how to build a railroad cart coffee table

How to Build a Railroad Cart Coffee Table

There are many unique designs out there for coffee tables, but the railroad cart coffee table is a truly one-of-a-kind look and feel. This guide will help you create the perfect railroad cart coffee table.

What You Will Need

  • 1 railroad cart
  • 2 wooden panels
  • 1 table saw
  • 1 drill
  • Wood screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Paint
  • Polyurethane
  • Table legs

Step 1: Finding the Cart

The most important step in this project is sourcing the right cart. You want to look for an old railroad cart that is in good condition – one with minimal dents and rust. You can sometimes find these carts at antique stores, flea markets, or even online through sites like Etsy.

Step 2: Preparing the Cart

Once you have the cart in hand, it’s time to get started! Start by wiping down the cart with some warm soapy water and a scrub brush to remove any dust, dirt, or residue that may be on the cart. Then, use a heat gun or sandpaper to remove any rust. Finally, if you want, use some wood stain and paint to add a bit of your own character to it.

Step 3: Preparing the Panels

Now that the cart is ready, it’s time to focus on the panels. Measure your cart and the wooden panels carefully, then use the table saw to make sure they are cut to the right size. Be sure to sand down any rough edges and make sure that the two panels fit together perfectly.

Step 4: Attaching the Panels to the Cart

Use the drill to attach the panels to the cart. Start by pre-drilling small pilot holes in the cart. Then, use wood screws to secure the panels in place.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Once everything is secured in place, it’s time to finish your coffee table. Sand down any rough spots, then use wood stain or paint and polyurethane to seal everything. Finally, add the table legs of your choice and you are finished!


Creating your own railroad cart coffee table is a great way to add a unique and custom look to any room. With a little bit of time, effort, and the right materials, you will have a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece that you can proudly display in your home.

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