I needed a table in my oddly shaped kitchen that could act as additional counter space, a place to eat, store kitchen stools and general spot to put stuff on, all while being 16"x52". Given the odd dimensions and my limited budget, my only option was to make one. Also, since my little apartment lacks a garage or outdoor space, I needed a easy option that didn't require a wood shop.
I've been seeing reclaimed wood furniture everywhere, but a $2000 table is pretty far out of reach, so my solution uses copper pipe, epoxy, and reclaimed wood for around $120. After I made it, I was super stoked and made a side cart that could fit under the table that was another $100 or so. I decided not to solder the pipe to keep a consistent color. Also so I wouldn't have to learn how to solder copper pipe.
What you'll need (in short)
- Copper pipe and fittings
- Power drill
Full Supply List for the 16"x53" table:
- 3/4" Copper pipe (three 10' and one 5')
They come in 10' lengths and 5' lengths. The 10' is cheaper per foot and I got the pipe cutter at the same time then cut the long ones in the parking lot to fit them into the car.
- 3/4" Copper Tee fittings (10)
- 3/4" Copper pipe ends (4)
- 5 minute epoxy (2)
- Paper plates for mixing epoxy (at least 5)
- Stir sticks to mix epoxy
- 7/8" Butterfly drill bit
- Pipe cutter
It's smaller than you think and you can get one in the plumbing aisle for $7
- Wood (any type you like cut to 16"x53")
I went to Building REsources in SF and got some old floor boards that I scrubbed the heck out of. They kindly cut the boards to 53" for me. The floor boards worked great because they have fantastic character, but also the tongue and groove helped keep them together. If you're using slats of any kind, you'll also needthree pieces of wood at 15" and screws to keep the pieces together. I also looked around for used copper pipe but most of that is sold for scrap metal before it gets a chance at upcycling.
- Copper tacks
- Wood stain, paint, clear coat, or whatever you'd like to use to finish the wood
- Mask or respirator if you're using super stinky stuff to finish the wood
Step 1: Drawing Out the Design
Draw up the dimensions of the table. If you want a tall skinny bar like I made, my specs are below. If I were to do it again, I wouldn't do the X bars under the table top, but just straight across the front and back. If you're going for something completely different there are a couple things to keep in mind.
1. Each Tee joint will add 3/4". For example, you start with a 20" piece of pipe, cut it into two 10" pieces and attach them back together with a tee joint. The full length is now 20.75"
2. When you attach the base to the table top, you'll drill into the wood to fit the pipes into place. Be sure to consider that into your final dimensions.
3. Don't forget that the base of your table needs to be smaller than the top. I know that's really basic. But someone, I won't say who, may have had to recut some pipe after forgetting that. I did however end up with a lovely pile of soon to be copper rings from the resizing effort.