Building a rustic industrial dining table

Building this rustic dining table was one of my favourite projects. Using 100% reclaimed timber 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. Read on below to see my step by step guide to building this rustic industrial dining table.

rustic dining table

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.

Any reclaimed wood can be used for a project like this.  Many people use reclaimed scaffold boards as they are plentiful and easy to get hold of. Check out my scaffold board rustic industrial dining table post here.

When the wood was originally offered to me I wasn’t sure due to the condition.  It was wet, worn and quite rotten in places, 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.

rotten timber
reclaimed timber

Splinter city…

Before you get started, ensure the wood is completely dry and only select the best pieces for the project.  Doing this will save you time and reduce any splitting in the wood once its in its new home.

Dry your wood in your home if possible. This will ensure the moisture content of the wood matches the humidity in your house. This will help minimise movement in the wood once the table is built. When wood dries our it can warp, cup and split so it’s important to ensure it is dry before you start working on it.

Tool list

To complete this job you’re going to need a few basic tools and a couple of specialist tools to make things easier.  Here’s my recommendations:

Step by step guide to build this rustic industrial dining table

Step 1.  Removing debris

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.  Some of the nails snapped off inside the wood so I had to knock them in with a nail punch. It’s fine to leave nails and screws in the wood. Just be sure you don’t leave them exposed as your tools will catch on them and destroy the blades.

Step 2.  Cut to size

You can cut the boards to size now or do this once they have all been joined. It’s up to you.

You can cut them using a handsaw or a mitre saw. A mitre saw will give you the best results with a nice clean cut.

Step 3. Cleaning the wood

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.

unsanded wood
Before
sanded timber
After

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.

chunky wood

Step 4.  Jointing

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 5. 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.

You’ll need some decent wood glue for this part.  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.

Step 6. More sanding. 

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.

Step 7. Filling gaps. 

The table top was now ready for adding some epoxy resin to give the table a perfectly smooth finish.  You don’t have to use epoxy for this and a simple wood filler will also give a nice smooth finish to the table top.

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.

table top wood

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 too 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.

For more great tips and guides for using epoxy resin on your projects take a look at fluid-painting.com.  Whether you’re building a new table, creating some jewellery or creating a piece of art, this is a great resource for all things epoxy.

resin in wood

Step 8. Final planing and sanding. 

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.

Step 8.  The legs

Finally, the legs. Where can you find the perfect steel legs for your projects? Take a look at my extensive guide to find the perfect metal table legs for your project.

The best metal dining table legs

You could also ask a local metal worker to make you some but alternatively you can find the perfect legs on Etsy (handmade online marketplace)

Here are a few of my favourites:

Step 9. Wood protection

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

tidy table top
rustic dining table

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.

Save money on your builds

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Tool repair

If your electronic tools are old and need repair there is a cheaper way to repair them before you replace them. Quite often, simply replacing the electronic components in a tool is the quickest and cheapest way to revive it.

Thanks for reading

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

Here are a few more of my builds for some inspiration.

rustic dining table
Splayed leg coffee table
rustic desk

Thanks for reading and good luck with your projects.

Ben

8 comments

  1. Beautiful table! How are the legs attached on the bottom? Is it a metal screw in plate?

  2. Love this table. Quick question. Looking to build one similar. Would biscuits be needed or could I miss the biscuit join part and wood glue and follow other steps??? Thinking of using Scaffold boards (new) 1.8m length, 23cm wide and 3.5 cm thick. Will these boards be ok to use or could you advise any others? I know to mix the grain so they are different to stop warping. Anything else to look at without warping?

    • Hi Reece, scaffold boards are fine but it’s best to use biscuits which will keep the boards all in line. They can easily twist and warp indoors. Get yourself a moisture meter and make sure the wood you use is 10% or less.

  3. Hi there, what was the total length of the table? You mentioned cutting the boards in half to fit into the van. So we’re the boards just 1.8 m x 6?

    • Hi, not sure I understand the question. Cutting the boards in half is irrelevant for the purpose of the build. It was just part of the story of how I could fit them in the van.

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