Instructables
Picture of Scrap Table
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There's a lot of wood out in the world free for the taking -- in dumpsters, back alleys, vacant lots, abandoned buildings, recycling yards, and architectural salvage centers.  Most wood, if free from rot, is just as strong, durable, and good to use as new wood, once you sand off the weathering. This table was made from all salvaged wood -- both dimensional lumber and plywood, mostly taken from decaying buildings in and around Hale County, Alabama.  It was commissioned by the good folks at PieLab (www.pielab.org), an initiative of Project M (www.projectmlab.com).  PieLab is a pie shop, design center, teaching resource, and business incubator in Greensboro, Alabama.

There are many methods for laminating wood -- this project focuses on a down-and-dirty method for those of us who do not own a lot of pipe clamps and other heavy duty hardware for wrestling with wild wood.  It is about ten feet long by thirty inches wide, sitting about thirty inches off the ground.  If you can salvage the wood, the other materials aren't too expensive: five threaded rods, about four bucks each; nuts, washers, and screws; a gallon or so of wood glue; sandpaper; and polyurethane.  All told, it was less than one hundred dollars.

As far as tools, you'll need a table saw, a circular saw, a power drill/impact driver, hand plane, mallet, some drill bits, and a belt sander.

This isn't the quickest project in the world, but with a little help from my friends, it only took a few weekends.

While I did the design, I am indebted to the following individuals who did most of the labor:

Ryan LeCluyse  (thanks also for many of the photos throughout, includ. the first three)
Dan Gavin
Breanne Kostyk
Megan Deal
Nick Wickersham
Rosie Dixon
Nick Kirkpatrick



 
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wagler4 years ago
So here's my version - an 8 ft dining room table. Production photos can be found here: http://story-problems.blogspot.com/2010/04/i-made-table.html

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zoomies4 years ago
Here's my coffee table version. Not quite done applying polyurethane. Thanks for the idea.
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Andreas23074 years ago
I loved your instructable so much I made a coffee table! Not finished yet. Used all the scrap wood I could find! South Africa is scant with wood.

Thanks Again!
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myrrh00914 days ago

I was inspired to make this from wholman in furniture on
instructables.com. The top portion is from two pallets (heat treated of
course for safety not the chemical treated) and the legs are from some
30 year old scrap pine 1x10's I ripped down to the width of the pallet
slats used on top. I What I did different was I used the first
trellis and leg portion as a jig to drill holes in each board
individually for the threaded rod and they lined up perfectly! I did
not pinch the end of the legs together because they are only 17" high
and thought they might break if I did that. I instead doubled them up
for proper thickness and strength. I used a belt sander to then
flush everything out on the top and two sides opposite of the threaded
rods and left the bottom unfinished and irregular on purpose. This table
is overbuilt and super strong! I used "Fixall" multipurpose filler
in the gaps. I used only boiled linseed oil and then a product with
bee's wax and linseed oil for the final finish and it turned out quite
nice! Other than that, I followed the same process in making this as
wholman did making his "scrap table" .

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wholman (author)  myrrh00910 days ago

Great job! Looks like it'll last for generations.

domenic311 days ago

Very nice piece !!!

zieak4 years ago
Thanks for the inspiration... I just finished my version: http://www.zieak.com/2009/12/14/table-made-from-scrap-lumber/
David_M_I zieak2 years ago
I just read this post and was thinking about using the same table legs! I know it has been a couple of years but how stable was the table over time? thx D
zieak David_M_I2 years ago
It is still holding up! I am careful moving it around though - the table top is so heavy that they could tweak pretty easily otherwise.

Just a thought, not trying to tell you what/how to do anything....

What about doubling the thickness of the legs?

Or maybe even 4x4's for legs?

6x6 would be over kill, but the weight they could hold....

