V8 Engine Table




About: I studied Maths and Computing, worked in an Operation Research department, retrained as a civil engineer, worked on site for some major projects. I'm learning to be a structural engineer at the moment! I've ...

I made this table quite a few years ago, and have since sold it so I cant take any more photos, so I appologise for the lack of detailed photos.

By the end it was a heavy but strong table, costing me about £100 to make.

Please be aware that once you do this to an engine, there is generally no way it is going back in a car!

Please don't forget to vote for me in the furniture challenge! Thanks.

Date Made: April 2005
Approx Cost: £100
Approx Time: done over 2 weekends (1 weekend day to strip engine and send to blasters, wait for media blaster during week, 1 weekend day to put together, wait for glass during following week - obviously if you prepare, then it could be done in a day or two)
Difficulty: Medium

** Additional Note **

People have asked how heavy it is. If you take off the glass it can be picked up by one person, although it is heavy and akward. Bear in mind that mine was an aluminum block though!

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Step 1: Acquire Engine

I watched ebay for a while until I found an old rover V8 engine cheap. I paid £10 for this one.

Somehow you need to get it home safely! You will likely need an engine hoist as they are heavy! Also line your van/car as you will probably get oil everywhere even if you do drain it first!

**Additional Note**

For those looking for engines, try to het hold of a damaged or incomplete engine.

2 reasons:
a) it will be cheaper
b) some models may be rare and it will annoy people who need the parts for their car if you use a working engine for a table!!

You can try searching eBay with the following syntax

"V8 (engine, block) (damaged, broken, spares, repair, faulty, cracked, split, incomplete, non runner)"

Take out the quotation marks but leave the other symbols. The bracketed words separated by a comma basically means "or" so it will find items with any of those words. Add in any other words you can think of.

I watched eBay for quite a while until I got one local and cheap.

Step 2: Strip It Down

Depending on how many parts your engine came in, you will have to strip it down to the parts you want to keep and the parts you want to get rid of.

You can buy a haynes manual for the engine to follow the instructions, or you can do what I did and just undo every bolt until you get to the parts you want!

The parts you want to keep are:
* The main block (not the heads).
* At least 4 piston (with con rods/arms, not just the piston heads).
* 2 no sprockets from front
* 1no chain from the front

Everything else can go, including all internals. I sold the left over parts on ebay for £10 meaning that the table parts cost me nothing!

One mistake I did make was that I didnt take off the piston rings as I liked the look of them, however if you leave them on, be aware that it is nigh on impossible to clean them properly.

Step 3: Clean the Parts You Have Left

You can do this with some engine cleaning products and some hard graft, or you can pay someone to do this for you!

I didnt want to spend hours cleaning only to come up with a finish that I wasnt happy with, so I went to see my local media blaser and got him to bead blast everything (plus a couple of old bits I had - see my cog ash tray!). I paid him £50 for this.

It came out spotless!!!

Please be aware that once you bead blast an engine there is no way its going back in a car!!!!! It will have glass beads in various nooks and crannys and all tolerances will have gone!

Unfortunately I dont have a photo of it before I put it together...

Step 4: Protect the Metal

The engine block (of my model) is made of aluminium so this was not going to rust so I left it as is. (some blocks are steel so be aware).

The chambers however are steel, so I bought a can of clear laquer spray and gave them a coat. Usual painting techniques apply!

Step 5: Position and Drill the Pistons

Take off the bottom clamp from the piston con rod (arm). These are not needed.

There should still be 2 bolts on the con rod (arm). One of these we will use as the bottom positioning bolt, the other one however needs to be punched out - its a simple hammer job.

This should leave a hole which can be used with an appropriate sized bolt to connect to the original head bolt hole on the engine block. (I think I had to enlarge this hole slightly to get the correct size bolt through).

