My current apartment, a pre-war building in Chicago, has hardwood floors.  I don't know how old they are, but they have certainly borne many years of use.  Recently confronted with a stack of salvaged oak flooring, I put two and two together: a coffee table that lifted the floor up, transposing the surface into a new form.  The floor boards were laminated into a solid piece, taking advantage of their tongue-and-groove construction, then mounted to a modern, X-shaped base that would stabilize the top and support plenty of weight.  The top was cleaned and re-coated with a hard-wearing polyurethane, and the old-growth base was hand-rubbed with linseed oil for a glowing, penetrating finish.  Quick and lightweight, this recycled table is at home on hardwood or concrete.  As long as the wood is salvaged, the materials will cost only a few dollars -- a little finish, a few dollops of glue, and a handful of screws.  

You will need these materials:

Approx. 40' x 3/4" recycled oak or maple floorboards
Approx. 13' x 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" yellow pine or similar
20 1-1/2" drywall screws
Dowel scraps for screw plugs
100-grit sandpaper
Boiled linseed oil
Polyurethane glue
Wood glue

You will need these tools:

Table saw or circular saw
Chop saw
Drill/driver and assorted bits
5-6 3' pipe or bar clamps
3-4 1' bar clamps
Hand plane
Angle finder
Orbital or belt sander
Plug cutter (optional)

Step 1: Lamination

Laminating the floorboards together proved to be the trickiest part of this whole project.  While the tongue-and-groove configuration theoretically adds strength and helps with alignment, in practice they interfered with making a flat surface.  First of all, since it is salvaged, old flooring, the tongues and grooves don't interact perfectly with one another anymore.  Second, as clamping pressure is applied, the tongues act like hinges in the grooves, causing the surface to buckle into a sine wave.  In the future, I would probably cut the tongues and grooves off on a table saw and laminate long-grain to long-grain for a strong, durable bond and a surface that would lay flat.  That said, there are some tricks to keep the boards from getting wavy, and the tongue-and-groove arrangement will probably contribute positively to long-term strength.  

Go over the wood with a metal detector (optional) and close visual inspection to find any old nails that might keep the boards from locking together.  Lay out the pieces, staggering any running joints, until you have an arrangement that will end up being about 48" by 30" (or however large will best fit your space).  Coat each tongue and each groove with glue, and lock together loosely, resting on a few of the pipe clamps.  Alternate your clamp arrangement above and below the boards to help prevent buckling.  Evenly apply the pressure up and down the row of clamps until all the joints are tight.  If the surface is wavy, clamp a 2" x 4" across the boards and to the workbench to force them flat.  Clean up glue squeeze-out with a damp rag.  Let dry for twenty-four hours. 
DIY at its finest
Very well done!
I have two tables that are similar to this, except that the legs fold up and they have laminate tops. We use them both as TV tables and for longer term purposes, when/where needed. Of course, they're missing the beautiful joint work, but the look is the same and they're so versatile.<br>
good looking table!
Curious about your choice of saw blades. I recently burned the motor out of a relatively new table saw while cutting hardwood. The manufacturer said I was using inapproproprite blades, (16 tooth carbide.)
the manufacturer gave you some b.s., unless you were severely trying to cut too fast, for too long. slow and steady wins the race. <br> <br>16 teeth sounds too few. my 10&quot; saw uses an 80 tooth blade... the more, the smoother the cut. <br> <br>what type and size saw are you using?
I logged in just to tell you how beautiful this table was in its simplicity. Love the joint work, etc. I know nothing of woodworking, but things like this encourage me!
Very good work. It looks enough strong, but in case I would make four wood reinforces, one for each leg, at the angle. Think of children...
Simple and beautiful. I have a lot of old pine wood from a floor and your work give me inspiration for use it. I think all your instructables are very well designed. I like all of them. Thank you for publish them.
Beautiful table!
How pretty! I need one of these.

About This Instructable


309 favorites


Bio: Furniture hacker. Author of Guerilla Furniture Design, out now. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @objectguerilla.
More by wholman: How to Launch a Pop Up Shop Flat Pack End Table Milk Bottle Lamp
Add instructable to: