Reclaimed Wood Table




After using a cheap plastic card table as my only table for nearly two years I decided it was time for a change. I had seen some large wooden tables that I liked and figured that I could make one myself. I also used reclaimed wood to make this table so it's a bit cooler looking (and environmentally friendly!).

The finished product is heavy, but not too bad. I'm using Douglas Fir which is a bit soft. Marks will show on the table, but to me that is okay. You may want to adjust your wood choice if you like something different.

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Step 1: Assemble Your Materials

To make this table I used three pieces of reclaimed Douglas Fir. Each piece was 3"x10"x5'. I ended up buying five of them from M Fine Lumber in Brooklyn. They came from this 25' piece of wood that they were nice enough to cut into pieces for me.

As far as other consumables go you'll need some wood glue, tenons (or biscuits), and some table legs. I got some of these from Ikea. Here's the link to the legs.

I also used a hammer and vice grips to remove nails, a circular saw, a mortiser, a rubber mallet, sander, and a drill/screwdriver.

Step 2: Clean Up the Wood

If you use reclaimed lumber it will likely come to you really dirty, not straight, and covered in total crap.

The first thing I did was go over each piece with a hammer and a pair of vice grips to remove the nails and other interesting metal objects that had found their way into the wood over the course of it's previous life. This is really important because if there's any metal left in the wood it can mess up your tools when you use them on it (I suppose this could also cause an accident where you could be injured or killed. Be careful). It's probably a good idea to use a metal detector to make sure you got everything out.

After the metal was removed I decided to use my sander with a very rough abrasive in it to remove all the crap on the outside of the wood. This made the rest of the process a lot cleaner which is important to me because I'm doing all this in the same space that I live in.

Next you're going to want to use your saw to make sure all the corners are at 90 degree angles. I used my circular saw, but a table saw would probably be better. Actually what would be great is a jointer. I don't have one of those though, so I'm making do with what I have.

Step 3: Join the Table Together

I used my Domino to cut mortises in the pieces and then glued them together with tenons in place. There are 28 mortises in the table. I imagine you could get by with less, but I was a little nervous about this falling apart.

Step 4: Sand the Surfaces, Attach Legs

I sanded the surfaces to make sure they were smooth and splinter free. I started with 60 grit and then went up all the way to 220 to make sure it was very smooth. This makes a huge difference so I think it's worth spending some time on.

The legs are from Ikea. I think they are for expanding a countertop. We've been using them at my work to build desks for people so I figured they would be great for this too. They cost about $30 each so not too bad. I like the contrast of the metal to the natural wood.

Step 5: Apply Finish to the Table

I used General Finishes Arm R Seal which is a penetrating resin. This stuff was really easy to apply and has a nice look. You should put a few coats on so that the finish is sturdy enough to withstand some abuse from moisture and hot plates.

Hope you enjoy it! It was fun to make and really rewarding to use every day!

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    81 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    What are the name of the legs you used? I can't seem to find them at IKEA. Thank you

    Go to wood prix page if you want to learn how to build it yourself


    2 years ago

    You are super observant of detail and patterns, I admire that. I think that we all seek the information on how to create a live edge piece of furniture with high end results, available materials, reasonable resources and skill set required.... everyone loves live edge furniture ... and I think the consumer is torn between a high end investment or a low end craft project... live edge and reclaimed furniture had become inflated and the average person is capable of sourcing the materials, working on the surfaces and making a piece of furniture disses against designers of live edge furniture in Toronto... or places that sell materials ... I love all of these businesses and people that involve themselves in creating interesting work... I'm just saying as an average middle aged female that got a b plus in wood working ... I live in a small place and no I don't trust myself with a chain saw... but I have dragged a tree stump a block and a half... and with YouTube . Home Depot , vision and reality and some extra help ...: it is possible for a regular person to make a beautiful piece of furniture at Minimal cost....I'm not talking about a dining room table or a bed... but if you want a live edge edge furniture piece ..get the legs from IKEA..the slab from outside gta, maybe east coast and finish it with some products from Home Depot


    3 years ago

    wonderful wonderful work! thanks for sharing


    3 years ago

    Dr. Drocko, thank you for adding to my To Do Projects! Do you recommend sanding in between Arm R Seal applications?


    10 years ago on Step 4

    Great project. Can you post a link to where you purchasd these table legs? In particular, I am looking for the exact name or part description at Ikea to assist in finding them easier. Thanks.

    2 replies

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hey man - Awesome job! 2 questions for you or anyone that has experience.

    1.) did you have the wood kiln dried?
    2.) how did you make sure the 3 boards were all perfectly flat/uniform without a planer?

    Clean and simple design. Love it! Check out to find more reclaimed wood to build projects just like this.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hey drocko, I'm going to build a similar table and was planning to make it 40"W x 90"L.
    Do you think I could use the same Ikea legs? That model only comes in one size (24 3/8") and the other ones they carry seem too flimsy for a table that size.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I want to make a table just like yours,
    since it will be heavy, and I might need to move it from time to time,
    do you think it is possible to install wheels on the bottom of the
    IKEA frames?
    You being an engineer might know.

    Thanks in advance,
    and keep on creating great things like this table.



    7 years ago on Introduction

    Did you alternate the orientation of the growth rings to help the table stay flat?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Looks great! This might sound like a mundane and unimportant question, but what kind of sander did you use?

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Step 5

    Nice appearance but some alternatives to the Domino for the majority of viewers would have been nice as most folks can't afford Festool. Dowels, biscuits, or even a well racked group of clamps and Titebond III will align and hold just fine. The Arm-R-Seal is an excellent choice for fir, heart pine, or virtually any hardwood but 3-5 coats on a porous species of wood will build depth, aid in cleaning, and help (somewhat) toughen the top from denting and scratching. It also "pops" the grain and enhances the color of vintage wood. Nice clean look table

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    @Lukulele: assuming the different sections are accurately planed at right-angles, would glueing be good enough?