747 Fuselage Meeting Table




Almost a year in the making, we finally have a finished unique meeting table!

We moved office just over a year ago as we needed more space, after a lot of looking round we found a lovely little converted barn that was perfect for us and actually had a bit more space than we were looking for which was a great bonus!

It didn't take long to decide that the larger of the rooms in the building would be great as a meeting/demo room, then the discussions started about what sort of meeting table we should get. We all decided that it needed to:

- Fit in with the rustic character of the barn (wood floor, exposed beams etc)

- Not be a 'cheap' store bought table and chairs that dont last very long and are already in 90% of other offices

- A 'nice to have' was to support local businesses and even try to 'recycle' or 'upcycle' something if possible.

After an off the cuff comment about using an aeroplane wing the seed of an idea was planted and a few sketches and a number of phone calls later we settled on the idea of using a section of aircraft fuselage and a custom wooden frame for it to sit on, topped off with a nice single slab of toughened glass.

We quickly knocked this up in sketchup and started the process of working out what we could do ourselves and what we would get other people to do as we had started to get quite busy and knew we wouldn't have tie to try to do everything ourselves (we don't have the skill set in house).

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Step 1: The Fuselage

Step One.

Source the fuselage. A few phone calls (mostly unproductive and fobbed off) to a number of 'breakers' yards in the UK we managed to find one who was helpful and even offered to polish up the section we wanted (to save us the job of finding a workshop to do it in ourselves).

As our meeting area isn't the largest we settled on a 2m x 1m section which worked out to be 4 windows, our particular section has come from an ex Cathay Pacific Boeing 747 which had been in service since July 1992.

Step 2: The Frame

Step Two.

The frame. It turned out that our local FedEx driver also enjoyed a passion for woodworking in his spare time and was really interested in our 'project'. After a number of discussions and using our dimensions/sketchup drawings he was able to create the frame we wanted out of some old farm gateposts that he had collected and stored for a couple of years.

After a general clean up he was able to age the wood to make sure that it all looks similarly distressed.

Step 3: Frosty Windows

Step three.

Frosting the windows. We were considering leaving the windows clear so that you could see the structure of the fuselage through them but in the end we decided against it for a number of reasons and continued to give them a frosty look.

There were a couple of options available to us, there a number of articles on how to 'frost' your own windows including taking some sand paper to them, media blasting them or just simply applying an easily available frosted film to them. As we only had our 4 windows we decided to go for the film option as this would be easy to revert if it looked wrong or we made a mistake.

1. Remove the windows from the fuselage, simple task of just unscrewing the 10 retaining clips for each window and gently pushing it out from the hole.

2. Clean the underside of the window, we did this with window cleaning wipes first as there is a small hole at the bottom of the window which we didn't want any spray to end up going in as it would then end up between the layers of the window.

3. Cut the piece of film to the rough size required for the window, this will make it more manageable than trying to manhandle the full sheet/roll whilst applying it to the window.

4. Make sure the window is completely dry and start to apply the film, slowly. We peeled off about 2 inches of the backing and used a soft cloth to make sure the bubbles were all removed when it was first applied. Then working slowly from side to side with the cloth you can start peeling away the backing and working your way up the window till the film is fully applied without any bubbles. We did consider using the method of applying soapy water to the window before putting the film on (like you do when applying vinyl graphics or window tinting film) but again we didn't want any liquid getting in that small hole and then between the window layers.

5. Using a sharp scalpel or craft knife we then worked around the outline of the window and cut the film to shape before cutting out small sections of the film where the clips hold the window in place, this was to stop the clips pushing the film and causing bubbles.

6. Now you refit the windows! ta da!

We've also had a quick play with putting some led lighting under one of the windows, watch out for another Instructable when we fit them to all the windows!

Step 4: Top It Off With Some Glass

Step 4.

Get some Glass! Ok, so here we tried to find somewhere who had a piece of used/mis-ordered toughened glass the size we wanted but couldn't so we had to go ahead and actually order something new. we wanted a piece that would over hang the frame and the fuselage but about 10cm all round, this would give enough room for guests to sit comfortably with their legs under the table without banging their knees on anything.

Two weeks later a van turned up with the nice shiny new (its recycled sand isnt it!) piece of heavy toughened glass! With three big blokes manhandling it into place it finally set the table off.

Step 5: Tada!

I hope this has given some inspiration to someone, I hope to see more recycled aircraft stuff out there! I myself am building a single window section desk for my shed office using free/recycled bits - keep an eye out for that instructable as for that one I am doing it all myself (except making the glass!)

Step 6: Thank You....

It wouldnt be right to finish this off without thanking the main people who helped make this project as amazing as it is!