(Note: In the photos you will see that I used threaded bar and a nut, but I think a bolt would be better. Also if I did it again I would grind a little of the arm adjacent to the top of this hole so that the bolt sat completely flat)

On one side this will leave the bottom bolt aligned with a section of cooling chamber. If you enlargen this slightly, then it can be used as a locating bolt. on the other side a new hole will have to be drilled. Again, this can be used as a locating bolt with the original piston con rod bolt.

Do this for 4 pistons (or 8 if you really wanted to!?).

(Additional note: You might be able to see from some of the pictures that there is not quite enough play in the pistons for the heads to sit flat, so if I was going to do this again I would at this point grid a little of the inside of the piston head or a little of the arm so that the piston heads can sit flat.)

Step 6: Front Decoration

You should have taken out all the internal of the engine, leaving a hole where the cam was.

Use an appropriate size bolt and washer through this hole to fix the large sprocket to the front of the engine (where it originally would have been).

Then hang the chain on this. I then left the little sprocket hanging in the chain unfixed.

Step 7: Glass

Measure the size of glass you want and go and see a glass specialist.

Remember that you dont want it overhanging too much and that it needs to be safe; Ask the specialists advice. 

I went for a bevelled edge, laminated, with radius corners. I made the radius of the corners match that of the piston heads. I went with specialist on thickness.

This glass cost me £42.

The glass specialist also gave me some little rubber stickers too. I stuck these to the tops of the piston heads and sat the glass on top.

Step 8: Relax

Put some wine bottles in the chambers (ther are some lips at the bottom of 4 of the chambers which stop them sliding down), sit back and enjoy your table!

All in all it cost me about £100. Not bad for a v8 engine table id say!

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    63 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I've got a straight 6 BMW engine block that I want to turn into a wine rack by standing it on end. This is really going to help. Thanks so much


    2 years ago

    Very Nice, I want to make for our showroom waiting area at Eurobahn BMW MINI Mercedes-Benz Audi of Greensboro at our BMW Greensboro store.


    3 years ago

    Would you say it'd look good if you spray paint this? Thinking of doing one in our house but the missus loves copper.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I have seen some that's are spray painted silver (to avoid having to clean them up so well) and I don't think they look as good as a cleaned up block. However if you are colouring it other than silver then I think it would look good. If you google "red engine table" it looks like a lot of people paint them red nowadays...

    Dakota Joel98

    3 years ago

    I have mixed feelings about this table. It looks really good and is unique... but its a v8... I can't decide. lol


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Can you give the dimensions of the glass and the high of the table please?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, I'm afraid I sold it so can no longer measure it. I gave the glass receipt/ info to the person I sold it to incase they broke it and needed to replace it.

    Every engine will be different so I suggest that you build the base first, and then visit a glass specialist with the base dimensions and get their advice.


    4 years ago

    Can anyone tell me the EXACT model of this engine? Would be very much appreciated!!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    It looks like a 3.5 range rover engine going by the carbs. Though it could easily be from an SD1 or a LWB stage one land rover. Those stromberg carbs were on loads of engines, SU before that and then onto a plethora of EFI setups.
    Any of the v8 rover engines look pretty much the same. Once all the ancillaries are stripped, the basic architecture will be identical to the untrained eye. So a tvr 5 liter will look much the same as a 3.5 Rover p5b engine. Google the rover engine to see what it went into, such as Morgan, MG, Sherpa vans and pretty much anything that needed a bit of grunt. The serial number will tell you exactly what it came from, but like I said, it makes little difference. A rover v8 is a rover v8 is a rover v8. Hope this helps.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Not if it's A junk engine! Cracked block,bore destroyed etc. In fact it would be A way to recycle A shot block.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Yeah, I understand why some people think that, hence my comments in step 1 about finding a broken engine. What else are you going to do with a broken block apart from weight it in?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    For a man cave I think bigger would be better. Try a Detroit 8-71V! You could use the pistons as ashtrays since they have recessed tops. Although it would be a lot heavier and more expensive, but it would be REALLY AWSOME! Something I've wanted to build is a wood burning heater out of a small block Chevy V8. I have all the plans in my head, but don't have the time or space to try it yet.

    1 reply