Dining table from trash wood

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Project by glatzenator posted 06-18-2012 01:04 AM 3080 views 9 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A couple months ago I took a good look at the pallets we had stacked up at work and I saw that some of them were made of nice hardwoods, and not in bad shape. Most of it was red oak but I think there’s some white thrown in there too. I brought the best-looking pallets home and started pulling them apart which is a huge pain if you’ve ever tried it.

I didn’t have a planer or jointer to work with so I used a handplane to roughly flatten the boards enough to rip them on the table saw. I had a Stanley #3 bench plane from somewhere around 1912 that I restored last year, probably would have been better to have a longer plane, but this did the job pretty well. I used 3/4” cabinet ply as a base for the boards, and attached them with a sh**-load of subfloor adhesive and trim head screws. Luckily the boards were all roughly the same thickness, so I just made a few passes over it with the handplane to smooth out the transitions from one row to the next. After I trimmed the boards flush to the plywood base, I went around the edge with a propane torch just for giggles. I think it adds a nice look. Then 5-6 coats of poly with very light scuff sanding (320 grit) between coats. Most of the joints were nice and tight but I added some wood filler in the nail holes and between boards, so that it would create a surface that’s easy to clean.

The legs are built from the 2×4 boards from the pallets, and the apron is some 1×4 pine stock that I salvaged from a demo job (using pocket screws to attach to the legs). I finished those using some black oil paint and a few coats of poly.

Not exactly fine woodworking, but I think pretty good for trash wood, a handplane, and a portable jobsite tablesaw. I’m real happy with it anyway.

13 comments so far

View svenbecca's profile


161 posts in 3808 days

#1 posted 06-18-2012 02:18 AM

I don’t think much of anything is trash wood. I like the table a lot. Good job. I love rustic and/or beat up.

-- A carpenter takes an ugly, knotted, twisted piece of wood and makes something beautiful and pure from it. Jesus is a carpenter, I am a piece of wood.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4572 days

#2 posted 06-18-2012 02:53 AM

Nice table.

I have about ten pallets, 7 of which have been disassembled. Dang those nails are hard to pull out. Hope to come up with a project or two to make use of the free lumber! :-)

Note: If the nails have been cut off even with the oak runners, how do you dig ‘em out? I seem to get the pallets that have been rebuilt a time or two and they just cut the nails off and nail on new boards. UGH.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View glatzenator's profile


42 posts in 3903 days

#3 posted 06-18-2012 03:10 AM

If they’ve been cut off even I just drive them in with a nail set. You have to be real careful about marking where the sunk nails are so you don’t try to cut through them later.

View seamuis's profile


31 posts in 3942 days

#4 posted 06-18-2012 03:30 AM

Damn I wish you wouldn’t have done that. I have a hard enought time throwing away any piece of wood bigger than 6”x2”, my shop has chunks of wood piled on every available flat surface in sight! Now, with you being the second person in a week to mention that some pallets are made of oak, i’m probably gonna have to move, get a bigger place! I guarantee i’ll find myself more or less dumpster-diving behind the local Wally-mart before the week is out! Helluva nice turnout tho, really. Good thinking!

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4373 days

#5 posted 06-18-2012 09:05 AM

Very Nice Work! Thanks For Posting!


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 3529 days

#6 posted 06-18-2012 08:48 PM

I’ll vote with the rest of them. You really out did yourself!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 3696 days

#7 posted 06-18-2012 09:19 PM

Nice job. And great re-use!

And I feel your pain regarding dis-assembling pallets. No fun!

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View Raymond Thomas's profile

Raymond Thomas

189 posts in 3559 days

#8 posted 06-18-2012 10:11 PM

A distressed dining table – you may have just created the next big home fashion craze! I believe that is a darn good looking table.

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

View Chuck Murphy's profile

Chuck Murphy

22 posts in 3623 days

#9 posted 06-18-2012 10:54 PM

When you and yours sit down to that dining room table for some family celebration or Thanksgiving dinner you will have a better idea of how fine that table really is and I suspect it will be more than good enough.

It looks like a fine job from here!

-- Chuck Murphy

View bampy's profile


75 posts in 3715 days

#10 posted 06-19-2012 12:21 AM

table is saaweeet, should take more pics though. nice to see the old turned into something that nice. great job

View oldnovice's profile


7769 posts in 4708 days

#11 posted 06-19-2012 02:47 AM

Trash to treasure an alchemists dream!

I love the results you achieved! The distressed look is gorgeous!

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View Roque's profile


65 posts in 3602 days

#12 posted 06-20-2012 05:41 AM

Really nice table. I’ve been thinking building something like that with some scraps I saved from a couple of jobs I did a few year back. Thanks for sharing.

View noob2wood's profile


7 posts in 3471 days

#13 posted 07-26-2012 01:57 PM

That looks awesome, just seeing that got me thinking, coffee tables and end tables would look great in that same style.

-- Measure once, cut twice..

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