Coffee tables are a convenient place to place a snack, while sitting on the sofa, but they do limit floor space while entertaining. A coffee table with folding legs is great for relaxing evenings when you need a table and convenient when you need the extra space for parties or holidays. Making a coffee table, that you will enjoy for years to come, and hiding the folding leg brackets with a decorative base, is a great woodworking project which you can complete in a weekend.
Cut a 2 ft. by 4 ft. piece of wood for the table top with a table saw.
Cut two 39 inch lengths and two 18 lengths of 1 ½ inch by 4 inch board for the rails.
Cut 45 degree angles on the rails with a miter saw on the length and width rail ends.
Cut two 8 inch lengths and two 30 inch lengths of 1 inch by 1 inch board for the fillets.
Place the table top with the bottom up on a clean dry work surface.
Create the table base frame on the table top by placing the length and width rails upright, centered and squared on it, trace their inner and outer edge positions with a pencil and set them aside.
Place a 3/8th diameter bead of wood glue onto the center of your marked frame on the table top bottom and on the 45 degree cut angles of the rails.
Assemble the frame on the table top bottom over the wood glue. Wipe any excess glue with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits. Allow the glue to set for 2 hours.
Place the width and length fillets (brace pieces) centered within the frame lengths and screw them into the table top with 1 1/2 inch wood screws every 4 inches, starting at the center and working to the ends.
Install the folding leg brackets with the included hardware at each corner within the table frame base, so that the legs will fold to the center along the length of the table.
Secure the table base frame to the fillets by screwing 2 1/2 inch wood screws through the fillets into the frame at each fillet end and every 4 1/2 inches.
Insert the table legs into the brackets and tighten the bracket flanges to secure them in place.
Sand the table with 80 grit sandpaper. Remove the sanding dust with a cloth dampened with water and then continue sanding with a 120 grit, 180 grit and 220 grit sandpaper, wiping between each paper.
Apply two coats of wood stain by applying the stain with a paintbrush, letting it sit for 15 minutes and then wiping it with a clean cloth. Allow each coat to dry for 6 hours before applying the second or the polyurethane.
Paint 2 light, consistent coats of polyurethane finish to the wood with a paintbrush, allowing the first coat to dry for 2 hours before applying the second.