This rustic coffee table is not only easy to build but it's made entirely of upcycled materials. You can build this table in an afternoon and with some careful planning it can be almost free!
Locate a 30-42" diameter 8-10" depth tree trunk from a tree trimmer or clearing company. If you are cutting the piece yourself, chalk two parallel lines around the trunk and use a chainsaw to cut around the perimeter. The straighter you can make this cut, the less work you will have later. Be sure to use a sharp blade and the proper personal protection equipment. In our case, we cut a slice off a lightning struck poplar.
Allow the slice to dry for several weeks in a warm dry location. Be sure to raise the piece off of the floor to allow airflow and keep mold from forming on the bottom. The slower it is allowed to dry, the less cracks will form in the surface.
Use a sharp chisel to separate the bark from the wood. Start by removing a small section.
Then attempt to peel the remaining bark off in large pieces using the chisel and a pry bar.
Use a level or straight-edge across the top to locate any high spots. Next, use a hand planer to slowly flatten both sides in small increments. If the slice was cut well, there won't be much material to remove.
Starting at 80 grit, sand the top side with an orbital palm sander. Be sure to consistently move back and forth over the surface to prevent creating low spots. Use progressively finer discs until the top is evenly smooth.
In our case, there were two particularly deep chainsaw blade marks that were left to add character to the finished table and help tell the story of how it came to be.
Plan out your table legs. We used salvaged window sash weights because they were an interesting upcycle, were the right length, added to the character of the piece, and we happened to have a lot of them!
Because we wanted V-shaped legs, pairs of legs were welded at a 45 degree angle. If you choose this arrangement, go slow as cast iron will crack if heated too quickly. You could also elect to install the legs straight and skip this step.
Next, drill 2" deep holes with a paddle or forstener bit sized to the diameter of the legs. Since we wanted the legs at an angle, a guide block was made to guide the drill consistently at each hole.