Introduction: Scrap Table Take 2

Picture of Scrap Table Take 2

First off this was not my idea, I actually got it from another instructables found here :

Alhough very similar I have changed a few things (which I may, may not have regretted after). Either way, I beleive my instructables is diffrent than the first so with both in hand, you'll be able to build another kick ass table!

The other difference with the other instructables is that the first was built outdoors. I live in a small 5 room appartment downtown Montreal and don't have access to space outside. This whole project was done in the middle of my living room.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

Great thing about this instructables is that the materials were free! Mind you, you will have to invest but saving on wood reduced the budget by a few hundreds (I guess/hope).

N.b. To make this easier to read, from now on I'll use "table 1" as reference to the first instructables.

Materials :

- Wood
- Threaded rods
- Washers & nuts
- Glue (I beleive table 1 said 1 gallon of glue so I bought that... WAY TO MUCH, you'll need about 1 litre (1/4 gallon?)).
- Stain
- Varnish
- Wood putty

Tools : (I'm most likely going to forget to list some! I'll mention them as I go along)

- Table saw
- Cicular saw
- Planner
- Sander
- Drill
- Dremel rotary tool

Step 2: Gather the Materials

Picture of Gather the Materials

Obviously the first step was to find wood!

Finding free wood isn't as hard as you may think. First thing I did was to go on kijiji (or craisglist) and search for free wood.

I was very lucky when I found an add from a familly in the subburbs who had just torn down the patio deck and were giving away the wood. I droped by with my mazda and filled my car with as much wood as I could. Lucky for me I had just enough!!

The biggest advantage to this find was the consistency in the wood. all of the planks were the same type of wood and pretty much the same size (2"/6").

Tools I had but found out that I needed to buy new ones as you'll see later.

Step 3: Preparing the Wood

Picture of Preparing the Wood

The first thing I did here was to clean up the wood. It had been laying around in that pile for quite some time and there was plenty of dirt, spider webs and so on.

While cleaning I noticed a lot of old rusted nails. Again, take the time to remove them, I had a few reluctant ones which I cut down with my dremel (be carfefull with that since nails can kill power tools and probably hurt you pretty bad in the process).

Once clean, the next step was cutting down every board lenghwise. This makes your planks a more managable size and actually doubles your quantity of wood ! :D

Mistakes I made :

Being uber cheap that I am, I first tried cutting down the planks with my jigsaw... bad idea, burnt the motor and the cut was horrible.

Being a little less cheap, bought a circular saw, thinking this would be best for the size of my living room and would probably make a cleaner cut than the jigsaw. NOT....  the cut was actually worse, see the problem with the circular saw is that while it looks like it's going straight, it can go off in the wrong direction, once that happens, forget about bringing it back on course! My boards turned out worse than with the jigsaw....

Now at that point I was getting desperate.... all this wood and no way to cut it

Then I decided to get over my cheap ways and buy a bench saw. I got the cheapest one available which cost me about 120$ can. But that turned out to be worth it's weight in gold! I cut the whole lot in less than 1 hour when 1 cut with the jigsaw or circular took longer than that!!

N.b. This is is good spot to give you a bit of advice.... As I mentionned earlier, I live downtown and I have neighbors. A bench saw makes A LOT of noise... and it's not fun nois like a blues guitar we're talking about here...

So warn your neighbors that you'll be making noise. Some of my neighbors are noisy themselves so they know they can't bitch to much, others just didn't care. Lucky for me I had no noise complaint. I did do all of the noisy work around mid-day so that I would maximize the number of people that were at work.

Step 4: Putting It Togheter

Picture of Putting It Togheter

Ok, now you're starting to understand that I'm quite cheap so buying 100$ clamps was pretty much out of the question.

The beauty of this project is that you don't need clamps!!

You'll need to do a lot of measuring at this point. I'll refer you to the first picture with all the planks laying down face down. This part was fun because it's kind of like playing tetris, you chose which pieces fit best next to which other and try to make it look as much as a rectangle as possible.

N.B. !!!!! crucial step here compared to "table 1"

As you see in the picture below, the way I setup the legs is a bit different than table 1. While they included the legs in the table, I decided to keep two 2/6 boards of the same lenght intact and put them appart at an equal distance. I planned on attaching the legs to those beams.

