I managed to get hold a large drum that was in pretty good nick and decided to try an make an outdoor table.
1. Large cable drum
2. Sanding materials
3. 0000 steel wool, vinegar and tea for stain
4. Marine grade poly
2. Recip saw (as my jigsaw couldn't quit make it all the way through)
Take your drum and work out which is the best side to be the top and bottom of the table. Often one side will be better.
Punch in any protruding nails and then give the whole thing a good wash down with some sort of wood cleaner, or washing up liquid.
Next step is to cut off excess material from the foot of the table. I simply picked a sensible spot given placement of all the nails etc and then measured how far it was from the edge of the drum. I then just went round and marked that length offf all the way round to get my cutting line.
Once that is done you can dril a couple of pilot holes to get the jigsaw going. My blades weren't quite long enough so I had to finish it off with my reciprocating saw
Now get sanding - I went from 80-120 which was smooth enough for the tabletop
For the top, you might want to fill in any nail holes or splits in the wood. I just used a mixture of wood glue mixed with dust collected from sanding. Once that's dry, get the sander out again to clear excess glue
Once you are happy with the table, put on a coat of primer for the foot and the column of that table and then get painting. 2-3 coats of a good outdoor paint should do.
For the top, I wanted to try a homemade stain that I had read about. First step is put some 0000 steel wool into a jar filled with vinegar and leave for 2-3 days. If the steel doesn't start rusting, just lift it out for 5 mins or so and then put back in. Make sure you don't completely seal this jar as it will create hydrogen, and obviously make sure it is in a well ventilated space. When you are ready to stain, brew another jar full of tea using a couple of tea bags and allow to cool,
Give the table a brush over with the tea and then allow to dry. Then brush over the vinegar mix (strain it first). This mixture will react with the tannins in the tea and 'age' the wood. Give it a couple of hours to fully complete this process.
I then applied 5 coats of marine grade poly, sanding between each coat to finish it off. Because it's an external poly, it did darken things up more than I intended, but doesn't look to bad,
I now have the excess timber 'donut' to play with that I might make some matching benches out of.
Here's the final table. I also undid the bolts and cleaned them up a bit with the grinder.