Intro: 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!