Again, just another one of my hairbrained thoughts.... :)

agilbull1 year ago
Great Idea just made a bench like that. I used wood screws instead of threaded shaft and metal for the legs.

here are some pics I did
https://picasaweb.google.com/107531409320764434488/LampesBanc?authkey=Gv1sRgCMDXxp-7kK2bwQE#

thanks again

DUDE!!!

WHERE DID YOU GET THAT PARABOLIC LAMP!! :D

I would kill to have a lamp like that! Not literally "KILL", but....that lamp is so cool!!!

BTW, The table is ice too. :P

MLM2471 month ago
Scrap but with style and not just pallets. Well done. Hope to share some of my scrap butcher blocks soon. Mike, Austin
I love recycling, your creation is perfection!
Thanks for sharing :)
smledgerwood2 months ago
Gorgeous. Love the end grain variation.
doodlecraft2 months ago

Awesome, totally incredible! :)

tahaercan3 months ago

Thank you for your sharing.

Lindie4 months ago

That table is beautiful!!!

g0dswilll6 months ago

Here's my big'un. 8' x 4.5'... Decided to go against the threaded rod at the bottom. My "wings" are heavy enough to cause the legs to pinch inward, so I only needed a brace to keep the legs from pinching in. That brace sits "out of view" much higher between the legs. Seats 12 comfortably, 2 on each end and 4 on each side. Thanks again for the great instructable!

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wholman (author)  g0dswilll6 months ago
Wow. That came out gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for doing this... I made a coffee table version without the metal rods or trestles. Here are some pics. More detail can be found in the gallery: http://imgur.com/a/n3qdm
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rudagar811 year ago
Thanks again @wholman for your clever and unique design. This is my second attempt (see previous comments). This time its a small dining table for my small apartment.
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pikeucf1 year ago
I've been eyeing this project for a while now and finally dove into it. I love the idea and the simplicity of it by using reclaimed wood. I found some free pallets on craigslist and hauled them back to the garage. The first step in my attempt was the most time consuming... pulling out hundreds upon hundreds of nails! After disassembling all the pallets and removing all the nails, I had an awesome selection of several different kinds of wood; Cedar, Pine, Red Oak and Yellow Poplar. Like most of the folks that have attempted this project, I too, had a little problem with the table warping a little. I think it has to do with the size of the long bolts that thread the table, lining up the drill holes, and also how tight you crank down the bolts. Since mine table was only 5ft long, I was able to loosen the bolts a little and bend into shape a little. It’s not perfect but definitely better than what it looked like after I removed the “tie-down-straps”. Also, I wanted to leave the natural look of the wood and not add any slacker or poly, just natural butcher block oil. I point this out because I also copied your idea of using the white wall spackle and though it turned out nice, I don't think the spackle and the oil work well together, (just FYI for anyone that heads down the same path). All in all, the table turned out great and now resides in our kitchen ripe and ready for some pancakes & syrup, Newspaper, and coffee! Thank you for posting this instruc"table"!! All photos I took on this project can be found here...> https://plus.google.com/photos/102074343661266122615/albums/5839252574828603905?authkey=CPrpoJmQnIOHlAE
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rudagar811 year ago
Hey here's my effort.

It's just coffee table sized but followed the original as much as possible. I managed to salvage a lot of eucalypt hardwoods, and other bits and pieces of colourful timbres (you'd be suprised what's out there for free when you try). Tried to keep the top pieces in single pieces.

Hints/regrets/mistakes****

- Allow plenty of distance from the table top when drilling booker-rod holes.
- Bore out the holes to allow for a bit of give some when it comes to straightening you're not restricted by the booker-rod
- prepare the timber strips as well as possible before attemping to glue (man I wish I had a thickness before I started!!!)
- get a socket set!! I didn't until the very end!!!

Good luck!!
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hack8181 year ago
This my frist attempt to make a large table all out of scrap.
Still have a lot of sanding and sealing to do.
Alway seen other makers show there work
Thanks
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elanaro151 year ago
Great result, well done.
jp.chenel2 years ago
Merci instructables!!!
Voilà ma table
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wholman (author)  jp.chenel2 years ago
Looks beautiful, great job on it!
guerroloco2 years ago
A few comments on your lamination process....