Once the you're satisfied with the shape draw a line at each end where the table would end. Obviously try to make the lenght between the end of the support beams and the edge of the table about the same (I think I have 8 or 12 inches on each side).

Once everything fits togheter and your shape is done, find the center of the table and mark it. Basically what we're going to do is pass rods throughout the table in 3 different places. from the center hole, place 2 other marks at an equal distance from the center on each side.

I was lucky enough to have a 9 foot board in the original pile, the two halves from this board are going to make up the sides of the table, this will insure a seamless sidewall on each side.

Back to the holes. Once your 3 holes have been pierced from the first piece use it to drill the hole in the next set of boards. Once the new set has been drilled you can pass the threaded rods through the first piece.

Make sure to put a washer and nut on one end of the threaded rod so that it stays in place ;) I cut carved a circle in the side panels the size of the washer so that once done the bold doesn't stick out (see pictures in step 6.)

This is kind of like playing lego... just drill and assemble... After a while your table will take shape.

Back to what I said at the begining regarding clamps :

The beauty of this concept is that the rods and nuts will work as clamps for you!!

Once the table is put togheter, take it appart again! yes take it appart!

The reason why I say this is that the next step is to glue the boards togheter. start the process again but this time put glue on each piece before sliding it down the rods. You can do this by putting glue in a small container and using a paint brush, a little goes a long way here... don't abuse glue here, it will do it's job.

once you've got your glued table back togheter it's time to take out a wrench or ratchet (oh god I wish I had a ratchet for this step...)

simply thighten the bolts as hard as you can to squeeze all the boards togheter. Let it dry.

Step 5: Installing the Legs

Picture of Installing the Legs

Well the legs were made from new wood... I felt bad about using new wood for this step but had few choices. Once the table was glued and dried I realised that I missed a step from table 1 and did not build the legs in the table itself so I had to improvise (and unfortunately had no more patio wood).

So I got a few planks of cedar, use a bit of trigonometry (yes kids, it is usefull in real life!) and drew some shapes to be cut.  the idea was simple, 2 planks per leg. Each plank bolted on each side of the support beams. The resulting 4 planks (2 per leg) on each side of the table will be linked togheter by another threaded rod with washers and nuts.

The process is fairly simple but takes time. I had one of my friends come over to help me on this part.

Step 6: Finishing the Top

Picture of Finishing the Top

Thank god the table was stable when we turned it around!! Don't wanna be the guy who has to move this down the 3 flights of stairs when I move out though because this table weights a ton!!

Ok, on this step it's basically cleanup. With the circular saw cut down the unven pieces at the ends of the table. Turns out the blade wasn't deep enough to cut though some of the beams so we finished it by hand.

The other thing to do here is to cut down the rods to size with a dremel tool. Use the dremel to file down the sharp edges of the rod as well.

Step 7: Planning & Sanding

Picture of Planning & Sanding

With a portable planner, grind down as much as you can and try to make the surface as smooth as possible, this creates a mess. You can reduce the mess by using my "Dexter style project tent" as described in the following instrucables :

Once satisfied with the surface, use wood filler to patch every hole or empty space you can find. Let it dry and sand it down.

Once you're satisfied with your surface it's time to sand it!

N.b. Always wear a mask and glasses when working with power tools...

I sanded many times, starting with 20 grit then 60, 80 and 400. The final product is a smooooth table surface. it just takes a LONG time to get there.

Step 8: Stain & Varnish

Picture of Stain & Varnish

Staining is an art ( I learned that myself... had to sand down my surface again after I messed up the first time I stained)

The best way I found is fairly simple (mind you, please google this, there's plenty of tutorials on staining wood). Baiscally take a brush in your right hand (if righty) and a clean rag (which will be thrown away after) in your left hand.

Apply stain with a brush, after when ready to dip your brush again, use your rag to wipe down the stained wood following the grain of the wood. This makes for a great finish!

If you're not satisfied with the color, apply a second coat to make it darker ( I used 2 coats on mine).

Once done it's time to varnish. Varnishing is also fairly simple. just brush in on with a clean brush but don't wipe... do the whole surface and let dry. Once dry sand it down with a very fine grit sandpaper (I used 600 grit). Wash the surface of dust and apply another coat.

