DIY Coffee Bar / Mini Fridge Table – Beginner Woodworking Project

So about three weeks ago I was hard at work
in my shop when I got a text from my friend and he said, “Hey man, looking for a new
project? I’ve got something in mind.” I responded with, “Of course, what are you
thinking?” He sent me a few pictures of this rustic coffee
bar slash mini fridge table that he found on Etsy, made by Tyler over at RawlingsWoodworks.
So I drafted up a design, which was 100% inspired by Tyler’s work – I’ll leave links to
his Instagram and Etsy page in the video description. Once I got the official sign off on the design,
I headed out to the store to pick up some materials. While I bring in the lumber from my car and
rough cut some 2×4’s to length, I’m going to throw out a quick disclaimer about this
project.

Now, this is a beginner project. It was made entirely from 5 2×4’s, 2 2×6’s,
and a few scraps of 3 quarter inch plywood. However, throughout the video, you’ll see
me using tools that a quote, unquote “beginner woodworker” may not typically own, like
a jointer and a planer. If you have a circular saw, a drill, and a pocket hole jig you could
easily make this same exact table. I just wanted to remove all the rounded edges on
all my boards, but leaving them is definitely an option as well.

So this next step is completely unnecessary,
you could start assembly right now if you wanted to, but I'm going to take all of these
pieces over to my jointer, my planer, and then my table saw just to bring them down
in dimension a little bit and make sure that everything is nice and square. Also, I have
a few pieces that are 1.5" by 1.5" and if you don't have a table saw you can easily
just purchase 2" x 2"s at the store as well.

So let's go ahead and get all of these pieces
down to their exact dimensions… for me. The first step in this milling process was
to run all the faces through the jointer. Once we’ve got a flat face, we’ll take
that and put it right up against the fence and run one of the edges through the jointer
as well. If your fence is properly aligned and 90 degrees to the table, you should be
left with a face and edge on your board that is 90 degrees as well. Next, with the freshly jointed face, facing
down, I sent all my pieces through the planer.

The purpose of this step is 1.) to bring all
the pieces down to the same thickness and 2.) to make sure that the opposite faces are
parallel to each other. After that, I brought everything over to the table saw, lined up
the freshly jointed edge against my fence and took off just enough material to remove
the rounded edge. Then I flipped the board over and cut it down to it’s final width
of 3 inches for the legs and 1 and a half inches for the stretchers. And finally, the last step was to cut all
the boards to their final length. I used a combination of my miter saw and my table saw
with a cross cut sled – using a stop block for each to make sure the pieces were cut
at exactly the same length. I gave all the pieces a quick sand and then
it was on to drilling some pocket holes. This will make sense in a second, but there are
6 total legs on this table. The front leg and the corresponding back leg are connected
by some side stretchers. The left front and back leg have two side stretchers, one at
the top and another set an inch and a half from the bottom.

The middle and right, front
and back legs are held together by 3 stretchers, one at the top, one at the bottom, and one
in the middle, which will eventually hold a shelf. Where am I going with this? Oh yeah, well
all those side stretchers need pocket holes – as well as the other 2×2 pieces that will
eventually connect all the legs together. I used glue on each joint, clamped it in place,
and drove in 2” pocket hole screws. If you’re leaving the 2×4”s as is, you’ll need to
use 2 and a half inch screws. So I'm going to be assembling this thing upside
down on my workbench and the reason I'm not doing it on the floor is that the floor in
my garage isn't level and I don't trust it. So the only downside is that when I'm installing
this upside down, to get the pocket holes that will be on the top stretchers, I need
to make it so they're facing up.

So if the piece is right-side up, you can actually look
under it and you'll be able to see these pocket holes, however, I'm going to plug them up
and I'm going to ultimately paint this white at the end so you'll never be able to tell. Next, I repeated the same process as before
and attached the leg assemblies together with the 2×2 pieces. With the base all assembled, the next step
was to add the decorative X’s on the side. I was a little nervous about this step, but
ultimately found a process that worked. Basically, I took the piece I was going to use for the
X and clamped it down in the position that I wanted with some overhang on each corner.
Then, I made two marks on the other side. These marks gave me the exact location of
where to make the angled cut at the miter saw. I snuck up on these cuts to make sure
the angle and the fit was good. Now for the other half of the X I cut out
two separate pieces. They do need to be two separate pieces, but I would recommend keeping
it together as one and then making the marks like I did on the first one and then cut them
out a few times on the miter saw.

