We wanted to come up with a list of things that one can sacrifice to set aside the $13 needed to buy the supplies for this project, but then we realized the list would be too long! So lets just stress the importance… thirteen dollars. That’s it! Simple piece of wood and some 45-degree brackets to support the stand. Some wood glue here, a nail or two there, stain, seal, done! We seriously love this project, as it’s incredibly easy to make and it goes well in every home. So let’s continue, and see how this bad boy is made!
Woodworking Plans for a Sofa Chair Arm Rest Table, for just $13!
Tools Needed for this Project:
PROTIP: Click to Purchase! Help me, help you, help me.
First things first, let’s start with our shopping list. We technically only need two items, assuming you have some basics around your workshop:
As shown above, the specific items are:
- Quantity (1) one. 1″ x 10″ x 6′ Eastern White Pine Board – $10.27
- Quantity (1) one. Stanley Four Pack Corner Brace – $2.67Aside from those, we’ll also need these basic woodworking supplies – which you should already have lying around the shop:
- 60 grit and 220 grit sandpaper
- Stainable Wood Filler
- Wood Finish. In this blog we’re using Minwax Dark Walnut and paste wax
- And as usual… AN AWESOME AND POSITIVE ATTITUDE!!!
Step One – Your Couch Sofa is Different
This is the most important step of all!
Mess this up, and you’ll have a sofa table that floats off the ground – which, while cool, isn’t what we’re trying to make this time. You’ll want to measure the sofa or chair you’re making the table for, from the floor, to the top of the arm. I’d go a little extra (an inch or two) from your measurement, as you can always cut off the extra, but you can’t add it back! For this project, our couch was 25″, so we cut the wood at 25.5″. We only did half an inch extra, as we’ve made about a dozen of these. But don’t get me wrong, we’ve messed the cut/measurement up before, so be careful.
Step Two – Never ask a Woman Her Measurements
But… what’s your measurements?! Because now that you know how long you need to cut your wood, start with marking and cutting the first measurement you took. This cut is going to serve as the total table stand length – from the ground, to the top of the arm rest. As mentioned above, our cut was 25.5″. Once you make that cut, you’ll need to make three more:
- One at 14″ – which serves as the bottom foot base
- One at 20″ – which serves as the LONG arm rest
- And one at 8.5″ – which serves as the SHORT arm rest
- In a couple of steps, you’ll get to decide if you want to actually build the long arm or the short sofa chair arm rest. The plans here are for the SHORT arm (8.5″).
Step Three – Counter Weight and Recess Dado Joint
Time to make the dado joint for your arm rest. And no, not to burst anyone’s bubbles, but this isn’t Bob Marley related. This will be the recess that allows the wooden stand to fit snug into the arm rest, giving it added support, with a little fancy craftsmanship to brag about.
While there are SEVERAL DIY ways you can make this joint, we chose to do it on our sliding compound miter saw. For us, it was the most efficient way. To start, you’ll want to make a mark 1.25″ in on your short arm rest, and 3.5″ in on your long arm rest. Use that first line as a guide, take your scrap piece of wood, and make a stencil on the bottom of your arm rests that matches the width of your wood (this allows for a snug fit as you make your dado joint). See the pictures below.
Step Four – Cutting you Recess Dado Joint
As mentioned above, for a matter of strictly of convenience, we’ve decided to cut the recess dado joint on our sliding compound miter saw. There’s a dozen other ways you can cut this joint (dado blade on your table saw, router, jig, etc), so chose whichever you feel the most comfortable with. We set the depth stop half way done on the miter saw, and made several back and forth passes between our stencil outline.
PROTIP: Make sure you test fit several times, as you don’t want to cut the width of the joint too wide. You can always trim more off, but can’t add wood back in!
Step Five – Your Sofa Chair Arm Rest Length of Choice
Is BIGGER truly better?! Now is your chance to decide! In this step you’ll temporarily test fit both your short arm and long arm into the table stand itself. Place the stand against the couch to get a feel for how long you prefer the arm rest itself. We chose the short arm length (8.5″) in this tutorial, but it is entirely up to you based on your preference and couch or sofa style.
Step Six – Sand All and Assemble your Table
Before you go any further, you should sand ALL the pieces you are going to us. Both with 60 grit and again with 220 grit. It is much easier to sand everything apart, than it is when it’s all together. Once you get the wood silky smooth, you’ll start to assemble the armrest of choice (short or long).
Start by gluing the end of the table stand support and fitting it snug into the dado joint on your arm rest. Once together, either get your trusty nail gun or trusty hammer and nails, and put a few in the top to hold it all together. Now do the same for the bottom as well, after making sure everything is squared off. Once square, you can also put your corner bracket on both the top and the bottom of the stand for support.
Step Seven – Almost Done! Fill, Stain, Wax, Complete
If you’re picky about your wood finish, feel free to make another pass of the sander to make sure everything is perfect! Fill in the all your nail holes with your STAINABLE wood filler, and wait for it to dry. Once hardened, sand the holes again, and get apply your finish. In this tutorial, we used Minwax Dark Walnut. Feel free to use the same, or go crazy with Zebra Stripes or something! You’ll finish it all off with a nice paste wax.
Step Eight – Booyah! Woodworking Project Complete!
You did it! Not only did you make it through our entire crazy blog post, but you also have something to show for it now! Now let it dry and prepare yourself for dozens of requests from your family and friends to make them one as well. Seriously… it’ll happen…
Step Nine – Share, Like, Comment, Purchase
Please share, like, comment to let your friends know about this post.
If you found this DIY project to be too difficult, or don’t have enough time to complete it, feel free to purchase it from our Etsy shop! I mean, we’ll eventually run out of room in our house if we keep everything we make, so it’s win/win!