How to Make a Coffee Table From an Old Door

We turned an old six-pane, wood door into a one-of-kind, two tiered coffee table. This is great project for an intermediate woodworker. The total cost was about $150.

 

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Upcycled and Unique

One of the most interesting aspects of upcycled furniture is that each piece is a one-of-a-kind. It took about 12 hours total to convert this old door into a table. Here’s a list of the tools and materials needed to get the job done: (1) 3′ x 6’8″ solid wood door; (2) pieces 1/4″ sanded edge glass; 8′ of 2″ x 2″ wood square stock; (1) scrap 2×4 or similar; wood glue; construction adhesive; biscuit joiner and biscuits; pocket-hole jig and screws; 3″ wood screws; 2-1/2″ 15-gauge finish nailer; primer/paint and paintbrushes; table or circular saw; tape measure; square; drill/impact driver; orbital sander; 36″ bar clamps; jigsaw with a 2″ hole saw; and a router with a 1/4″ round over bit and a 1/2″ straight bit.
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Just Waiting to be Found

In scouring our local antique barns, we found this six-lite solid wood door. In eying it up, we kept coming back to the fact that since the individual glass lites were busted out, a new solid piece of glass covering all six openings would make an awesome coffee table top.
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Plan Properly

We wanted the three-panel base as the lower shelf of the table since it would be seen through the glass. Because the glass section was shorter than the solid portion, some resizing would be required.
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Lay It Out

To properly plan this coffee table, we had to measure the door in every direction and along each of the outer rails. Because we only have one chance to cut this piece, we spent the time to consider all options for the final layout. In taking on a project like this, keep in mind whether you want to remove edge imperfections such as hinge and strike-plate locations as this will factor into the cuts needed to keep the top and bottom shelves symmetric.
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Inset Glass

Instead of having the new glass top sitting on top of the entire table, we decided to give it a new spin. We cut down the lite dividers by 1/4″ using a router so the new glass will sit flush with the tabletop and cover only the original six lites.
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Straighten It Out

The door’s original edges are not square and straight. Most older doors will have dragged the floor and been undercut over their lifetime. Also, we need to balance the rails (horizontal pieces) all the way around the glass. The center cut between the top and bottom panel was determining the rail width, the top rail of the door was marked to match the lower width. This piece was too big for our standard table saw, so a circular saw was used instead. Mark a second line that corresponds with the distance from the blade to the edge of the plate.
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Attach a Guide For Cutting

Clamp a fence on the second line and use a circular saw to trim the outer portion of the rail off.
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Completed Project

This upcycled coffee table took some careful planning but the outcome was well worth the effort. Built mostly from one old reclaimed door, it features a combination of traditional and modern construction techniques. The map on the bottom shelf is removable, so we can replace it with other artwork, family photos or just leave it as is.

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