I decided to go with a high gloss finish so I applied quite a few coats of varnish (5 in total). sand down between every coat, the final coat can be brushed down with 0000 grade steel wool.

Voilà, une belle table neuve!


mtieleman (author)2016-06-20

That's a very nice looking table! I might make something like that for my brother one of these days (if he and his girl don't already have some table stuffed somewhere). About your circular saw not making straight cuts, have you thought about making a guide rail? can be made pretty inexpensive. I've made one for my saw for my own reclaimed pallet table from 2 pieces of plywood and it has worked wonders for me. A thick one for the spine/structural support to rest the saw against, and a thinner one to rest the saw (and spine) on that you align with the cut you want to make.

d3ath101 (author)2014-09-11

Very nice. Starting a table project like this soon. But without the stain.

Slice Of Life (author)2013-08-10

Can you tell me what specific stain you used on the wood?!!!

RisetteJa (author)2013-04-09

That's just stunning! Really beautiful! :)
J'envie ton savoir des outils pour le bois, une matière si magnifique!
Voilà, c'es tout. :)

jashaw2 (author)2011-10-19

You can also get a speed square to use w/ a skilsaw for straight cuts.

thelawyer (author)2010-06-14

Lovely table! I find the best way of applying stain for a blotch-free finish is to apply it with a clean cotton cloth (an old t-shirt/rag is ideal), bunched up into a pad. Putting only a small amount of stain on the cloth at a time, 'buff' it into the wood in line with the grain. The cotton absorbs some of the stain, releasing it evenly on to the surface. It works well.

GreyBird (author)thelawyer2011-08-16

In South Africa we have a Gel Stain, like the name says, it's a gel and not a runny liquid. No mistakes if you apply it with a sponge, but be sure to have allot of sponges as the gel stain eats up the sponge!

Thanks for the advice on using normal stain!

jello666 (author)thelawyer2010-06-16

That's the way I do it.

grd (author)2011-07-07

I recently bought a cheap hand held metal detector wand (the kind security guards use to check for weapons etc.) from a Chinese web site. It is wonderful for detecting almost invisible screws, nails, staples etc. in reclaimed pieces of wood. Get one; your tools will thank you for it!

tmjones (author)2010-06-14

what type of wood?

cingham (author)tmjones2011-01-08

the kind that comes from trees...

marjorieallea (author)2010-06-17

Beautiful table...

schmiez (author)2010-06-14

The 100 grit doesnt seem high enough to get a smooth finish (but the photos prove otherwise). Is that a function of the wood you used? I'm finishing a similar one, but have found I need 150 to get down to the point that the table wont "catch" on books, papers, beer bottles, etc...

logikly (author)schmiez2010-06-14

You're right... that's an error in what I wrote (I'll correct it) I actually used 400 grit and then 600 grit for the varnish

maxman (author)2010-06-14

Thanks for posting this. It is truely an inspiration.

jwilliamsen (author)2010-06-13

A helpful technique when you are trying to plane and sand a surface flat: take a pencil and draw a wavy line back and forth across the whole surface - a long "squiggle" down the table. This will allow you to see the low spots as you plane and sand (the pencil marks will be left behind in the "low" spots). It's also very helpful when doing your rough shaping to go at 45 degrees across the planks, then alternate to the opposite side of the table and go the along the opposite 45 degrees - so you go 45 degrees one way, then 45 degrees the opposite way from the other side of the table. Doing this will help make sure you're working the table top evenly. Also, try to work evenly across the whole top at the same time - don't focus on one area. When you get the table top flat, start sanding with the grain. Use aluminum oxide papers for all your major smoothing, and finish with Garnet paper. Garnet paper is the best for final smoothing.

woodNfish (author)jwilliamsen2010-06-14

Actually the best way to stain soft wood is to first seal the wood with clear varnish and then stain it. This solves the problem with blotching.

logikly (author)jwilliamsen2010-06-14

That's an awesome technique... I wish I had known it prior to staining and varnishing my table! Thank you for sharing

lafnbear (author)2010-06-07

c'est magnifique! but... what if you move? :-)

logikly (author)lafnbear2010-06-07

We'll find a bridge when we have to cross the river ;)

