Oil Drum Coffee Table (Galvanized Oil Drum)

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About: My name is Jose Carpena, but my friends call me Mach (Mah-Ch). I am an Industrial Design student living in Philadelphia. I just started my own studio, MZ Studios. Here I work & experiment with discarded ...

In this instructable, I will help you get an understanding of the process it took to make this oil drum coffee table!

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Step 1: Oil Drum Coffee Table

First source an oil drum! You can pick one of these up locally using craigslist for under $20.

You will also need access to the following tools:

- Angle Grinder

- Drill Gun

- Level

- Protective gloves

- Protective face shield

- Palm sander/Router (Optional)

Step 2: Wear Protective Gear!

You will first need to source an angle grinder and you will need two attachments for this project:

1) A cutting blade (for metal use)

2) A grinding wheel attachment (to clean up your cuts)

Step 3: Cutting the Drum

Make sure your angle grinder has a shield plate when using the cutting wheel! This is very important to avoid any injuries. You can measure the drum at your desired height or you can follow the bent seams that most oil drums come with from the factory.

Step 4: Grinding Clean Up

After you cut the drum to your measurements you will have to grind off the raw edges of the steel to make smoother edges for safer handling.

Step 5: Measure Your Drum!

This measurement will give you the diameter needed to transfer over to a sheet of plywood or OSB. You can cut the circle out of an entire piece or as two half pieces that attach together.

Step 6: Cardboard Template (Optional)

To speed up the process I used a laser cutter and managed to cut half of the circle with cardboard. This was then used as a pattern to trace over the OSB sheet I had used.

Step 7: Assemble Two Halves (Optional)

If you are following the process of using two halves rather than a whole circle. You will need to line up your two cuts to form a perfect circle.

Step 8: Attaching Supports

You are now ready to cut out supports. Attach one support directly in the center seam and make sure the board can reach at least 4 inches on each side. That would then transfer to having a piece that is 8" wide and the length would be the measurement of your circle. You can then add two more supports, one would be on the left edge and the other would be on the right edge. Make sure you keep these supports parallel to one another. You will be able to see and image of the supports I mentioned in the next few steps.

Step 9: Finish Edges

After the supports are in make sure you sand down any pieces that might have passed the circle's border. Make sure all of the edges are flush with the edges of the circle itself.

Step 10: Supports View/Drop In

In this step, you can see the supports I created to bond the two halves to form a whole circle. I then dropped in this tabletop upside down in order to install the support beams.

Step 11: Drill Points (Structural Support)

Next up will involve measuring a few points of contact depending on how many legs you would like to have for your coffee table! I chose the standard 4 leg approach and evenly measured 6 drill points in order to screw the wood structures into the walls of the drum itself. These structures will, later on, accept the legs for your table.

Step 12: Internal Supports (Leg Mounts)

You can now cut your internal supports based on your own measurements. These pieces of wood will have to be as wide as the drill points you have made. Align them with your holes and drill screws from the outside to make sure the supports are secure. Use a level to ensure each point is flush and level with one another.

Step 13: Creating Legs

This part is optional and you are free to design any legs you would like!

Step 14: Automotive Trim

Next up you will need automotive trim to press into the raw edges of both the top and bottom of your oil drum. This will provide easier handling and a safer experience when using this coffee table.

Step 15: Mounting the Legs

In this step, you will need to mount the legs to the internal supports you have created. I would recommend you to predrill first and then screw in your desired screw choice. Make sure your screws are long enough to reach through the legs themselves and into your supports.

Step 16: Tier Table Top (Optional)

In this step, I had decided to create another tabletop tier. You can use the same method in the first steps to cut half of a circle using plywood or OSB. I then used a tabletop router to bevel my edges, this can be done using a palm sander as well.

Step 17: Spacers

I cut out a few spacers using a galvanized pipe to offset the table top from the second tier. I drilled an inset the same diameter as the spacers so that each spacer would sit into the wood itself. The next steps involve screwing your desired screw choices from the bottom up into the second tier table top. This will then fasten the two in place.

