Do it yourself: transforming a floorboard and copper pipes into a coffee table

A combination of trendy copper and natural wood, this home-made table could be straight from the pages of a design magazine.

In the fourth part of our series on DIY projects, we’re showing you how to create a super-trendy coffee table out of a left-over floorboard and a few copper pipes. Julia Schutzki, an industrial clerk trainee at Hamberger, shows us how it’s done.

The idea

No house or flat should be without a side table, particularly when it’s as stylish as this one! Strategically positioned next to the bed or armchair, it serves as a handy place to put various small objects. Even in a room full of design furniture, this side table is a decorative item in its own right. Julia came up with the idea after watching a YouTube video that explained how to make a supporting frame out of metal tubing. It inspired her to come up with a quick-and-easy DIY project that combines a frame crafted from copper pipes and a table top made of left-over flooring. The tubular frame may appear complicated at first, but it’s really simple to replicate.

You will need the following:

  • 1 floorboard (wood or laminate, light or dark, depending on your preference)
  • 3 copper pipes, each with a length of 2.50 m
  • Tear-resistant string or metal wire
  • 8 screws or 4 pipe straps with matching screws
  • Superglue
  • Tools: Tape measure, scissors, cordless screwdriver, handsaw, sander, and possibly a hacksaw or pipe cutter

Step 1: Cutting the copper pipe

Cut the three 2.50 m copper pipes into segments that are different sizes:

  • 8 pipes amounting to 53 cm
  • 4 pipes amounting to 35 cm
  • 4 pipes amounting to 25 cm

You can ask your local DIY store to do this when purchasing the copper piping or you can cut the pieces yourself using a hacksaw or pipe cutter.

Step 2: Building the top and bottom sections of the frame

First, thread the string through the four lengths of 25 cm copper pipe and arrange them into a square. Here’s a tip: To lend stability to the finished table, ensure you use a sufficiently thick length of string that is almost equal to the inside diameter of the pipe. Or if you prefer, you can use a flexible metal wire. Then construct a second square out of the four lengths of 35 cm copper pipe. Make sure you fasten the ends of the string or wire with a secure knot. If you are using string, apply superglue to the knots for extra security before cutting off any loose ends. Superglue is not necessary when metal wire is used.

Step 3: Creating the side sections of the frame

Now thread a string or wire through each of the eight 53 cm sections of pipe. Ensure that you leave a few centimetres of string free at both ends so that you make secure knots later on. Once you have done this, tie two sections of pipe to each corner of the smaller square (that will form the base of the table), securing any string knots with superglue.

Step 4: -Constructing the tubular frame

Position each side section of piping with a neighbouring section to form a triangle.  After you arranged all the side sections around the square, you will have a four-pointed star. Now tie each of these points to a corner of the larger square. When you have finished, the larger square (to which the table top will be attached later on) must be above the smaller square and rotated by an angle of 45  degrees. Once again, secure any knots with superglue.

Step 5: Creating the table top

Take the floorboard and saw it into lengths of 40 cm. Superglue the pieces together to form a table top measuring 40 cm by 40 cm. Use a sander to smooth the edges.

Step 6: Fastening and assembling

Finally, use a cordless drill and screw the larger uppermost square to the underside of the piece of floorboard. Use two broad-headed screws or a pipe strap to attach each side of the square. Flip the construction over and the elegant coffee table is finished!

Julia has a further useful tip for those wishing to replicate her project: “Ask someone to help you tie the knots and assemble the copper pipes for the frame. Having someone to hold the pipes in the right position makes everything quicker and easier.” Apart from that, Julia says everything was really straightforward. Her side table now graces the Hamberger offices as a decorative accessory, and she is pleased to see it every time.

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