Turn a Broken Gate Into a Rustic Outdoor Table




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.

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    Circular saw should be fine. As long as you install fine-cutting blade, and adjust the depth to board thickness.


    12 years ago on Step 3

     I was checking out Instructables looking for ideas to create a rustic kitchen worktable. Thanks for your post. I liked your approach with the hinges on the edges and using the rough 4x4 posts. You may have completed my search for a design :-) The variations of color on the table top are really pretty.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    The colour variations are the result of our watering system. Where the water reached the fence the palings were bleached white. By mixing up the palings from various parts of the fence and playing with the orientations I was able to get this very pleasing effect.


    THIS makes me really happy.

    due to the snowpocalypse there is a ridiculous amount of used broken and forgotten wood laying in dumpsters around here ( tear ) 
    i see it all the time and took some the other day,  ill be going back for more after looking at this.


    13 years ago on Step 2

    Did you prime or otherwise seal the cut portions of the wood to prevent future rot from occurring?


    Reply 13 years ago on Step 2

    Colorado is a pretty dry climate and I have no concerns with future rot so I didn't bother with sealing or treating the timber. If you are building in a wetter climate then sealing might be necessary, but even untreated it would still take a significant period of time for rot to become an issue.

    The only reason the posts rotted is because they were constantly exposed to water where they met the concrete footer. Whoever built the fence neglected to slope the concrete away from the base of the post.


    Reply 13 years ago on Step 2

    Well you did a good job repurposing your gate.  Enjoy it!