One Hot Table

Coffee Table DIY

This trendy coffee table does double duty as an unusual heater. Pop down to your local Hardware store and get set to build one to warm up your patio. For this month’s DIY, the chilly weather directed most of our thoughts towards heaters, but some of the team had their hearts set on making a coffee table for a patio.

Being a creative bunch, we pooled our ideas and agreed there was no reason why our design couldn’t be sizzling hot and multi-functional. This is what we came up with: a modern, glass-topped coffee table that holds a terracotta tray filled with heated ceramic briquettes. The briquettes give off an amazing amount of heat, making them perfect for warming up a patio in winter.

Materials for your Coffee Table

  • 2 @ 840 x 840 x 20 mm wooden boards
  • 8 @ 442 x 140 x 20 mm wooden uprights
  • 8 mm glass cut in a circle, diameter 718 mm
  • 8 wooden joining biscuits
  • pine gauge sticks, to mark circles
  • 1-litre Woodoc 10 Interior
  • Polywax Sealer (Velvet)
  • Terracotta pot base (diameter 50 cm)
  • Weber 47 cm standard cooking grid
  • 80 Cadac ceramic briquettes
  • 5 empty, cleaned tuna tins
  • ethanol-based odourless bio-fuel


  • biscuit joiner
  • jigsaw
  • electric drill
  • screwdriver
  • planer
  • sander
  • 4 x carpenter’s sash clamps
  • paintbrush


Step 1: Using the gauge stick, draw identical circles on both boards; the outer circles should have a diameter of 840 mm and the inner circles, 720 mm.

coffee table diy

Step 2: On both boards, mark exactly where the 8 uprights will be positioned, equal distances from each other. Use the biscuit joiner to cut a neat groove into the centre of each of these marks for the biscuits that will join the uprights to the tabletop.

coffee table

Step 3: Use the jigsaw to cut out the circular forms from the two boards. The circle with the grooves forms the top of the table and the other forms the base

Step 4: Cut a recess 120 mm x 12 mm into one sideof each upright. These recesses will serve as the supports for the glass top. Chamfer the uprights to a width of 120 mm.

coffee table

Step 5: Attach the recessed side of the uprights to the underside of the top circle, using the biscuits and wood glue.

Step 6: Attach the base to the other ends of the uprights, using screws and glue. Use the carpenter’s sash clamps to clamp the top and base together until the glue has dried.

coffee table

Step 7: Sand and seal the table: apply three coats of sealer, sanding lightly between coats

Step 8: Position the glass in the centre of the table and place the terracotta pot base on it. Place five metal containers in the pot base and fill each with ±100 ml bio-fuel.

Step 9: Arrange the ceramic briquettes on the grid, light the bio-fuel, and rest the grid on the tins. The fuel heats the briquettes, and when the fuel is spent the briquettes continue to give off heat.

The Gardener