Instructables
Picture of Build a table from old barn board
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Hey alla y'all, I'm going to show you how I built a barn board table. I'm entering my table in the I COULD MAKE THAT contest, so if you like it please vote for it (hint hint - click in the upper right corner!!)! The design is based off a table I saw at a store for $800 - here - and I thought I could make it with the same dimensions using free materials around the shop.

Usually I build props and set pieces for the film industry and don't often get to try my hand at "real" carpentry, so everything I'm outlining here is a mix of me making up things up and otherwise reading tips from wood-working magazines. If you spot me doing things in a totally bass akwards way, please let me know your thoughts in the comment section - I always want to learn better ways to do things! ALSO: if anyone knows an easy way to rotate photos within the Instructables site I'd love the head's up!

So... I got a pile of old barn board under a tarp in a pile behind the train tracks near my place; I was really excited about how aged and beat up they were. However, they ranged in thickness from about 2" to almost 4" so I had to plane them down to get an even thickness. Unfortunately, by the time I shaved each piece down to uniform thickness the planks were nearly 1 1/2" thick - I almost could have just used standard 2x12 stock :-P  OK, here's how I made this table:

 
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Step 1: Welding the base

Picture of Welding the base
The base is welded from 3/4" x 3/4" mild steel and then painted matte black. I didn't have a photo of this process so I just grabbed a generic welding photo from online!
joelav1 year ago
A good tip for getting an even stain coat - especially on softwood or reclaimed wood. Before you stain, lay down a coat of 1lb cut dewaxed shellac. You can mix it yourself if you have the flakes, but it is commercially sold as a product called SealCoat by Zinsser. This is a 2lb cut, so you need to thin it a bit with denatured alcohol. I use this before I apply a finish or stain to any softwood, or blotch prone hardwoods like maple and (especially) cherry. It HAS to be dewaxed though. The regular waxed shellac will not accept a top coat over it.

Dewaxed shellac is comparable over or under any finish. Waterborne, oil based, stain, top coat, etc.  There are a few other benefits also

1. Blocks odor. Reclaimed wood can be stinky
2. No fumes and very safe/environmentally friendly. I actually like the way it smells
3. In addition to putting a coat down before you stain, but one down after you stain. When you apply your finish, the shellac will prevent you from sanding through your top coat and removing color (this is called a sanding sealer). 
4. It actually makes a really nice finish! I use shellac quite a bit in my work.

Really cool table!
damianzuch (author)  joelav1 year ago
Hey Joe, thanks so much! I dug around the Lowes/Home Deeps staining sections when I was starting this project and didn't get much feedback from the employees so I just ran with what I knew. I kind of want to try this again now that I know this!
No problem! Finishing is kind of my thing. There are so many myths and misinformation out there it becomes difficult to find what you need and do what you want. Grab a can of that sealcoat and some denatured alcohol. It will make your life a lot easier.
adamavis8 months ago

Minwax makes a pre-stain sealer. Eliminates blotches.30

explosivemaker12 months ago
Turned out pretty.

Though I believe you would say "joint the edge" not "jointer the edge".
dimtick1 year ago
Really nice!!!
a couple quick thoughts. if you have a bandsaw, I think it would be nice if the lower shelf were thinner than the top. you can do it with the planer but it would take forever and probable kill the blades.
Although I'm perfectly fine with the way the edges turned out, it may add something if you only jointed the glue edges and left the outside edges rough.
tip: although its not an issue with such thick boards, normally when your clamping a lot of boards together you want to alternate the clamps between the bottom and the top. this will keep the glue-up from bowing.
Nice Job!!
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steveharr1 year ago
Hi, basically you need to seal the wood before you stain it to stop the uneven take-up of the stain, something like this:
http://www.familyhandyman.com/woodworking/staining-wood/how-to-stain-wood-evenly-without-getting-blotches-and-dark-spots/view-all
damianzuch (author)  steveharr1 year ago
Wow! I wish I had known about this before starting the project. I've not yet encountered a pre-seal treatment - I always assumed that would block the stain from taking. Thanks for this!
woodNfish1 year ago
Nice table Dazu. I like the metal frame too. I don't weld, but it is something that I'd like to learn for furniture making. You can use cyanoacrylic glue to make soft and rotting wood rock hard. Wood turners use it when they hit a soft spot on a turning and it has the advantage of drying very quickly. They use the liquid version, not the gel so that it will penetrate the soft wood. If you look up "repairing rotted wood" you will probably find info and look at wood turning supplies as well. You want to be able to buy a large enough quantity for a reasonable price. The little bottles are too small and expensive.
tbaltz1 year ago
I've heard that wood conditioner does well but I haven't tried it yet
CVBruce1 year ago
The tips on getting an even stain coat are appreciated, but I think the uneven appearance makes the table grab you attention. I would have to see both version side by side to see which one I'd like the best.
damianzuch (author)  CVBruce1 year ago
Hey Bruce, yeah, it was interesting to see the grain suddenly get a new face - kind of a surprise too! It was very plain pine before the stain went on!