Sadler House

Sadler House

Rockland, Maine

Industrial Coffee Table

March 8, 2015 | 42 Comments

If someone asked me to define the style I had in mind when we furnished Sadler House, it would be tough to summarize. We wanted the house to be comfortable, yes. We wanted it to be grounded and unfussy. Most of all, we wanted it to feel fresh and light.

Industrial Coffee Table - Sadler HouseWe also had a tight budget.

Have you ever gone shopping for a coffee table? Man, those can be expensive! After building the farmhouse table for the dining room, I importuned Dan to take on the coffee table. Even buying one used to refinish was looking to be much too expensive. Why not just craft our own?

While scrolling through the hundreds of tutorials on Pinterest, I came across a photo of a table someone made using wood and plumbing parts. That was it. I loved the spare and sturdy design.

All the materials we used for this table were found at our local home improvement store. If you wanted to, you could do this really cheaply using pine. We splurged a little and went with poplar, since it is more durable and has a cleaner look after being stained.

All-told, buying the materials for the table cost us about $125…although I must confess I have long-since misplaced the receipt (oops). Suffice to say, we got a beautiful new table for much less than we would have paid in a store.


Four 1×6 boards that are 4′ long (these are standard at home stores)

Note: all pipe is 3/4″

Four 8″ nipples

Four 6″ nipples

Six Tees

Four 4″ nipples

One 36″ length of pipe

Four flanges

Four end caps

Sixteen 3/4″ #10 wood screws

About sixteen pocket hole screws

Stain (if desired) plus rags to use

Shellac or poly (we used Bullseye) and a brush


Pocket hole jig (such as a Kreg)


Recommended: Face clamp

To Build the Top:

Using the pocket hole jig, drill holes according to the jig manufacturer instructions. They should look like this:

Industrial Coffee Table Pocket Holes - Sadler House

Screw the boards together using jig holes.

Industrial Coffee Table Clamp - Sadler House

Put the table top up on sawhorses or a worktable and sand it well.

If you are staining your table, this is a good time to do it. This is a good stopping point for a break. You should wait a few hours (per manufacturer instructions) for your stain to dry before applying your poly or shellac.

Industrial Coffee Table Stain - Sadler House

Apply poly. Your top is done!

To Build the Base:

Make the legs first. Lay out your plumbing pieces as pictured. Each leg will have, in this order:

  1. end caIndustrial Coffee Table Legs - Sadler Housep
  2. 4″ nipple
  3. tee
  4. 8″ nipple
  5. flange


Screw them all together. No tools required. Just make sure all the legs are the same length when you are done (it’s easy to over- or under-tighten and end up uneven). Voila!

Then you must build your two cross-members, in this order:

  1. 6″ nipple
  2. tee
  3. 6″ nipple

Next it is time to put the entire base together.

Lay out your four legs, your two cross-members,and your 36″ length of pipe as pictured:

Industrial Coffee Table Assembly - Sadler House

It’s easiest to put the cross-members on the long pipe first. Then attach the legs.

Your base is done.

As your last step, flip your table-top over on the workbench so that the underside is facing up (ours is unstained in the pictures, but yours will be stained already). Center your pipe base on the underside of the table. Use the 3/4″ wood screws to attach the flanges to the table.

You are now the proud owner of a new industrial coffee table! If you need some inexpensive side tables, check out our tray table hack project.

Come stay with us in Maine and rest your own coffee cup on this very table. If Maine is too far away, follow all our DIY and coastal exploits on Pinterest!

Follow Sadler House’s board Sadler House Blog on Pinterest.

-Alicia and Dan



42 people are talking about “Industrial Coffee Table

    • We used 3/4″, and you have a great point that I should add this to the post. As for the eight 8″ nipples, that is a mistake! You are 100% correct and I thank you for bringing that error to my attention. You only need four. Thanks for your comments!

      • I love the table! I’m only being so picky because we used your instructions to make a table for ourselves.

        • As you should be! I want the instructions to be correct and easy to follow, so I welcome your questions. I hope your table serves you as well as ours has. It’s going on two years old and still looks amazing!

    • Katie, I am not in the house with the table to measure it right now, but I’d say it came out to be about 18″. Dan says that there is some variability depending on how much you tighten the pipes on their threads and that when you get them all put together, if the table is slightly wobbly, you can even out the two sides. This affects the height slightly…but only a tiny bit. I can measure the table in about a month when we’re in front of it and post again if that’s helpful!

  1. I built the coffee table using pine using the Kreg jig wow I am hooked on the Kreg tools. The top I stained using a red stain and 3 coats of varnish. Levelling is easy by measuring the bottom nipple to be all the same vice grips helps. Now I am looking at my next DYI pipe project

    • Brad, how exciting that you had success with our table! I’m sure the three coats of varnish will work great. We just refreshed our Bullseye shellac in April for the first time and it’s looking as good as new. Good luck with your next project and thanks for reporting back!

  2. A question for the 36″ pipe threaded? I am having a hard time locating the length of pipe I need with both ends threaded. Thanks!

    • Marcel – I’m so sorry to be late with my response. I typed a reply to you days ago and it vanished! Looking at the current Minwax colors, I’m fairly certain we used Minwax Dark Walnut. Depending on how thick you apply it, you can get a look like our coffee table or a really dark glossy look like what we have on our farmhouse table in the dining room. It’s a great color.

  3. How did you prep the pipe? The pipe at my local store is coated in some sort of black gunk.

    • I couldn’t really remember anything about treating the pipes, so I asked Dan. He said ours came with a thin coating of machine oil, but nothing that needed to be removed. The price tags left behind a little stickiness, and I took that off with Goo Gone. Maybe check another store?

    • My husband suggested I use vinegar to cut the “black gunk”. I soaked small pieces of pipe in a plastic ziplock bag and used a rag soaked with vinegar to clean longer pieces. It worked beautifully to remove the oil!

  4. Hi
    We would like to build thus nice table, and we have already bought the wood
    But we have not found the flange in standard piping shop
    Any ide?

    • Liat – how about finding it online? There’s a comment here from some folks at a place called Blackfriars Ironworks – I’ve never used them, but perhaps they could help you?

  5. Pingback: Make your own industrial decor coffee table using wood and plumbing parts. We show you how. DIY | plumbing pipe furniture… – Best Home Decorating Ideas

  6. Thanks so much for your post! Inn uilt mine today and I’m absolutely in love!! Simple shopping list and instructions! I spent $139.82 I used black iron, and pine boards. Bought minwax ebony stain so it’s essentially all black and pour-on instead of shellac. (The thick clear coat that is used on bar tops)

    • Holly, thank you so much for sharing and confirming that our costs were similar! What cool variations! If you ever get a chance to email a picture, we would love to see it. Thanks again.

  7. I can’t tell from your pics or any of the others I’ve been looking at on the web but the pipes I can buy have light yellow printing on them from the manufacturer, does this clean off without damaging the black, or are you just doing your best to point them in the least visible direction.? if they can be removed what do you use?


    • William, we don’t, but you should be able to find them easily at your local home improvement store! You can use various types of wood – it doesn’t have to be poplar.

  8. Pingback: #style Make your own industrial decor coffee table using wood and plumbing parts. We show you how. DIY | plumbing pipe furniture... - DIY Ideas

  9. Thank you so much for this tutorial. We used the base instructions exactly for a 26”x 50” butcher block top that we had saved from the original kitchen that was in this house we just bought!! This was so helpful!!

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