Introduction: Turn a Broken Gate Into a Rustic Outdoor Table

About: By day a senior software engineer. By night an inventor who has not yet managed to give up his day job.
The gates at the side of our house succumbed to a big wind storm recently. The cause was ground rot on the posts, but that meant that most of the wood was still in pretty good condition despite being over thirty years old. Instead of throwing it out my wife suggested recycling it to make an outdoor table.

Step 1: Gathering the Materials

The materials required for a table were conveniently the same as the materials avaiable from the broken gates, namely

4x4 posts approx 6ft long (4)
4x2 rails approx 3ft (2)
Palings (enough to cover a 6ft x 3ft surface)
Hinges (4)

Tip: because of the age of the wood I found it easier to saw the palings off the frame before de-nailing, to prevent splitting them.

Step 2: Constructing the Frame

First I cut all the timber to length

Legs: 30 inches
Rails: 72 inches (6ft)
Cross members: 34 inches

The top was laid out on the floor of the garage and screwed together using 4" long screws (also salvaged from the gates). Next the legs were attached with 4" screws and then right angle nail plates were added for re-enforcing.

Finally the hinges were added, mostly for decorative reasons, but also to stiffen the corners.

Step 3: Finishing the Table Top

While the frame is not overly heavy I found it most convenient to do the final assembly in-situ.

The palings were first nailed to the frame. I started pre-drilling the palings but after I grew confident that they were not going to split I omitted that step.

The table top was then cut to width leaving about a 1" overhang all around the frame. I made the cuts with a hand saw as I suspect a circular saw would be too harsh.