Almost a year in the making, we finally have a finished unique meeting table!
We moved office just over a year ago as we needed more space, after a lot of looking round we found a lovely little converted barn that was perfect for us and actually had a bit more space than we were looking for which was a great bonus!
It didn't take long to decide that the larger of the rooms in the building would be great as a meeting/demo room, then the discussions started about what sort of meeting table we should get. We all decided that it needed to:
- Fit in with the rustic character of the barn (wood floor, exposed beams etc)
- Not be a 'cheap' store bought table and chairs that dont last very long and are already in 90% of other offices
- A 'nice to have' was to support local businesses and even try to 'recycle' or 'upcycle' something if possible.
After an off the cuff comment about using an aeroplane wing the seed of an idea was planted and a few sketches and a number of phone calls later we settled on the idea of using a section of aircraft fuselage and a custom wooden frame for it to sit on, topped off with a nice single slab of toughened glass.
We quickly knocked this up in sketchup and started the process of working out what we could do ourselves and what we would get other people to do as we had started to get quite busy and knew we wouldn't have tie to try to do everything ourselves (we don't have the skill set in house).
Step 1: The Fuselage
Source the fuselage. A few phone calls (mostly unproductive and fobbed off) to a number of 'breakers' yards in the UK we managed to find one who was helpful and even offered to polish up the section we wanted (to save us the job of finding a workshop to do it in ourselves).
As our meeting area isn't the largest we settled on a 2m x 1m section which worked out to be 4 windows, our particular section has come from an ex Cathay Pacific Boeing 747 which had been in service since July 1992.
Step 2: The Frame
The frame. It turned out that our local FedEx driver also enjoyed a passion for woodworking in his spare time and was really interested in our 'project'. After a number of discussions and using our dimensions/sketchup drawings he was able to create the frame we wanted out of some old farm gateposts that he had collected and stored for a couple of years.
After a general clean up he was able to age the wood to make sure that it all looks similarly distressed.
Step 3: Frosty Windows
Frosting the windows. We were considering leaving the windows clear so that you could see the structure of the fuselage through them but in the end we decided against it for a number of reasons and continued to give them a frosty look.
There were a couple of options available to us, there a number of articles on how to 'frost' your own windows including taking some sand paper to them, media blasting them or just simply applying an easily available frosted film to them. As we only had our 4 windows we decided to go for the film option as this would be easy to revert if it looked wrong or we made a mistake.
1. Remove the windows from the fuselage, simple task of just unscrewing the 10 retaining clips for each window and gently pushing it out from the hole.
2. Clean the underside of the window, we did this with window cleaning wipes first as there is a small hole at the bottom of the window which we didn't want any spray to end up going in as it would then end up between the layers of the window.
3. Cut the piece of film to the rough size required for the window, this will make it more manageable than trying to manhandle the full sheet/roll whilst applying it to the window.
4. Make sure the window is completely dry and start to apply the film, slowly. We peeled off about 2 inches of the backing and used a soft cloth to make sure the bubbles were all removed when it was first applied. Then working slowly from side to side with the cloth you can start peeling away the backing and working your way up the window till the film is fully applied without any bubbles. We did consider using the method of applying soapy water to the window before putting the film on (like you do when applying vinyl graphics or window tinting film) but again we didn't want any liquid getting in that small hole and then between the window layers.
5. Using a sharp scalpel or craft knife we then worked around the outline of the window and cut the film to shape before cutting out small sections of the film where the clips hold the window in place, this was to stop the clips pushing the film and causing bubbles.
6. Now you refit the windows! ta da!
We've also had a quick play with putting some led lighting under one of the windows, watch out for another Instructable when we fit them to all the windows!
Step 4: Top It Off With Some Glass
Get some Glass! Ok, so here we tried to find somewhere who had a piece of used/mis-ordered toughened glass the size we wanted but couldn't so we had to go ahead and actually order something new. we wanted a piece that would over hang the frame and the fuselage but about 10cm all round, this would give enough room for guests to sit comfortably with their legs under the table without banging their knees on anything.
Two weeks later a van turned up with the nice shiny new (its recycled sand isnt it!) piece of heavy toughened glass! With three big blokes manhandling it into place it finally set the table off.
Step 5: Tada!
I hope this has given some inspiration to someone, I hope to see more recycled aircraft stuff out there! I myself am building a single window section desk for my shed office using free/recycled bits - keep an eye out for that instructable as for that one I am doing it all myself (except making the glass!)
Step 6: Thank You....
It wouldnt be right to finish this off without thanking the main people who helped make this project as amazing as it is!
Gary and the team from GJD services - Supplied and polished the fuselage section
Wayne from MarcDevlin.com - Rustic and Reclaimed woodwork
The guys from Bespoke Glass