Building a Coffee Table

When Abby Gust and Josh Hutter wanted a coffee table for their living room, they decided to tackle the project themselves for a one-of-a-kind piece that fits their blended styles perfectly.

By Karen Bliss | Photo by Abby Gust

Nov 2016

Building a Coffee Table
The beauty of a DIY table is you can choose whatever materials fit your space. Abby Gust and Josh Hutter chose salvaged cherry wood for this piece.

Abby Gust and Josh Hutter were looking for just the right coffee table for their home and decided the best way to get the perfect piece was to make it themselves. Before they got started, they settled on their own custom design they knew they could accomplish. 

Gust came across a bunch of ideas on Pinterest, and she put the ideas together to create a style she and Hutter both wanted. 

“We couldn’t find anything that truly fit our style and that would work for our space, especially since his style is more rustic and mine is more contemporary,” Gust says.

 Meanwhile, Hutter, through his job in real estate investment, came across some old wood in a garage, which he was told he could have. Then the idea came to them to use this old wood for something new.

Hutter already had some building skills, so Gust says she knew he could help her filter out what would work with the design and what wouldn’t. By paying attention to the little details during the building process, they were able to pull off a “clean and structured look, but with a rustic touch,” Gust says. 

Gust says the wood still had the original saw marks from when it was first cut, and she picked specific pieces with knots in the pattern to place in visible areas. Now, the couple has more than just a table. They also have a conversation piece. 

Build It Yourself

Wood (thick and sturdy enough for the table top, bottom, side planks and legs) 
Plane tool
Sander and/or sandpaper
Wood Conditioner
Wood biscuits for wood joining 
Biscuit joiner
Wood glue
Water-based polycrylic protective finish 


1. Use the plane tool to smooth out imperfections in the wood, especially in repurposed wood, which can be rough.

2. Select the pieces you want to use for the top and bottom of the table and cut to the dimensions of your desired table length and width. Gust and Hutter cut several pieces to piece together for the top and bottom of their table, but feel free to use one large piece if you have the supplies. Set the leftover wood aside for the sides and, when ready, cut them into stackable planks to a size relative to the height you want between the top and bottom of the table.

3. Glue and clamp all the sections together. Start by joining the top pieces together using the wood biscuits and biscuit joiner. Then adhere the top to the side planks, making any section divisions you want. Glue and clamp the pieces together and let sit overnight for the glue to dry. Repeat by adding the bottom of the table to the side planks, and repeat the process again to attach the legs. Remove excess glue with the sander or sandpaper.

4. After all the parts are glued and clamped together, use wood conditioner over the table so the stain comes out even without blotchy spots.

5. Stain the table and let it sit overnight to dry.

6. Apply several coats of polycrylic finish to the wood and let dry.