Rustic Barn Wood Coffee table

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Project by BeachedBones posted 07-26-2010 03:19 AM 5075 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Rustic Barn Wood Coffee table
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As luck would have it, I managed to snag another piece of old cedar barn wood from the same place as before. Since I love the coffee table I made from the last one, I thought hey! why not make a second for the other room?

This is how the beam looked,just cut to size and placed together. Pretty ugly with orange paint drips,water stains and the like. This beam had luckily already been planed down for me, the last one was still rough sawn and covered with paint when I got it.

It looks much better now IMHO, I absolutely love the character you get out of these old beams, with the nail hole stains, dents dings, discoloration and the patina of age.

It’s built just like the other one, 3” thick top and legs, friction-fit dowels hold the top and bottom together so they can be knocked off for transport. The only real difference from the old was is that I inlaid a couple pieces of scrap I had lying around. (Recycled door casing I think) I think it adds just enough without distracting from the beam.

It’s finished with tung oil and paste wax to “wake up” the character in the wood.

You can see in one of the legs and the top, there is a hole drilled for running wiring for the old building, there is still some white paint in there from the barn color.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

7 comments so far

View dean2336's profile


238 posts in 3986 days

#1 posted 07-26-2010 04:12 AM

great table,like to see older wood put to such good use.keep up the good work.

-- dean2336,nebr.

View TZH's profile


603 posts in 4217 days

#2 posted 07-26-2010 05:41 AM

Great table, great design, and great use of existing materials! Just the kind of design I’ve been looking for (thick slab top). These may sound like some really dumb questions, but what do you mean by “friction dowels”? Also, how did you joint the two beam pieces together? Did you just glue them together, or did you use dowels? The reason I’m asking is because it looks like I might be getting commissioned to do a large, thick slab dining table sometime in August (something I haven’t tried before), and I’m a little nervous because I really want to do it right. I plan to plank my own juniper logs about the same thickness as your tabletop, so this is going to be one heavy son of a gun (approiximately 3’ wide by 8’ long), and the friction dowel idea sounds like it would be perfect for what I plan to do, too. Again, great table, great design, and great use of existing materials. Thanks.


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 4478 days

#3 posted 07-26-2010 02:30 PM

I don’t think there are any dumb questions. After Lumberjocks is for sharing ideas, skills and inspiration right? What I mean by friction fit dowels, is that I used 1 1/4” poplar dowels. 1 at each corner, the dowels are about 2” long and I sanded a slight taper on the ends. I then made a spacing jig to ensure my holes had exactly matched spacing and drilled holes in the top of the legs, and bottom of the table. The sizing of the holes is very important, they have to be slightly smaller than the diameter of the dowels. This makes a tight fit when you hammer the dowels into the legs, then I lined up the leg with their dowel pegs (like a tennon without any glue) with the top, and hammered it in. The Friction from the tight fit holds everything together, but if you want to take it apart in the future, you just have to tap it apart again.

For the top I used biscuits and glue. 2 rows of biscuits, for the thickness of the wood. I though about using one long spline along the joints, but I don’t really have a router that’s up to that job.

Hope that helps you out my friend.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

View swirt's profile


6181 posts in 4048 days

#4 posted 07-26-2010 10:34 PM

Is one hole on each end elongated to allow for seasonal movement? That large top is going to breathe more in width than each leg-end is going to breathe in length.

-- Galootish log blog,

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 4478 days

#5 posted 07-27-2010 12:37 AM

I was more concerned about expansion issues when I made the first table like this. There’s been no issues with that. I’m not sure if it’s because the wood has such tight growth rings, or maybe because it’s been dried out for so long, or if it’s because every side is basically sealed up with the tung oil. Whatever the case it hasn’t caused me any issues so far… knock on wood. (I know where to find some)

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

View eric122's profile


141 posts in 4086 days

#6 posted 08-01-2010 03:32 PM

great job i love cedar nice work

-- eric underwood

View mesquite22's profile


42 posts in 3746 days

#7 posted 02-11-2011 02:46 AM


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