Hockey stick table: The tried and true of hockey stick furniture.
In the area of hockey stick furniture, the hockey stick coffee table is the easiest to make. Everything at right angles and a limited number of ways exist to make an error. If you’re new to the concept of building stuff and want to move beyond clocks or picture frames, this is a great place to start! The descriptions you’ll find here are a bit more in depth than for the other furniture since I think this is the best place to start.
Like everything in engineering, we’ll break down the construction into more manageable parts. It works for building bridges, phones, and spacecraft so we’ll go ahead and use it here, why not? Luckily this has only a few subcomponents that make sense:
- Top Surface
- Leg/Top Attachments
- Bottom Support
Tools and hardware for the project:
- Miter Saw
- Circular saw
- Bubble level
- 4 bar clamps (2 greater than 3 ft)
- Around 40 sticks.
- 2 boxes of #6, 1.25″ wood screws
- 1 box of #6, 1.5″ wood screws
The first order of business is to line up and place your sticks in the order you want. I’ve got 23 for my coffee table top. (See why you need all those sticks?) Place them in such a fashion so the top of the table appears as exactly as you’d like: labels lined up, Eastons next to Eastons, or interleaved with Bauer, what have you. This is what the top will look like. Now that you’ve done that, flip each stick over so you’re looking at the future bottom of the top of the table. We don’t want to ruin that pretty face.
Now, bar clamp them all together so they’re straight to each other and lined up nicely. Clamping is important. Careful not to bar clamp them too tightly or the sticks will buckle and you’ll have to realign everything. It’ll happen eventually. You’ll see.
Cut three sticks you don’t find aesthetically pleasing to be the cross attachment beams. Their length will need to be just under the width of the table top which makes hiding their appearance or adding a finishing layer easier. Between 1/8″ and a 1/4″ is probably fine on either side. Total length depends on the total number of sticks you used for the top. So, if the width is 26.75″ as shown below, go with each being about 26.5″. Again, this is the BOTTOM of the table and it’s a lot easier to cut them now than to attach and cut later.
Place two cross beams about 2.75″ from the eventual length of your table top. This distance is important as this is where the legs will attach and determine your table’s stability. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s equidistant from both edges and big enough to get a circular saw in. If you’re smart, as discussed in Building, you’ll make it the width of your circular saw guide and won’t have to use another stick to act as a guide later. The total usable length of my 23 sticks was about 35 7/8″, so my cross beams start 2.75″ from that. The third is in the middle of the top. Three cross beams make ensure the whole thing doesn’t rack.
Now, screw in a single #6 1.25″ wood screw into each of the sticks to hold them in place making sure it goes through the cross beam first. One screw for each table top stick.
For the coffee table, I really recommend using a circular saw since there is no frame to conceal any uneven lengths! Using a circular saw and guide (if you didn’t heed my advice), cut both sides of the table. It’s highly recommended to bar clamp an extra stick to the width of the table at the end to prevent blow out of the material when the cut is finished. In my coffee table, the width was 35 7/8″ due to a 1/8″ loss of the blade. Account for it if it’s important to you to have exact dimensions, like putting a glass top on or you have a thing for round numbers.
Next we’ll make the legs. We’re going to stack the sticks 2×2 because you never know who’s going to sit on this thing just because they can. You can make it 2×1 or just use just one, but I advise against it. Attach 2 sticks together on the long edges first as shown in the figure using #6, 1.25″. Once you have two of those, you’ll need to use 1.5″ screws to get through the stick the long way thus creating one solid 2×2 leg. Make sure there is an offset between the orthogonal screw directions. You don’t want one from one direction running into the other. About 4-5 equally spaced over the 16″ length is sufficient.
You’ll have to repeat this 4 times for each leg of the table. You now have 4 excellent clubs.
After the legs have been made, we’ll need a secure way to attach them to top of the table. What we want to do is this, but we need some structural help.
Support pieces will accomplish this task. Take 4 pieces and make a box around the bottom of the top surface piece, ensuring the ends line up cleanly. These pieces are highlighted red.
Screw those down into the top through the cross beams that hold the top together using #6, 1.5″ screws dodging the #6 1.25″ holding the support beams to the top. I recommend you make the longer sides of the box (those parallel with the sticks that make up the top) longer to go from edge to edge of the attachment beams as opposed to how it’s pictured in the figure where it stops early. Extending in this way may make securing these pieces together easier but it’s not required. Instead of 29 5/8″, they’ll be about 30 7/16″ wide.
Secure each leg through the sides of the box with #6, 1.25″ screws. This will hold each leg to the table top. Don’t worry if the legs aren’t perfectly vertical(well, worry if they’re at like 45 degrees). Just do your best to keep them upright. We’ll fix any slop in the next step. Example picture is given below where the longer side goes edge to edge of the supports.
All that’s left now is to attach the bottom frame. You’ll cut four more pieces of the same length that you used to secure the top, assuming you cut the length the pieces to go from edge to edge like I recommended. Bar clamp the four pieces together to make sure you have everything level and that the legs are going to be straight before screwing anything in. If you’re careful with your measurements, you should be fine, but double and triple check. Use a bubble level (or your favorite bubble app) to measure the angle of each of the four leg/top attachment pieces. Then, make sure that the bottom four framing pieces here share the same value as its corresponding attachment piece. We want parallel bottom support frames and top/leg attachment frames. If you get non-zero angles, it’s (probably) okay, it just means your work surface isn’t level! But, be reasonable of course.
Once you’re happy with the levelness of all the parts, go ahead and screw the pieces in place with #6, 1.25″.
You can add a frame around the top if you’d like.
See, told you this was simple! A nightstand this is not…
For a full model of the coffee table, check Models.