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.
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 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 Weight. I never got photos of it in this configuration. Weight
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