Gary and the team from GJD services - Supplied and polished the fuselage section

Wayne from MarcDevlin.com - Rustic and Reclaimed woodwork

The guys from Bespoke Glass

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    21 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This is not really an Instructable is it? It's a really cool idea for a table, but this article is really about you showing off your idea and table. It's such a cool idea and table, that it seems all your commentors haven't even noticed it's not an Instructable. After all, you didn't build it, you're not telling us how to build it; all you've have done is four (4) things; got the idea (it's a neat idea), save a hunk of 747 from metal down (nice example of upcycle [but from airplane to office table is it really up?]), frost the windows and you wrote the "'able". Doing that you've reduced the whole "process" down to 4 steps. I don't count 5 & 6. Five (5) is "See it's finished" and Six (6) is self-explanatory.

    Here's what I mean... Your four (4) steps should be titled:

    Step 1: Find someone to cut, clean and sell you a piece of airplane.
    Step 2: Find someone to build you a table shaped frame for it.
    Step 3: Frost the Windows, (If you can't find someone else to do it.)
    Step 4: Find someone selling a piece of glass that will fit the table.

    The reason for my seemingly negative stance is that I really like Instructables.com. It's a great idea. It's a great way to use the internet and it's people helping people and I really like your idea of recycling a piece of aircraft into a piece of useful furniture, but I find that your 'able isn't really helpful to me or anyone wanting to do something like it or similar, past the idea, I mean. It's my hope that my comments will be helpful to you in understanding why. Hopefully, enough that you might edit your 'able to be more helpful and/or maybe someone else will learn enough not to do the same kind of "'able".

    I'll give you an idea of what I mean... you mention in Step 1 that you had to make a few phone calls before you had any success. Maybe you could provide helpful tips on what you learned from making your phones calls; what worked, what didn't and what kind of places we could try calling or even the name of the place where you had success.

    In Step 2: We may not have a FedEx driver that moonlights as a carpenter so maybe you could get some notes or tips from him on how he designed the frame and the work he did.

    Your Step 3 is good and I'm sure you get the idea and can improve Step 4. Sorry for the negativity, but I was really disappointed when I found a great idea that I'd like to try making something similar with NO actual help with building it.


    3 years ago

    makes me want to get some old weathered vw bug, or old black smith equipment and build a weird table base out of it now.... how awesome... what is your business?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the comments, a weathered VW bug sounds cool - my day job is in IT.


    3 years ago

    neat job...thumbs up, you ve got my vote.


    3 years ago

    Very cool, quite unique.

    Next you can go about installing airline-style restrooms in your plant.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Airline-style restrooms...I like that idea!


    3 years ago

    You could've reproduce it for less I think.

    £2000 is a lot!

    but, nicely done though.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi Lopany, Yes you are right it could have been done for a lot less if we had the time and knowledge to do everything ourselves. We worked out that if we hadn't had to pay for any of the man hours we could have made the table for around £700, it was just a shame we didnt have the knowledge - my desk that I am making with a single window section is being done entirely by myself and I am learning everything along the way so far that one has cost me less than £150.


    3 years ago

    Very interesting table.....


    3 years ago

    Nicely done! It makes me want some old airplane parts to mess around with.


    3 years ago

    just wow! the main thumbnail does not do justice to the ible. if you can get the table at a clearer angle it would appeal to more people. right now the replica gets the attention which is a shame. fantastic ible man!!

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the comment, a few people have mentioned changing the photo so I have tried to get a better overview photo (im not great at taking photos) and that is now the main photo.


    Reply 3 years ago

    I think your 4th photo from step 1 would stand out head and shoulders above your current main photo. The lighting is superb, and the shiny table looks excellent in that one.


    3 years ago

    Simply beautiful! I love one of a kind pieces like this!


    3 years ago

    A fantastic idea and beautifully executed too! Can I ask (roughly) how much the fuselage panel cost? If you don't want to say exactly, even just an order of magnitude would be very interesting.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi, the fuselage was around the £2000 mark for it to be cut to size, stripped, polished and delivered. the large bulk of that was the cost of the man hours for the polishing.


    3 years ago

    Stunning and such a unique Idea. Love the collaborated efforts as the idea progressed.
    Wouldn't fit well with the rustic motif in the office.
    But for your personal Desk thats in the Making could track down a Pilot's or similar aircraft seat.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the nice comment, we did look around for 'aircraft' styled chairs but you are right, they didn't 'look right'. I would love one for my shed/office but its a small space and they look to be quite large chairs so I will see when I get the desk finished.


    3 years ago

    I don't know why I'm looking at this, I could hardly afford to make one from a paper aeroplane! Still, it is very cool, and something I can't imagine many people have!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the comment. The bulk of the cost of this table was for the 'manhours' for the polishing of the fuselage section and carpentry work.