Building a rustic industrial dining table

This was one of my favourite projects. Using 100% reclaimed wooden planks I created a rustic industrial dining table. It took a while to prepare the wood and complete a perfectly smooth finish, but the end result is absolutely beautiful.

The wood came from a friend’s discarded old decking. These particular pieces were the old support beams measuring 47mm x 150mm x 3.6m. Each piece had to be cut in half to fit in the van but this was a small sacrifice for all the free wood.

When the wood was originally offered to me I wasn’t sure due to the condition, but I decided to go ahead and see what I could make from it. I’m glad I did!

Reclaimed wood can be difficult to work with, but it’s totally worth it to save a few trees and knowing you can turn something quite horrid into a beautiful piece of furniture.

Splinter city…

I began by removing all the screws and nails. This was a tough job and I had to buy a bigger crowbar / wrecking bar to help with the rusted nails.  It’s a beast.  Some of the nails snapped off inside the wood so I had to knock them in with a nail punch.

The next job was to plane and sand each individual piece.  I used my thicknesser to do the brunt of the work but you can use a handheld plane if you don’t have access to a thicknesser.

There was a lot of dirt and grime on the wood which really gave the thicknesser a beating and I ended up having to replace the blades, but it saved me a lot of time.

Once planed, I sanded each piece with a belt sander and then an orbital sander to leave a nice smooth finish. I went from a 60 grit paper to a finer 240 grit paper. This was important as the next step is to glue the bits together and the smoother the wood the better the contact between two pieces.

Fixing all the pieces together was up next. To ensure a good straight join along each piece I used a biscuit jointer. This machine cuts an even groove into the side of the wood in which you can place as small piece of wood (called a biscuit) to ensure two piece line up evenly against each other. Some say it also adds a bit of strength to the join but it’s mostly for ensuring a perfect alignment.

Once all the bits had been cut with the biscuit jointer it was time for some gluing.

Clamping some beams across the top and bottom here to ensure a completely flat finish whilst gluing.

Step 4, gluing. I purchased some additional clamps for this part. I needed to reach across the width of the table which was about 90cm. 4 sash clamps were used to straddle the width and for the length of the table I used 2 ratchet straps.

To ensure the table top didn’t bow when tightening the clamps I used some thick pieces of wood to brace across the top and bottom and securely clamped each one down at either end.

I did all of the gluing on a flat even surface to ensure the whole piece was perfectly flat. Any bowing in the wood or joins would have been very bad and made a wobbly table.

The glue dries pretty quickly but I left it over night to be sure.

The next job was to cut each end and then glue the end pieces on in the same way as above.  I used ratchet straps  for this part.

I then followed up with more sanding to get the table top as smooth as possible before I started to fill any gaps and imperfections.

The table top was now ready for adding some epoxy resin to give the table a perfectly smooth finish.

Remember, the wood was in quite a bad way when I first started cutting it and had lots of holes and imperfections. The plan was to tape off the areas to fill with resin, mix and pour in one go as you only get a couple of hours before resin starts to set.

I started by using some basic electrical tape to cover all the joins and gaps on the underside of the table top. This would prevent any resin leaking through the bottom.

I then mixed the resin in a small cup and began to pour. This was tricky and I found myself returning to many areas as the resin leaked deep into the wood gaps. I used a blowtorch to bring any bubbles to the surface.

I let the resin set over night. It was important to ensure the temperature was about 18 degrees Celsius in the workshop to ensure the resin didn’t cloud over.

Once set, I began to manually plane the whole surface, followed again by loads of sanding. For the parts with resin I went all the way up to a 1200 grit paper to give the resin a super clear finish.

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Finally, the legs. Not my handy work but a local welder pulled these together for me. I wanted a thick chunky leg so went for a 70mm box steel with a 100mm top runner for attaching to the table top.

Many tables like this have a metal bar from one side to the other but these legs were solid and didn’t need any additional support.

The whole table top was finished off with a few coats of Osmo Oil and lightly sanded after each layer.

And there we have it. One sexy industrial style table. Super heavy duty. Love it! It looks even nicer in person, the picture doesn’t do it justice.

Build your own or buy one of mine 🙂

Thanks for reading, please do check out some of other articles.  You might like:

 

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