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.
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.
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.
Table of Contents
- Step by step guide to build this rustic industrial dining table
- Benefits of building your own reclaimed wood dining table
- Downsides to building your own dining table from reclaimed materials
- Save money on your builds
- Thanks for reading
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Benefits of building your own reclaimed wood dining table
- Eco-Friendly: Using reclaimed materials reduces the demand for new resources and helps divert waste from landfills. By repurposing old wood or other salvaged materials, you contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.
- Unique and Personalized: Building your own dining table allows you to create a one-of-a-kind piece that reflects your personal style and taste. Reclaimed materials often have a distinct character and patina that adds charm and uniqueness to the finished table.
- Cost Savings: Purchasing a brand-new dining table can be quite expensive, especially if you’re looking for high-quality craftsmanship. By using reclaimed materials, you can save a significant amount of money while still achieving a beautiful and functional table.
- Skill Development: Building your own dining table is a fulfilling and rewarding DIY project that allows you to enhance your woodworking skills. You’ll have the opportunity to learn new techniques, problem-solve, and gain confidence in your craftsmanship.
- Customizable Size and Design: When you build your own table, you have control over the dimensions and design. You can tailor it to fit your specific space requirements, whether it’s a small apartment or a large dining room. It’s an excellent opportunity to create a table that perfectly fits your needs.
- Heritage and Storytelling: Reclaimed materials often carry a history and a story. Incorporating these materials into your dining table allows you to connect with the past and share the narrative behind the salvaged wood or other components. It adds depth and character to your furniture.
- Durability and Longevity: Reclaimed materials, especially old-growth wood, tend to be highly durable and resilient. The aged wood has already undergone years of expansion and contraction, making it less prone to warping or cracking. As a result, your rustic dining table can stand the test of time.
- Sense of Accomplishment: Completing a DIY project like building your own dining table is incredibly satisfying. You’ll have a tangible result of your hard work, and every meal shared around the table will remind you of the effort you put into creating it.
- Bonding and Family Time: Building a dining table from reclaimed materials can be a fun and engaging project to involve your family or friends. It offers an opportunity to spend quality time together, fostering teamwork and creating lasting memories.
- Inspiration for Others: Your rustic dining table can inspire others to explore their creativity, embrace sustainable practices, and pursue DIY projects. Sharing your experience and showcasing your handmade piece can motivate and encourage others to embark on similar endeavors.
Remember to prioritize safety and use appropriate tools and protective gear when working with reclaimed materials. Enjoy the process of building your own rustic dining table and savor the satisfaction of creating a unique piece that will be cherished for years to come.
Downsides to building your own dining table from reclaimed materials
There may be some downsides to building your own table from reclaimed materials. So before you get started on your project please consider the following:
- Limited Material Availability: Finding suitable reclaimed materials for your dining table project can be challenging. It may take time and effort to source the right materials in the quantities and sizes you need. Depending on your location and the availability of reclaimed materials, your options may be limited.
- Time-Consuming Process: Building a dining table from reclaimed materials can be a time-consuming project, especially if you’re new to woodworking or DIY. It requires planning, preparation, and the actual construction process, which can extend the timeline compared to buying a ready-made table.
- Skill and Knowledge Required: Building a dining table from scratch requires woodworking skills and knowledge of construction techniques. If you’re a beginner, there may be a learning curve involved. While it can be a great opportunity to develop your skills, it may also mean more trial and error, potentially leading to mistakes or delays.
- Additional Tools and Equipment: Depending on the complexity of your dining table design, you may need additional tools and equipment beyond what you already have. This can add to the overall cost of the project if you need to invest in specialized tools or borrow/rent them.
- Quality and Structural Integrity: Reclaimed materials can vary in quality, and it may be challenging to assess their structural integrity. You’ll need to carefully inspect the reclaimed wood for signs of damage, rot, or pests that could compromise the durability of your table. Ensuring the stability and strength of the finished piece is crucial for safety and longevity.
- Inconsistent Appearance: Reclaimed materials often have unique characteristics, such as knots, dents, or discolouration. While these imperfections can add charm and character to your table, they may also result in an inconsistent appearance. Achieving a uniform or symmetrical look can be more challenging when working with reclaimed materials.
- Maintenance and Cleaning: Depending on the type of reclaimed materials you use, your dining table may require specific maintenance and cleaning procedures. Some reclaimed wood may need regular sealing or conditioning to protect it from moisture, stains, or pests. It’s important to consider the ongoing care requirements of your table.
- Limited Warranty or Guarantees: When building your own dining table, you won’t have the same level of warranty or guarantees as you would with a store-bought table. If any issues arise with the construction or materials, you’ll need to rely on your own skills and resources to address them.
- Potential Health and Safety Concerns: Reclaimed materials, especially older wood, may contain chemicals or lead-based paint that can pose health risks. It’s essential to take appropriate precautions, such as wearing protective gear and properly sealing or treating the materials to mitigate any potential hazards.
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:
- Wrecking bar
- Electric plane and/or hand plane
- Claw hammer and rubber mallet
- Biscuit jointer
- Circular saw, plunge saw or sliding mitre saw
- Thicknesser (optional)
- Orbital sander and/or belt sander
- Sash clamps and ratchet straps
Save money on your builds
Why not save some money when buying tools and materials using a cashback site like TopCashback. I’ve been using it now since 2018 and generated over £920 in cashback on my everyday spending. My wife has also been on for a similar time and has over £1200.
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.
Here are a few more of my builds for some inspiration.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your projects.