Table Made From a 1940s Airplane Wheel




Introduction: Table Made From a 1940s Airplane Wheel

Hello again. I just finished a table for my garage that is made from a 1940s T-6 "Texan" main wheel. The T-6 was a World War 2 training aircraft.  This project was a hoot! Everyone who I met while doing this was a real help.

The wheel is mounded on the base from a desk chair and is supported by a piece of heavy duty automotive exhaust pipe. A glass tabletop finishes it off. 

I decided to use the base from a desk chair for this project because I knew the finished table was going to be very heavy, and I wanted to be able to move it easily.

Step 1: The Wheel

The rim of the wheel is from an airplane parts dealer. It was slightly damaged on the back, so I got it for a good price. It is seen here being test fitted on a chair base.


Step 2: The Tire

Finding a tire was another story. I didn’t want to spend the money for a new tire, so I searched for a used one. It turns out that the rim I purchased takes an unusual (in this day and age) sized tire. So finding one was much harder than I thought. But, I eventually found a really nice owner of this type of plane who offered me an old tire for free if I would drive the hundred miles to pick it up!

Step 3: Mounted

The parts were cleaned, and an inner tube was purchased from an agricultural supply store. The staff there was great, they unwrapped several inner tubes and matched them against the tire until they found one that everyone agreed was the right size.

I then took the tube, tire, and rim to get them mounted. There was a lively discussion of the amount of air pressure that was needed. It was decided to add just enough air until the tire bead was firmly seated on the rim. I later released excess air until only the amount required to support beer and nachos was left in the tire.

Step 4: Fake Brake

After the wheel was assembled and washed again, I thought that it just didn’t look right. Then I realized that on an airplane there would be a brake assembly that would keep you from seeing through the back of the wheel. So a corrugated plastic sign was cut to keep any light from entering through the back of the rim.

Step 5: The Base

An old desk chair was disassembled to be used for the table stand. The chair base has a nice steel insert that worked well for holding the table upright.

Step 6: The Shaft

A piece of heavy duty automotive exhaust pipe was used as the vertical support for the table. It was painted silver, and since it was very slightly oversized, an expanding - very strong- glue was used to secure it to the base. The masking tape was used to keep the glue from getting on the chair base.

Step 7: The Shim

The rim was originally designed to be mounted on a tapered axle. Eight oak shims were cut to fill the gap between the straight automotive exhaust tube and the tapered rim. Friction from these shims being hammered in is all that secures the wheel to the tube. That way if I ever decide to display the wheel in a different manner, I will not have damaged it.

Step 8: Fake Brake Part 2

The corrugated plastic light shield, painted flat black, was held in place on the bottom of the rim with a little hot glue.

Step 9: Bumpers

Eight clear rubber bumpers were evenly spaced on the highest part of the top of the rim to keep it from scratching the glass table top.

Step 10: TA-DA!

The glass table top was purchased at a local craft store… and the tire table was ready for the first test beer. CHEERS!

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    Also, what is that wing section from (Also a Harvard?) I seem to remember the end overlapping the main wing sheets but I am not sure about that bit. A cool piece to have. Did you paint or stick that star on the wing or was it there already? I can see that the original markings would have been placed there on the American ones even though I haven't seen any other aircraft with the markings placed so far out on the wing. Another thing I just have to ask is about the part of aileron attatched to this wing piece; is it covered in fabric or Aluminium? On our Harvards the control surfaces are fabric-covered while the trim-tabs are still covered with Al sheets. Some aircraft such as numerous C-47s have had their control surfaces which used to be covered in fabric converted to aluminium skin. Not sure If this was ever done to T6s.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hello, The wing in the photo is actually a horizontal stabilizer from a Sikorsky Sea King helicopter. It is aluminum covered and the insignia is original. I bought it at a farm auction near hear. Thanks for looking at this project!

    By the way, there is a wingtip from A T-6 hanging in the garage. It can be seen in my ceiling fan instructable. At some point a second navigation light was added to it. This was actually a gift from the gentleman who sold me the propeller.

    Strange rim, is it the rim or the tyre (or both) from a T6 Texan (or "Harvard" as they are referred to here and within the British Empire)? I have never seen or heard of one of these aircraft with a rim like this, every one I have ever seen has had a flat circular aluminium plate with four large flat screws to hold it in place over the inner hub. (That's probably why yours appears to have 4 unusual protruding points on it.) I don't know why the wheels would have a plate over the nice rim shown here, this certainly doesn't look ugly. Nice piece!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hello, The rim and tire are both from a T-6. Normally there is a flat hubcap that covers the rim. The wheels on a Texan or Harvard are exposed, even when retracted, and the hubcap reduces the wind resistance. I also think the wheel looks better without it.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    All I used was automotive tire cleaner and a plastic bristled brush. I was very surprised by the difference in the appearance of the rim after cleaning it.