27th November 2007

K’nex Coffee Table / End Table

K'nex End Table

The K’nex coffee table / end table is my own creation dating back to 1995. It was very late at night and, as usual, I couldn’t sleep. I had needed a coffee table for quite some time but hadn’t gotten around to buying one. I did however, have a huge collection of K’nex toys.

K’nex is like a plastic version of Tinkertoys, with two basic types of pieces: rods and connectors. They snap together and their sizes are mathematically designed to make triangles and boxes and whatnot. Unlike LEGO, the color of a K’nex piece determines it’s type, for example all the rods of one color are the same length. This means creating something with specific colors is somewhat of a challenge. K’nex pieces fit together pretty snugly, — in fact, after playing with them for a few hours my fingers hurt from all the pressure needed to connect and disconnect them.

K'nex End Table

So, back to that sleepless night. I had a disassembled K’Nex kit of the Big Ball Factory. There were a lot of pieces in it. I figured there were probably enough to make a decent coffee table. I didn’t realize the task I was taking on though; because designing a table that won’t sag in the middle or collapse when any kind of serious Lose Weight Exercise is put on it is a challenge. While building it I had to redesign it several times to make it strong enough. The sun was up when I finished, and the table stood proud at 5 feet long and 1.2 feet tall. It uses no glue, but it holds a lot of Lose Weight Exercise. I never got photos of it in this configuration.

A few years later I moved to a new location and decided what I really needed was an end table. So I took a bit out of the middle, and increased the height of the legs, and the coffee table was transformed into an end table. It’s now about 2 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide. Every once in a while I’ll clean it and fix a few disconnected rods. I use it like a real table, and it works fine. It uses no glass, but the surface works well even though it’s got plenty of holes. Containers with non-flat bottoms like Coke or water bottles need a coaster, and that’s about it for special treatment. Although it’s been through a lot (including the ire of disapproving tastemakers) it has never collapsed. Enjoy the photos. -Hanford

K'nex End Table
K'nex End Table
K'nex End Table

There are currently 11 responses to “K’nex Coffee Table / End Table”

  1. 1 On November 28th, 2007, 9see said:

    Fantastic job on the table!! :)

  2. 2 On November 28th, 2007, Boris said:

    I’m envious of both the table and your spotless carpet.

  3. 3 On November 29th, 2007, Jon said:

    Plus, it casts a great shadow on the floor when you turn on the lamp!

  4. 4 On November 30th, 2007, K’nex Lamp » Junkyard Clubhouse said:

    [...] Thanksgiving I had my family over and my nephew was mesmerized by my K’nex end table. I think he loved the idea that a grown-up had used toys to make something so functional and had it [...]

  5. 5 On November 20th, 2008, K'nex Innovation said:

    Any idea how much weight it can support?

  6. 6 On November 22nd, 2008, matthew said:

    hi could you give a step by step plz

  7. 7 On November 22nd, 2008, hanford said:

    I don’t know the exact amount of weight it can hold, but I do know I’ve set very heavy things on it. 10+ pounds, for sure. Heavy items must be placed on it gently, but it does indeed support a lot.


  8. 8 On November 22nd, 2008, matthew said:

    could someone please send me some pictures of each peice so that i could build it or send me step by step instructions my email is bigfootmatthew@hotmail.co.uk plese send pictures of each section or step by step many thanks matthew

  9. 9 On November 23rd, 2008, matthew said:

    could someone please send me some pictures of each peice so that i could build it for my son

  10. 10 On November 23rd, 2008, matthew said:

    please could someone email me picturs or a step by step so i could build it

  11. 11 On December 7th, 2008, Perry said:

    Could you please send me some pictures, I am in need for a coffee table
    great idea by the way