Introduction: Make a Table Out of Those Old Wheels in Your Garage
I could tell you a really long sob story but suffice it to say I had 4 really nice looking wheels (with tires) on a shelf in my garage. They were all bent just enough that they vibrated really bad when they were on the car but not so bad that they looked bent. So rather than leave them taking up space on my shelf I decided to stack a couple of them up and throw a piece of glass on top to make a table. I put it by the sofa in my living room to hold my monitor. I was worried that it might smell like a tire shop so I cleaned one of the tires ahead of time and brought it in. I was happy to find out that there was no smell unless you put your nose right down at it.
Guys, if you're married, and you surprise your wife with one of these, you and the table will probably both end up in the garage indefinitely. If your wife likes it, she's a keeper, make sure you hold on to her. Women, if you're thinking about making one of these, I'm single. (wink, wink)
Step 1: What You'll Need
Items needed to make your own wheel table:
- Drill and drill bits
- Hacksaw or other metal cutting tool
2 - wheels with or without tires
4 - 5/16" x 24" allthread (if your wheels have 5 or more lugs you will need 5 or more pieces. You might get by with 3 but that will leave empty holes where there should be a nut)
4 - 2" swivel casters
4 - 5/16" acorn nuts
4 - 5/16" rubber washers (I'd probably skip these if I had to do it again)
4 - 5/16" steel washers
4 - 5/16" T-nuts
Can of flat black spray paint
Round glass - 28" by 1/4" thick
I was going to use allthread that was the right size to screw my lug nuts onto instead of using the acorn nuts but my lug nuts are 12mm with 1.5 threads and I couldn't find alltread that size at a reasonable price so I ended up using 5/16" with acorn nuts instead.
Step 2: Making the Base
You need a plywood circle that fits inside the outer lip of the wheel. Mine needed to be 18". You could probably just draw a cicle and cut it out but I've never had real good luck cutting a smooth circle so I made a jig of sorts. I took the foot off of my jigsaw and drilled a hole in it on each side of the blade. Then I screwed a piece of wood to the foot at a 90 degree angle to the blade and made a hole in it for the blade to go through. Then reattached the foot to the saw. I measured 9" from the blade and drilled a hole just a hair bigger than a wood screw. With the saw blade sitting tight against the edge of the plywood put a screw through the jig and into the plywood. Now the saw will pivot around the screw as you cut a perfect circle without worrying about following a line. After cutting it out I sanded the edge to remove any splinters.
Paint the base flat black (pictures didn't turn out) so you don't see it when you look down through the wheel and let it dry overnight. I painted the top and the sides but left the bottom unpainted for several reasons. I was running out of paint because I didn't start with a full can, also it would make it hard to see marks you'll be making to align holes for the allthread and the casters. When was the last time you saw a piece of furniture that was painted on the bottom anyways?
Step 3: Clean Your Wheels
While you're waiting for the paint on the base to dry clean your wheels really good. You need to get all the dirt, tar, brake dust, gravel, and tire shine products off of the wheels, tire sidewalls, and tread. You don't want to have anything on there that's going to smell or get you, your floor, or your furniture dirty after you bring it in the house. I used Simple Green with a brush and a rag to clean mine. Set them aside to dry.
Step 4: Base Assembly
This will be considerably more difficult if you have 5 lug wheels as you will need to draw more lines at odd angles. I'll let you figure all that out since mine only had 4 lugs.
Make two lines at a 90 degree angle to each other on the bottom of the base that intersect at the screw hole in the center. Measure how far apart the lug nut holes are on your wheels and mark that same spacing on the lines you just drew. Then drill a hole at each mark. The hole needs to be appropriately sized to fit the center part of the t-nut. After drilling, insert a t-nut in each hole and hammer it in until it sits flat on the base. The spurs go into the base and keep the nut from spinning when you screw the allthread in. Attach a caster on each line near the outer edge of the base. Exact placement isn't that important as long as it's close.
You could do without casters but keep in mind that the table won't be light (mine weighs in around 70 pounds without the glass) and depending on the wheels and tires you use, the rubber may be on the floor instead of the plywood base and it will not slide. If the base is going to be on the floor, you will probably want to countersink the t-nuts so they don't scratch your floor.
Step 5: Continue Assembly
Stand the wheels up and align them how you want them. I turned one of mine 90 degrees from the other so that when I looked through the top wheel I would easily be able to see the lower wheel. Put a rubber washer, a steel washer, and an acorn nut on each piece of allthread and insert them through the lug holes. Hold the base in position and screw each allthread into the corresponding t-nut. I recommend using a drill with a socket on it to screw them in most of the way, otherwise it will take forever. I recommend using power tools every chance you get. Tighten everything finger tight then make sure the tires are exactly lined up before you finish tightening them with a rachet.
Step 6: Final Assembly
You will have several inches of allthread sticking through the allthread that will need to be cut off with a hacksaw or a power tool of some sort. Again, I recommend using power tools every chance you get. I left about an inch sticking out because my saw wouldn't get much closer and I wanted to leave some to make it easier to reassemble if I ever have to take it apart. Stand it up on the casters and lay the glass on it. The glass should rest on the rubber of the tires. If it doesn't or if your wheels don't have tires you will probably need some kind of felt or rubber pads to go between the glass and wheel.
Since my wheels had 8 holes to fit different lug nut spacing and I only used 4 acorn nuts I set my lug nuts in the other 4 holes. They're not fixed in place but the holes and the nuts are tapered so they sit there nicely.
Step 7: Final Thoughts
- Each wheel and tire combo was approximately $325 at TireRack.com (got them on sale!). That's $650 for the pair. Kosei K1 TS wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 tires.
- I got the allthread, nuts, and washers at Lowes for just over $15.
- The casters are from Harbor Freight and came to about $12.
- I got the glass at a local "Mom and Pop" glass place for $40.
- I already had the paint but I think it was about $5.
- I liberated the plywood from the dumpster at work so there was no cost there and I haven't bought any lately so I have no idea how much that would be.
Total for the whole thing came in around $725. That's way more than I would usually pay for a table but since the expensive parts were just taking up space in my garage and I needed a table for my monitor, I figured why not.
The height of your table will vary depending on the size of your wheels and tires. My wheels are 17x7 and the tires are 205/40/ZR17. Overall height including casters and glass is almost exactly 19".
One day I might make another table with the other 2 wheels or possibly get an oval shaped piece of glass to put over both of them and use it as a coffee table.