Microbe (author)logikly2010-06-13

I think it you look, you may find an instructable on how to build a bridge :o)

machprod (author)Microbe2010-06-14

You could just float across on it. nice work!

logikly (author)Microbe2010-06-14

hahahahaha... most likely ;)

eduplessis (author)logikly2010-06-13

Tres belle table... Je veux m'en faire une moi aussi... car j'avais vu le premier "instructables", ce qui m'avais vraiment intéressé... et avec le tien, et bien ca me donne un petit coup de pied au culs... :) Et je crois que je vais m'acheter aussi une table a découper.... question: a tu utiliser un planneur pour mettre tes planche sur le meme niveaux ou tu a juste sablé...

logikly (author)eduplessis2010-06-14

Ca va définitivement te prendre une planeuse... ca serait beaucoup trop long avec une sableuse seulement... Va lire le commentaire de jwilliamsen du 13 juin, c'est très intéressant et j'aurais aimé connaitre ce truc avant.

geppetto425 (author)2010-06-13

Next time, before attaching the legs, take the table top to a local cabinet shop. They can run it through their planner and then thickness sander. Should only take them a half hour and cost you about $30. (The bottom has to be flat though.)

Fiction (author)geppetto4252010-06-14

Possibly, though I doubt any cabinet shop is going to allow a huge mess of unknown pieces of reclaimed lumber be put through their $10,000+ planer.

vingtdeux (author)2010-06-13

wow i really love your table!!! and a very long one too! knowing how montreal's appartments could have real tiny dining room, good luck with your next one! :-) only thing is, i find that for a table taht size, you somehow lose space to sit people, because of the position and shape of the legs. could you sit 8 or 10?

logikly (author)vingtdeux2010-06-14

8 people can sit comfortably on it. You can sit 10 but it's a bit more crowded

kaynegabe (author)2010-06-13

How long does it take to make this project?

logikly (author)kaynegabe2010-06-14

I didn't count the exact time but I'd say about 100 hours of work overall

geppetto425 (author)2010-06-13

Oops, planner should be spelled planer...

jwilliamsen (author)2010-06-13

Soft woods (pine, fir, cedar, redwood, etc) and even some hardwoods like Cherry can be very difficult to stain without "blotching". Some other ideas (beyond what you mentioned) to help achieve a consistent blotch-free finish would be to use a gel stain, or, a "stain control" product which is essentially a very thin finish coat that you apply to your project to seal the pores of the wood before staining. You can make your own "stain control" product by mixing your final finish about 1:3 finish to solvent, applying a light coat to your project, and letting it cure. When you apply your stain it will be much easier to control the consistency and depth of color. Be sure to test your proposed finish techniques on scrap pieces first so you can make sure you like the results and avoid those nasty surprises :)

jwilliamsen (author)2010-06-13

Good tools are never a bad investment - you can always sell them when you're done using them and recoup some of your money. Quality tools will sell for much more of their original price than a cheap tool will, and the time and effort saved combined with better quality is usually well worth it. The old saying goes: Buy Nice, or Buy Twice :)

jwilliamsen (author)2010-06-13

I very rarely used Yellow glues any more. A better type of glue to use is Polyurethane Glue. Be aware that some polyurethane formulations are crap - I've had some cure the consistency of styrofoam (very bad). The most consistent quality I've found is with "Gorilla Glue" - it's a bit more expensive, but worth it. You will use about 1/3 as much polyurethane glue as you will yellow glues because polyurethane glues expand as they cure ( you need to dampen your surfaces - polyurethane glues need water to cure). Polyurethane glues also take stain, unlike yellow glues. Aliphatic Resin glues (yellow glues) never really cure - they remain a liquid (like asphalt and glass) and your joints will creep over time. Yellow glues also tend to gum up sandpaper and dull tools - which poly glues do not. BTW - the first table I ever built was done on the living room floor of my apartment as well :)

Eric Hart (author)2010-06-13

You want to be careful when using lumber salvaged from outdoor decks and patios; often, they are built with pressure-treated lumber, which used to contain arsenic. The arsenic can be released when you are cutting and sanding the wood, so be sure to use the proper kind of respirator. The arsenic can leach into your skin through direct contact, but it poisons much more efficiently through ingestion, which can happen if you eat food off of a table made from pressure-treated lumber. I don't know how much protection you get by coating the top with varnish, but I would certainly do some research before assuming it is safe.

