Lauren's Dining Table from salvaged SC Cotton Mill

  • Advertise with us
Project by Scott Oldre posted 09-20-2015 07:48 PM 4360 views 26 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started thinking about and designing this table in Dec 2013, after I’d taken the table my son had grown up with, up to Michigan for his new house. This left my step daughter Lauren without a table. So being the guy I am, I said I’d build her one. I’d made up my mind I wanted something special, so I started looking for some cheap walnut in the spring of 2014. Picked some up from North of Charlotte which they guy said had been kiln dried. Got it home, put it on the saw and immediately got a shower…definitely WET. Too far to drive it back, so hung on to it and it’ll get used eventually. At $3 a B/F I should have known better. Then in Late 2014, I found another seller of some slabs in Ashville NC. At least I knew these were fairly fresh, but still couldn’t use them to build the table, so they sit in the attic drying naturally for some project in the future. Spring of 2015, I read an ad in CR about some reclaimed flooring and roof materials from a Northern SC cotton mill. Went to look at it..rough rough, but hey, why not, it’s got history. So finally the table got started.

What you see here is a summer’s worth of planing all the old stuff (paint, creasote, spillage of everything) off and got some dimensional wood. it was 2.25” thick when I started and I took about 3/4 ” off during the process. Some stuff had amazing grain, some didn’t. Took my time and started laying the useable pieces (yeah, lots of splits, dry rot, etc in the bunches I bought. par for the course for this table build). Laid them out into the top first, then whatever was left would be the bottom and a bench to come. I’m scared I’m not going to have enough for the bench, since the last 4 pieces I have are either split or have more twist than Elvis. But there’s the challenge, isn’t it.

No metal pieces in the table, and the only thing left to do is to turn some locating pins to mate the top and bottom the same way every time. The top weighs over 100# and I can’t move it myself. It’s 6.5’ long by 3.25’ wide. Finished in natural BLO/MS/POLY blend on top, and the same on the bottom with a 1/3 bottle of transtint mixed in. Only sanded the edges to prevent slivers, and left the knots and such alone.

Lauren has only seen the top in person, but has seen it on Facebook and says she is excited beyond belief. My son, now thinks he’d like to trade his table for hers…..sorry son..snowballs chance in a hot place before that happens.

Hope you like it. I particularly liked the idea of the forked wedges against the dowel. Hadn’t seen it but in one book and decided to try it.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

29 comments so far

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 4489 days

#1 posted 09-20-2015 08:28 PM

Nice leg design.
The wedge is also interesting. It looks like it should keep everything tight. AND can be readjusted if necessary.
It is so rewarding when a PLAN finally comes together. GOOD JOB !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View dshute's profile


229 posts in 4178 days

#2 posted 09-20-2015 11:44 PM

Nice build and materials.

-- dshute, Warsaw, New York

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4182 days

#3 posted 09-20-2015 11:49 PM

I love wood with a history and yours certainly qualifies! The design and joinery are very cool. I know about cleaning this kind of wood up but yours was WELL worth the effort. Great job!!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View rtbrmb's profile


915 posts in 3880 days

#4 posted 09-21-2015 12:01 AM

Great story & the wood top is beautiful. I am also very impressed with the base design. I looked at your whole gallery of projects-very impressive.

Thanks for sharing.

Bill in MI

View SteveGaskins's profile


762 posts in 4079 days

#5 posted 09-21-2015 12:19 AM

Scott, very impressive table build. Love the breadboard ends. Nice to know you are from SC, too.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View Mark's profile


1084 posts in 3466 days

#6 posted 09-21-2015 12:20 AM

Outstanding job Scott. Talk about beauty and the beast (rough lumber / finished table). Well done.

-- Mark

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1993 posts in 3461 days

#7 posted 09-21-2015 01:55 AM

Wow! You knocked it out of the park with that one. Love the base that you made

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View John's profile


2192 posts in 2762 days

#8 posted 09-21-2015 03:30 AM

If I ever get around to making a table I’m going to remember this one, beautiful!

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View TTF's profile


154 posts in 4669 days

#9 posted 09-21-2015 03:45 AM

Great job. I love the grain.

-- Troy | | The more I see nature, the more I am amazed at the Creator. - Louis Pasteur

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 3386 days

#10 posted 09-21-2015 06:21 AM

Awesome job.

I see you drawbored the breadboards, which I’ve noticed often in large table tops. Is that a necessity or a precaution with larger stuff?

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2971 posts in 2555 days

#11 posted 09-21-2015 06:36 AM

I read the story with interest, Scott, and nowhere did you mention what the wood is, aside from its provenance. Is it Pine? Whatever it is, it’s an outstanding piece of work. Large pieces/lotta lumber, especially salvaged lumber, really push my buttons. There are no more old barns or cotton mills in my area, so big hauls are somewhat out of my reach. I do what I can with pieces of furniture people leave out on the street when they’re done with them. That, and reacting like Pavlov’s dog any time I hear chainsaws.

-- Mark

View whope's profile


267 posts in 3937 days

#12 posted 09-21-2015 10:53 AM

A beautiful piece.

I’m curious to how you attached the top to the table.

-- Measure it with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, cut it with a Hammer.

View Gary's profile


25 posts in 3698 days

#13 posted 09-21-2015 12:04 PM


-- Gary

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

1128 posts in 4923 days

#14 posted 09-21-2015 12:11 PM

Colonel Travis, I used Titebond III only in the very center of the breadboard ends, the rest is only held together by the 1/2 Walnut pins on either side. The end pins have the hole through the tenon rasped out so the top can move naturally with the seasonal changes without splitting. The tenon going into the breadboard end is about 5/8” thick. Since this is the first time I’ve made a table this size, I may have done it all wrong and down the road it’ll crack. I’m hoping not, but if it does, it’s “rustic” right :)

Mark, the wood is an soft pine. I’m not an expert on which type of pine, and the salvage person, didn’t know either, but there was a mixture of rift sawn and quarter sawn pieces, and all were tongue and grooved. The edges of the boards were so ripped up, I couldnt use the original tongue and groove, so sliced them off. Used an 8 inch by 8 foot piece of OSB, screwed each board to the OSB, and ran the OSB down the fence of the table saw to joint one of the edges.

Whope, the top is heavy, and with the final addition of some hand turned “locating” pins on each end, the top will not actually be secured, but just resting on the base. The pins will be glued into the table top, then allowed to drop into matching. but elongated (for movement) holes on the base. I have been throwing around the idea of making the pins long enough and large enough to have at least one on each end be pinned themselves, but not sure if it’s necessary.

The top is all splined using 1” x 3/8” pieces of oak for strength. It was easier to take the router with a winged cutter and run it down the jointed sides, than to try and use biscuits for positioning while gluing.

For all those interested, the source for the reclaimed material is located in Chapin SC, and if you PM me, I can get you his phone number. He has varying quality, and since I spent way too much on wet walnut, I had to get some of the nastiest pieces but got a great price. $25 for each 16’ piece, but remember, a lot of it had twist and cup and warp.

Thank you all for the kind words and the enthusiasm over this table. It truly is appreciated and it tells me I’m in the right hobby and I’ll keep doing it as long as I can. Thanks again!


-- Scott, Irmo SC

View eztrigger's profile


162 posts in 3419 days

#15 posted 09-21-2015 04:24 PM

the grain coloring on the top is just great. reminds me of the sunburst colors you see so often on guitars. excellent work.

-- "Some get spiritual 'cause they see the light, and some 'cause they feel the heat." --Ray Wiley Hubbard

showing 1 through 15 of 29 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics