Like I’ve mentioned before, I finally had a vision for our guest room and the next piece to tackle were the side tables.  I imagined these beautiful, live edge side tables with little hairpin legs, and I was determined to find some.  Naturally, I couldn’t find what I wanted in stores or online, so I decided to make my own and delve into super basic furniture making.

Live Edge Side Tables

What you’ll need:

  • Live edge wood, cut to your dimensions
  • Sander
  • 80, 120, & 220 grit sand paper
  • Saw horses
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Disposable gloves
  • Epoxy (two quart Glaze Coat boxes)
  • 6 quart sized buckets,with measurements (3 per table)
  • 2 Wooden stirrers
  • Plastic scraper
  • 8 Hairpin legs (4 per table)
  • 1 1/2″ Star screws (20 per table)
  • Impact drill with star bit
  • Furniture wax
  • Cloth

Coming into the project I knew the hardest part would be finding wood to make the tables out of, and once I had my heart set on something with live edge, I knew it’d be even harder.  Lucky for me, one of Daniel’s friends’ family owns a mill in Ridgeville, SC (like 40 miles from my house).  I used the random Wednesday we had off from work in November to take a road trip and get some wood for the project!

Andy was awesome.  We looked at different pieces, then settled on one and he cut it with the chainsaw for me on the spot.  Talk about service 🙂

side table 01

When I got home, this is what I had: two 30″ pieces of oak.

side table 02

These sat in our garage for a few months while we were busy with football and the holidays, but when I finally had “free time,” I was ready to get started on them again.  Next step: sanding.

With sanding, start small and get bigger with the grain.  I started by using 80 grit paper, then progressed to 120, and 220 grit.  Slowly, I took off the top layer and smoothed it all out on the top, sides, and just a touch on the bottom.

side table 03

side table 04

This was another point where a few more months went by because I was busy, or other projects had a higher priority than these tables.

Since the table tops were sanded down to a nice, smooth finish, I needed to seal the natural wood in next.  My friend, Daniel, made some tables for the shop out of a similar live edge, so I got his recommendation on what to use: Glaze Coat epoxy found at Lowe’s.

Why did I use epoxy?  It’s self leveling, easy to use and mix, and it’s a lot thicker (and more durable) than just staining the wood a few times.  Plus it’s basically clear, so the natural beauty of the wood would come right through.

I set up a little area in the garage to continue working with the plastic drop cloth on the bottom, 2 saw horses to hold the wood, and more plastic over the saw horses and under the wood to protect the saw horses from the epoxy that was doing to drip.

Before we worked with the epoxy, Hunter wanted to get the legs measured and marked so it’d be easy to attach them to the wood after we sealed the top in.  It took a little bit of time, but we laid the legs out on the wood, made sure they were level, and arranged in a rectangle, then we marked them with a blue sharpie.  We probably overdid it with marking everything, but I wanted to make it as simple as possible when I was ready to screw the legs in.

side table 05

side table 06

side table 07

Okay, we were ready for the epoxy!  Follow the directions on the box and mix the epoxy correctly so it’s a 1 to 1 mixture.  This includes mixing the concoction together for 6 minutes — hello arm workout.

side table 12

Pour the epoxy on top of the wood and use a plastic scraper to smooth it out, covering the top.  You have about 15-20 minutes to get it how you want before it starts hardening.  I wanted to make sure the sides were coated & sealed as well, so when the top was good, I applied some epoxy to the sides with the scraper.

To avoid having bubbles harden in the top, use a blow torch ~6-8″ above the wood to warm up the epoxy & get them out — they’ll come up to the surface, then pop!  Check the wood every hour to see if any other bubbles need to be popped while it’s drying.  Then you wait.

side table 09

We used 1 pint of epoxy (8oz resin & 8oz hardener) for the first coat on the first table.  Let the first coat completely dry – the box recommends 4-5 hours, but we let ours dry overnight since we did this part after work.  The next day we applied a second coat (another 1 pint), going through the same process again, with a clean bucket.

After the first table was done, I repeated the steps all over for the 2nd table.  All in all we used two quart boxes of the Glaze Coat.  Here’s what table one looked like while it was drying after the second coat:

side table 11

When the table tops were completely dried & cured, it was time to attach the legs to the bottom.  I was really digging the hairpin leg look, and found some great ones for sale on Etsy (I couldn’t find these anywhere in Charleston).  I ordered 8 24″ legs (4 per table) so the tables would be about ~26″ tall with the wooden tops.

side table 13

We screwed the legs into place drilling 1 1/2″ star screws into the holes. I learned that the star screws were better to use than normal ones in this case (learned this after we stripped a few screws).  Once we got into a groove, we got the legs in quickly because of our preparations earlier marking everything.  I also got to play with the new impact drill we now own 🙂

side table 14

The last step was to seal the metal in.  The legs were a raw, unfinished metal, and the maker recommended finishing the legs with a light coat of furniture wax.  I wiped on some SC Johnson wax I had leftover from finishing our dining table, then these were ready to put in the guest room.

side table 16

These were no corn hole boards, but the project definitely took some time and patience…. I really enjoyed being able to build these with Hunter too.  He’s super handy and I learned a lot during the process, plus it was just fun to work on a random house project together a week before our wedding!  They will always have a special place in my heart 🙂

At the end of it, I finally had the 2 new live edge oak tables that I wanted!  I put them in the guest room, added lamps and some accessories, and enjoyed the view.  See ya later scuffed, college side tables!

side table 17

side table 18

side table 24

side table 25

side table 26

You can check out the slow transformation of the guest room here.  We think the last piece for this room will be a large, standing mirror.  Anyone have thoughts on where to find a big mirror for a great price?

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