In addition to the threaded rods, ratchet straps make good substitutes for bar or pipe clamps. Use an extra block of scrap wood under each end of the straps (or clamps) so they don't dig into your wood edges.

I found that drilling holes for the threaded rods is not so much of a nightmare if you dry-assemble your tabletop first, then draw lines across with a straightedge where you want to bury the rods. (This may not work so well if you're using boards of random width, though.) Then just use a speed square to drop down 1 /12" or so, mark and drill your holes there. Use a drill bit that's larger than your rod, so if you miss the exact alignment, the rods will still go though, maybe with some encouragement from a mallet.

Finally a word of caution. I don't know if you placed your "stack" of boards vertically to dry (as one of the photos shows), but I did so on my own table project, and the resulting surface was warped a bit. Just clamping isn't enough to ensure a flat final surface, I think. Probably I should have clamped the stack, then laid it flat (face down) on a flat surface, and weighted it.
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slylee2 years ago
awesome ible. great design.
guerroloco2 years ago
Excellent instructable! I'm excited to finally be doing this project on my own.

I'm making a coffee table out of oak salvaged from a barn, redwood salvaged from a deck, and fir from some old studs in our house where we're doing a remodeling project.

I have heard (from a contractor friend) that fir was widely used for home construction several decades ago, so if you're doing any kind of demolition (i.e. for remodeling), you might look to that as a source of salvage wood for this type of project. I also heard that fir turns a beautiful red color when applied w/ polyurethane -- no stain needed.
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I had been thinking about building something like this for a while now. I was relieved to find this and see that it is exactly what I was thinking of doing. Great table.
Thanks for the great design and thorough instruction! We just finished our version (3x5) and are very pleased. For other viewers' reference, we adjusted the angle of the legs a bit to make ours work aesthetically, and we found that we didn't need threaded rod through the legs (just used bolts).

Lumber all from a scrap pile at Longleaf Lumber, for those of you in Boston.
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Asbestos2 years ago
I've read this line a dozen times: "What you want is the feet to be in line with the end of the table top." And it still makes no sense to me.

What does it mean? Looking at the top photos, the bottoms of the legs are nowhere near in line with the ends of the table.

How did you decide the angle of the legs?
wholman (author)  Asbestos2 years ago
If you drop a plumb line from the edge of the table top to the ground, the bottom of the leg would meet it.
Here's a diagram describing my confusion. The sentence I'm trying to understand is in step 1, paragraph 4, where we're working out the angle the legs should make with the trestles.
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wholman (author)  Asbestos2 years ago
I gotcha, my bad, Asbestos. I have to be honest, I'm not sure where that line came from, I wrote this three years ago. I'm sure it made sense back then . . .

I mean, in the scheme of things, as you design your own table, it doesn't matter that much what the angle is. The visual rake is nice, it gives the table a certain aerodynamic quality, and structurally, it forces the legs into a pre-stressed position. By that, I mean a vertical leg can buckle in multiple directions; by angling the leg, it will only fail in one direction, which we've prevented by locking the leg into the table top with the threaded rod and surrounding it with laminations.

So, I'm really sorry for the confusion, it's been a long time since I built the thing, and I can't quite sort out what I meant. I would just go with your gut instinct of what looks good! Good luck --
Ah, great, no problem at all. I was planning on just eyeballing it, but since that instruction seemed so specific, it seemed as if it must refer to something important, and I wanted to be sure I understood it. Instead, I will just ignore it and continue as I was doing. Thanks! :)
But it wouldn't. At least, not in the images at the top. A plumb dropped from the end of the table would hit at least 18-24 inches beyond the table legs. Even the end of the main trellis is at least 6" beyond the ends of the legs.
jhennig2 years ago
inspired me to build this:
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