gjm (author)2010-06-13

I must say; this turned out better than I expected it to when I first started reading this instructable. It's quite inspiring. Excellent job.

ax89 (author)2010-06-13

My first though: Very nice! My second though: omg, that must be HEAVY!!! Good work though, especially doing it all in your apartment!! Hope you didn't get into trouble for all the noise you made in the process. :)

Crispie J (author)2010-06-13

It's fantastic. I recently moved into a small apartment in Halifax (fellow Canuck) and was wondering if I would ever be able to work on this kind of project without a garage or basement (not that I completed any when I had those things LOL). You showed that it could be done. Come to think of it my dad built a small sailboat in the living room when I was growing up - I remember crawling under it to get to the couch. It must have driven my mother to the edge of barking lunacy. Thanks also for the tip about Kijiji and Craigslist - you can also try Freecycle.

lofgren (author)2010-06-08

Nice one, well done!

mscharf (author)2010-06-08

Awsome! like the look and feel of it been wanting to replicate that look for an outdoor table, beautiful job.

Peter.Steele (author)2010-06-08

Wish you'd posted this a few weeks ago ... I need a new desk, and I pretty much re-invented the wheel, coming up with the same idea for using threaded rod instead of clamps. :) Since you mentioned that the threaded rod ends are a bit of an eyesore, the only thing I might suggest doing differently - this is the plan with my desk, when I get around to building it - is to countersink the holes for the threaded rods in a ways on the outside boards, so that your nuts / washers are completely hidden on the inside. Use a standard size spade drill for this, so that when you've got everything glued up and tightened down, you can cut off a short length of dowel and slip it into the countersink, to cover the nut and the end of the rod.

Culturedropout (author)2010-06-08

Nice work. I can't believe you did this all inside an apartment! I have a shop and I still have trouble not making a huge mess and trashing the place. I wonder if the glue is really necessary, or if you could just stop with the rods? That way you could take it apart and replace pieces if one got gouged or stained, and you could take it apart for transport/storage. Nicely done instructable! P.S. - Could you slide some pieces of salvaged garden hose over the bottom rods to make them look better and protect your shoes? Or maybe drill holes through a bunch of small blocks of wood and thread them over the rods just like you did for the top?

jkm (author)2010-06-07

Great table, you can feel the weight just watching it. After really drying, I imagine the rods through the tabletop are no longer needed. If you get annoyed at scuffing your shoes on the threaded rod, get some plain rod, and cut thread just on the last ?15 cm. Fairly easy to do. The main advantage of your choice not to glue in the legs, is that the table can come apart for moving house. Second thought, do you really need the bottom rod to connect the legs, why don't you take it out, and see/test how stable the table is? You might be surprised.

logikly (author)jkm2010-06-08

Right now the rods are not realy in the way, they're more of an eye sore than anything. But you're right I may try to take out the leg ones at some point. As for the ones goin through the table they'll probably be stuck in glue so removing them will most likely just damage something. I do plan eventually on capping the holes on the side, I just haven't thought of what to use! Thank you for your comment thought, it's much appreciated!

jkm (author)logikly2010-06-08

for filling the holes you could save some "sanding dust" (don't know what to calll it in english), mix with a minimal amount of PVA ( old style, water soluble white wood glue) and you have some instant putty, in the same colour as your wood, which should also take the stain in almost the same way as the surrounding wood. But you finished sanding a long time ago of course. And the putty should;'t touch the rod/nut directly, because it'll work loose. Put in 1 or 2 layers of thin plastic.

SinAmos (author)2010-06-08

Reuse Is An Abuse I Can Agree With.

madmada (author)2010-06-07

Great job on the table! Last weekend i got an old wood pallet that was laying around work, stripped it down and turned it into a planter box!

MrL33TPenguin (author)madmada2010-06-07

You should do an instructable on that! :D

Demon_Darkchild (author)2010-06-07

that is one of the most beautiful tables that i have ever seen. It looks elegant and rustic all at once, sturdy too. Congrats on a job well done!

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