And the reason why you want to keep it as one is because
it'll give you the correct alignment to position them from corner to corner. Because right
now I have to find a creative way to make sure they're not like this or like this and
it's straight all the way down. I repeated the same process for the other
half of the X.

But this time, I used a clamp in the middle to secure the two pieces together
so they were straight. I used some glue and my brad nailer to secure
the pieces. If you don’t own a brad nailer, you could definitely use pocket holes here
as well, which I’ve done in the past. You’ll just need to come back later and plug up the
holes since they’ll be visible. Now we’re on to making the two plywood shelf
pieces. Luckily for me, the base assembly was nice and square so this process went pretty
smoothly. First, I started off by measuring the openings for the shelves and cut the plywood
to size. After testing the fit, I drilled out a few
pocket holes on the bottom side of the shelf, tapped it in place with a rubber hammer and
clamped down a support piece so the shelf would sit flush against the top side while
I secured it with pocket screws. So everything is pretty much done for assembly
of the base. All that I need to do next is come back and plug the pocket holes and then
add some wood filler.

I'm going to do that actually when I'm done with the top. And speaking
of the top, let's work on that now. The top was made from 2 8-foot long 2x6s.
I started off by bringing them over to the miter saw to cut them in half. I’m going
to go through the same process as before to flatten the boards and bring them down to
an even thickness by using the jointer and planer. Again, no need to take this step if
you don’t have these tools. After that, I brought them over to the table saw to remove
the rounded edges. In order to remove some of the gaps before
glue up, I’m going to try this technique that I picked up recently. Align the top to
how you want it and mark an “I” for “in” next to one edge and an “O” for “out”
on the edge of the board that it’s touching. When you send these edges through the jointer,
you’ll want the “i” facing the fence, and the “o” facing you. That way, if the
fence isn’t an exact 90 degrees, it’ll cancel out any errors.

So I think it's worth calling out mistakes
or when things don't go according to plan, especially in these woodworking videos because
if you decide to make something like this for yourself and you run into the same issue,
you feel like you're not alone. The issue that I ran into is when I took all the boards
over to the jointer and ran the edges through to minimize that gap using the "In/Out" method.
Now that technique should have worked, but I found out that my jointer wasn't in alignment
so after a few hours of adjustments I think I have it perfectly square. And when I was
testing everything out, I actually removed too much material so I had to scrap those
boards, I got two new 2x6s and repeated all the same process just to get them down to
the thickness that I needed so I'm going to take those over to the jointer and let's hope
this time it works.

There were some minor improvements, but overall
there were still small gaps. I’m going to chalk this one up to having a jointer that’s
too small to handle the material I was sending through. I decided that progress over perfection
was best here and moved on to the glue up. I used my biscuit joiner here to help with
alignment. I’ve made some table tops in the past using pocket screws so that’s definitely
an option as well.

Once all the slots were cut, I added some glue, dropped in the biscuits
and clamped everything up. While the glue was drying, I went back to
the base and added some wood filler to any visible gaps and plugged a few pocket holes
as well. When the top was dry, I removed the clamps
and used a chisel to clean up some of the dried glue from the seams. After that, I used
my circular saw and a straight edge to cut the board to length and then used my table
saw to bring it down to it’s final width. Andddd lastly, I used my router with a roundover
bit to soften up the edges on the top. Now on to finishing. After sanding, I applied
some pre-stain conditioner to prevent blotching and used a dark walnut stain on the top. I
initially was going to use a clear satin wipe-on poly for the top coat, but wasn’t liking
it. I ended up spraying a few coats of an oil-based polyurethane to the top, which unfortunately,
I don’t have footage of.

Next, I sprayed the base with some primer
followed up with some white paint. Alright, two more steps and were done. I decided
to use these z-clips from Rockler to attach the table top to the base. I cut some slots
with my biscuit joiner, inserted the clips, and screwed it down. If you don’t have a biscuit joiner, you’d
just need to make these slots with the table saw before assembly, or you can use this figure-8
fasteners instead. Lastly, I added these little felt levelers
on the bottom of each leg. With that, we can call this project complete.
I loaded the table up in the back of my car and delivered it to my friend’s house..

As found on YouTube

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