I should first start out by saying that although this is somewhat of a "step-by-step" instructable, I'm not really going into complete detail on all the exact dimensions. Not because I'm lazy, but because I customized this table top to fit on an existing patio table frame that I currently have (at least for now....I will, one day, create legs out of the same reclaimed wood). So, if you are looking to create something like this for yourself, use whatever dimensions that work for you.
***I also decided to add a photo that captured my 10 ft bear sculpture in the background....maybe that will get me a few more votes at the end of the day*** :)
So now....on to the story.....
I've had an outdoor patio table with a tile top that I got years ago for cheap at the grocery store. It was nothing special, but I could at least change out the tiles when I got sick of the look, and wanted to change it up a bit. The existing tile table top did it's job, but I wanted to test my abilities on making my first table top made out of 100% reclaimed wood (well, 99%).
I picked up a truck bed full of pressure treated 2x4's, 2x6's, 2x8's, and 4x4's off Craigslist for free that use to be a deck. From the photos that were posted on the ad, the wood looked great. However, upon my arrival, I realized the lady just knew how to take good photos! The wood was in pretty bad shape (tons of nails, some not even salvageable, etc) but I'm a sucker, and still took it off the hands of the sweet old lady who was having her sisters coming in town that weekend.....which was the reason she needed them gone ASAP. She was so happy that I took the wood, she even snapped a photo of me by my truck with all the wood in the bed.
When I got back to the house, I picked out a wide variety of pieces, and started to square them up w/ the jointer and plane them down with the planer. To my surprise, after about an 1/8 of an inch taken off on each side, the wood was looking pretty good.
This part is pretty basic, but time consuming. Once all the planks were squared up, and planed down to 1 1/4 inch thickness, I started to glue them up and clamp them together. I didn't glue/clamp the entire table top all at once....only because I was kind of winging the design as I went, and I also knew I didn't have enough big clamps to successfully glue it all up at once. I glued the first pieces (which will end up being the middle) edge to edge, but then glued the rest of the pieces "end grain" up.
I also used some extra pieces of cedar I had hanging around from my old 40 year old arbor I took down in my back yard to give it a bit more contrast. Two of the pieces of cedar were cut with the nails still in them. I knew that from the get go, and although it's not the best thing for your blade, I thought it would give the table a cool touch, and make sure everyone knew it was reclaimed material.
For the edges, I used some old pine 4x4's I stored away after taking down a deck at a rental I own. After I cut the 4x4's down to 1 1/4 inch planks, I realized that the grain in these pieces were very unique looking....the grain was very tight, and something you rarely see these days at your normal home improvement store. The pine was also not pressure treated like the deck wood, so it sanded down much lighter than the rest of the table top.