Door Table

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About: Analog maker dabbling in digital manufacture

Upgrade a used hollow core interior door into a decent lightweight table, with the help of a couple of pieces of construction lumber. The 1 x 4's around the outside give it a finished look and stiffen the table considerably, and with the help of a couple of crosspieces, give the legs something to be attached to. Assuming you have a free door, the table will cost you less than $5, and will recycle something that is otherwise likely to be dumped.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

You'll need a used hollow core interior door - a smooth rather than an embossed one, of course!
One 10' length of 2 x 4 construction lumber, which you will rip into two 1 x 4's. Pick the straightest, cleanest piece you can find. If you don't have a bench saw, you'll need enough 1 x 4 to go around the table - approximately two 7' lengths and two 3' lengths (three 8' pieces is plenty).
One 8' length of 2 x 4 construction lumber, which you will rip into two 2 x 2's. Pick the straightest, cleanest piece you can find. If you don't have a bench saw, you'll need enough 2 x 2 to make the four legs and two crosspieces - approximately six 3' lengths (two 8' pieces is fine).
A bench (or table) saw is necessary to rip the 2 x 4's. A miter saw is handy to cut the wood to length. I used a brad nailer, wood glue, and a few deck screws to assemble the table. Wood filler, an orbital sander, and paint was used to finish the table, but all that is unnecessary if you're just going to use it as a utility table.

Step 2: Rip Lumber

Rip the 10' length of 2 x 4 into two (nominally) 1 x 4's. Since 2 x 4 is really 1.5 x 3.5, and the kerf is not negligible, the lumber will come out under 3/4" thick. You'll have to take two passes, flipping the board over for the second pass.
Rip the 8' length of 2 x 4 into two 2 x 2's. They'll form the legs and cross-braces.

Step 3: Edges

Your 1 x 4 will form the edges of your table, so miter one end and measure against the edge of the table. Mark and cut carefully, because miters are pretty unforgiving. If you don't have a miter saw, a butt joint may be more appropriate.
Assemble using wood glue and brad nailer, as shown. 

Step 4: Legs

The 2 x 2's are deliberately light, to help convey the idea this is not a heavyweight table and that you probably shouldn't sit on it!
I cut two pieces to fit inside the underside of the table, to strengthen the top and to provide something else for the legs to screw into. They're 400 mm (16") from each end, but just pick a distance that you think looks right. I cut the legs to make the table 780 mm (31") high, so it lined up with our sewing table. The legs were glued and brad nailed in place, then screwed into through the edges and to the crossbrace. The leg positioning is not critical, but the closer they are to the end the easier the table will be to get through doors. There is hardware available to allow you to easily make folding legs, but they'll triple the cost of your door...
Glue and nail a patch of plywood over the hole, then cut some pieces of wood to fill the hole from the top side (jmarusoi helpfully points out that if you're going to use the table for a computer, leaving the hole open provides a neat way to deal with the cables).

Step 5: Fill, Sand and Paint

Spend as much time as you feel like on this step - it doesn't make the table any more functional, just makes it look cleaner. Filling the holes with wood filler, sanding and painting take a lot longer than actually building the table!

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    18 Discussions

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    cheapo

    2 years ago

    Excellent! I just bought a fire door for £18 for this very purpose. It's not light weight, but then it's my workbench. I'll just be adding the sides to finish it off and to make it a bit deeper as it's only 687mm (27"), so I hope I can add about 60mm to it. It's for making RC airplanes, mostly using foam board.

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    makendocheapo

    Reply 2 years ago

    Nice, 18 quid seems a good deal for a fire door (used?). If you surrounded it by 2x4 you'd add 76 mm to the width and it would be pretty cheap and make it dead solid. Have fun with the build.

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    cheapomakendo

    Reply 2 years ago

    I think if would have been £47 normally. But one of our two local B&Q stores is closing. So I've managed to pick up a few bargains in the last couple of weeks.

    Gonna nip in there today too, if they're still open that is. When things get very cheap, you suddenly realize that you needed them after all. :¬)

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    amuñoz21

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I did my own dinner table that way, a large table is usually expensive;
    Is perfect for big jigsaw puzzles :)

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    kpafford

    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome because now I know how to make a cheap PING-PONG table!! Thanks for sharing this idea!!!

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    makendokpafford

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You're welcome - but your new ping-pong table will be on the small side - aren't they more like 10x5 rather than 7x3?

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    jwystup

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! We just moved into a new house and it had 2 large closet doors behind that we wouldn't use on the closet it belongs to anyways. I intended to do something like this with one of them but instead (in my haste to get things ready for the housewarming party) I attached it to the wall of the garage with hinges that I found and propped it up with a piece of found wood. I have plans to make the "party table" better and will probably write an instructable for that one but maybe I'll use this for the other door and make myself a craft table...

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    makendojwystup

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. I suspect a lot of people have an old door lying around, it's the kind of thing that is awkward to get rid of and it always looks like it might be useful for some sort of project. Sounds like you've already found good use for one of yours, and a craft table is pretty much what we're using this one for. Good luck with the build.

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    jmarusoi

    7 years ago on Step 4

    Nice!
    If the intended use for this is a computer table then the door handle hole doesn't need to be filled in, it is actually useful for running cables through it.
    Also, saves some work.

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    Lorddrake

    7 years ago on Introduction

    bonus point for the Calvin & Hobbes reference

    great reuse for a door. the closest I ever got to doing this was flopping an old door across 2 sawhorse to make a makeshift table .

    (your looks much nicer)

    maybe i can use this to convince my wife to let me get a nailgun hehehe

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    makendoLorddrake

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Cheers; the kids are big fans of C&H, as if they needed any help getting into trouble...
    I recommend the nailgun. If you don't need the compressor (though it's good for inflating and cleaning things, too), the electric ones work well too.

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    caarntedd

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent, well presented instructable. I've built something similar to this as a portable workbench. Nowhere near as tidy as this though. Great work.

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    Wi11

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, that looks great! You can't even tell it was a door. Very finished look. I'll have to try one, I have an old closet door lying around in my garage!

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    makendoWi11

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks - yeah, it turned out really well and is pretty sturdy. Good luck with the build.