Build a Dining Table From Salvaged Materials

Set an environmentally-friendly custom table with these step-by-step instructions.

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Reusing instead of throwing away used materials like lumber can help reduce the need for harvesting new trees and diverts materials from landfills.

Make salvaged materials your own by turning them into a dining room table with this project.

Materials and Tools:

tongue-and-groove 2x6-inch boards (from reclaimed or salvaged lumber)
salvaged iron bands
2x4-inch boards
4x4-inch boards
nails or staples
carriage bolts
1¾-inch screws
dowel screws
wood planer
pocket-hole jig
nail gun or stapler
T-square ruler
block of wood
distressing tools (various drill bits or chains)
table saw
circular saw
router (with 1¼-inch rabbeting bit)
vise grip
orbital sander


1. Surface the 2x6’s by running them through a planer. This will skim the boards and give them a fresh surface.

2. Fit the boards together by interlocking the tongue-and-groove sides. They don’t need to be completely even, since the ends will be cut off flush later. To ensure that the boards are tightly compressed during the next steps, lay 2-inch strips of wood across the top and screw them onto the table surface. (For the pictured project, screws were driven into the tabletop because the table was going to be distressed. Don’t use this method if a smooth, clean finish is desired.)

3. Flip the table over. Rip down 17-1/3-inch 2x4’s for the short sides of the skirt frame, 53-inch 2x4’s for the long sides and 8½-inch mitered pieces for the diagonal corners. Create pocket holes with the pocket jig and clamp so that the frame will later screw into the table.

Figure A

4. To assemble the skirt, nail the pieces together, leaving space at the corner for the 4x4 legs that will be inset 3½ inches from the table corners. Position the small mitered blocks, or cross braces, diagonally from the table corner so they hold the frame pieces together.

5. Screw the skirt into the table top through the pocket holes with 1¾-inch screws.

Figure B

6. With a handsaw, chamfer 4 inches of one corner of each leg so the legs fit flush along the cross brace, as well as the rail and stile where they meet. Attach the legs through the cross brace with dowel screws.

7. Flip the table over and unscrew the 2-inch wood strips. Cut the top to the desired length with a circular saw. (This project was 72 inches long by 33½ inches wide, which allowed for a 3½-inch overhang on all sides from the skirt.)

Figure C

8. If you’re going for an Old World feel with the table, distressing it will give it a great look. Try using various sharp implements that will make random holes and marks on the table, and follow it up with a torch for a charred look.

9. Mortise the area where the iron bands will fit by making a shallow cut with a circular saw that will be the outline of the bands. Go back with a router and remove the rest of the inlay area.

10. Bend the ends of the iron bands in the vise grip so they’ll hug the edges of the tabletop.

Figure F

11. Carefully slip the iron pieces on using a hammer and block, gradually pushing the bands toward the center of the table until they reach the routed areas. Attach them with four carriage bolts.

12. Seal, sand and stain the table. Be sure to protect the iron by covering it with tape while staining.

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