oil to seal and protect the wood and to bring out the natural colors in the grain. Installing 16-inch hairpin legs finishes the table and offers an airy contrast to the heavy slab of wood.

If you want to make something like this but don’t have a slab of wood large enough to become a coffee table, consider making stools and side tables using the same technique.

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