Step 18: Finishing

You can now finish the wood tops and legs to your desired stain or paint. Oil-based stains are great at repelling water and can help your tabletop last twice as long.

Step 19: Finished Piece (In Use)

I hope you enjoyed this instructable! Check out my embedded link to see the live video process of this project. Thank you for visiting!

Step 20:

Trash to Treasure

Runner Up in the
Trash to Treasure

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    19 Discussions

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    Mr_Wagner

    4 months ago

    Looks great, but for folks thinking of doing this be careful to make sure there was nothing flammable or explosive stored in the barrel. Someone was killed cutting an empty barrel that was used for peppermint oil not too far from where I live.

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    alcurb

    4 months ago

    Very cool.
    The first thought that came to my mind when I saw the pic of the finished product is that it it's a giant Alexa! All it needs is some buttons and the LED ring to complete the illusion. It can even have some decent speakers in it and have an actual Alexa unit (Echo dot) embedded to give it full functionality. Gears are turning.

    2 replies
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    Mach_Zombiealcurb

    Reply 4 months ago

    Al you're a genius. That would be such an AWESOME tableee! My brain's firing up ideas on how I could add an acrylic ring to the top of the table's trim that could glow with the embedded echo dot itself! That would be such a cool project, thank you for your comment dude! :)

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    alcurbMach_Zombie

    Reply 4 months ago

    You're welcome.
    If you are actually going to modify the table, I'd definitely want to stay tuned to see the finished product. That would be crazy cool.

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    LeslieGeee

    4 months ago

    Lovely table and thank you for sharing your process. My question is if you are aware of the off gassing of phenol-formaldehyde from your OSB board?

    6 replies
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    Mach_ZombieLeslieGeee

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thank you for your feedback Leslie! :) I had done a bit of research about OSB in the past and from what I understood was that the "New-generation" of OSB panels use isocyanate resins that reduce the "swelling risk" when wet. With that being said Isocyanate-resin panels do not contain formaldehyde and are considered non-volatile when cured.

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    LeslieGeeeMach_Zombie

    Reply 4 months ago

    Am glad :) I have done some work with pallets and they are usually marked for chemical content which allows those of us who use pallets to be aware of which ones are ok for human and animal use :)

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    Mach_ZombieLeslieGeee

    Reply 4 months ago

    I work with pallets alot too since I live across the street from a pallet factory and I had no idea that pallets had markings for safe use! That's so great, I'll have to research their markings for my next projects. Thank you for sharing this information! :)

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    LeslieGeeeMach_Zombie

    Reply 4 months ago

    You are fortunate to have a pallet factory right near you. They may already have a sheet with their info on their pallets just ask. I have to scrounge for mine but have found 3 stores that will allow me to take theirs.
    For some reason I can't put a link in this reply so below is the site you can copy and paste. The second is what I plugged into Google for you.
    1001pallets.com
    how to tell if pallet wood is safe to reuse. Good luck :)

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    Mach_ZombieLeslieGeee

    Reply 4 months ago

    I'll be sure to ask for their sheet! I'm glad to hear that you have a connection with a store to collect their pallets that will have to be my next move since the pallet factory across from me is moving. :/ Thank you for sharing these links, I'll check these out now! Good luck with your projects as well! :)

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    Texas_Mike

    4 months ago

    Awesome Dude - Now I know what I'm going to do with my 55 gal. drum. Thanks for the concept and inspiration.

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    Mach_ZombieTexas_Mike

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thank you Mike! I'm glad this instructable provided inspiration! Good luck with your project and have a great day dude!

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    DianaF58

    4 months ago on Introduction

    You are very creative and amazing!! Wow so impressed with ur design!! Keep saving our planet by recycling and bringing ur designs to life.....Love ittttttttttt! I see you going far!! Keep up the good work Son!! Mama's proud of u!!

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    Mach_ZombiePenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thank you so much! I was crossing my fingers it would add more functionality after adding it into this project last second! :)