I am entering this instructable in the "I could make that" contest, so if you like what you see, please vote!
Step 1: Gathering Materials
Ingredients for this Project:
-Reclaimed floor boards
-Reclaimed slats from a bed
-30in hairpin legs from http://hairpinlegsforless.com/
-1-1/2 inch woods screws
Step 2: They Did Need a Little Work...
I also needed to scraped down part of the groove portion of the tongue-and-groove of the boards so that they would fit more snugly together. A word of caution to anyone taking on a job that requires chisels... BUY NICE CHISELS! Trying to shave thin bits of wood off something in a precise manner using dull chisels is like trying to have good penmanship using a 4in paint brush held between your elbows...
Step 3: Assemble Boards Into Pre-table
Step 4: Clamps
I realized after I started to tighten the clamps that small beads of glue were being squished out of the cracks. This was a problem because there were large heavyduty boards lying perpendicular across the table and the last thing I needed was them glued in place. The boards are not a hard wood and it would likely take huge gouges out of them to tear the boards free if they were glued to it. So, as a preventative measure I put down strips of paper towel anywhere the boards were going to be laid as a barrier to prevent them being glued to my table.
Also, I ran out of heavy things to put on the table, so the dog had to help me out by weighing down the table...
Step 5: Inspection
This stage passed wiener dog inspections.
Step 6: Squaring It All Off
I knew I would be making this cut across all the boards after gluing them, so I wasn't too concerned about being super accurate when I first cut the boards to length. However, this cut would be important, and so I used a straight-edge clamp as a guide to make sure my cut was neat. I always recommend drawing a line (even when using a straight-edge clamp) where you are hoping to cut so you can make sure your cut is not somehow veering off course, plus it is psychologically gratifying to watch the line get eaten up by the saw.
Step 8: Prepping the Bracing
They cleaned up quite nicely and because they were old reclaimed wood they were straight and dry. One of the benefits of reclaimed wood, at least reclaimed wood that is well-seasoned, is that there is little chance of them warping or curling the table. This is especially important in my case since the table won't have a skirt, or really any other bracing besides these boards.
As you can see in the picture, not all of the boards were cut exactly the right length... I'm just not that talented with a skillsaw, and I don't have a proper chop saw.
Once they were cleaned up, I positioned them for gluing/screwing. Since I would be using the corners of this bracing to affix the table legs, I made sure to line up the corners where I wanted the base of the legs to be mounted.
Step 9: Gluing the Bracing
Step 10: Screwing the Bracing
1-1/4 in screws were too short and 1-1/2 in screws came dangerously close to puncturing the top side of the table. I decided that the best way to make sure I was getting the most screw for my effort, was to nip the tips of the 1-1/2 inchers. When your board is only 3/4 of an inch thick to begin with, you want all the screw surface area you can get.
Step 11: Polyurethane
Application of polyurethane, for those who have never done it, is basically the same as stain. Dip, and stroke... with the grain. Cover completely, but don't over apply. If you want more, add another coat later once the first has set. Mind the edges, if it accumulates in droplets on the undersides of the edges it will harden into an impenetrable table pimple and your table will be forever ashamed of its complexion.
Step 12: Legs
So I ordered these online from hairpinlegsforless.com and for $96 including shipping, they arrived the following week. They would have been a little cheaper, but I ordered them a little longer than standard, as we are a tall household, and wanted to make the table fit better for the taller types.
Mounting them was very straight forward. They were well-made, consistent and properly measured, so I simply screwed them into the bracing at the corners. The table was level and solid, with all four legs even on the ground. I was personally pumped about this fact, as this was my first table and I kept having nightmarish visions of it ending up looking like a sad taco or something.
Step 13: TABLE!
The breakdown of the cost of the table its as follows:
lumber -- under $20
lovely hairpins legs from http://hairpinlegsforless.com/ -- $96 with shipping
Screws -- around $10
polyurethane -- around $10
Total cost = $136 + a hefty quantity of swear words
Not too shabby considering that's about $400 bucks under what the cheapest table I saw would have cost me.
The only things I would've changed about the experience would be the tools. A chop saw would have made a lot of the cuts easier and more accurate. Also... I can't emphasize this enough... if you are doing something that requires chisels, sell your car, trade your baseball cards, give away your cat, whatever you have to do, just get sharp chisels that hold their edge.
Thanks for reading! I welcome your feedback and suggestions.