From Scraps to Riches

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Project by SwainCustoms posted 07-13-2012 07:16 PM 7150 views 5 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was driving around with a buddy and we found this bin that said free wood. It didn’t really have much to offer just a bunch of rotten old scraps from some fencing and decks. After checking it out we continued driving up the road to find more scrap wood. We came across an auto glass place that had a huge pile of scrap and pallet wood. When looking at it I could tell that there was a bunch of poplar in the Heep, All still really clean, and pretty much milled into 4 foot lengths. There was a lot of staples in the pieces, they were pretty easy to get out, but when cleaned the poplar looked great. I went back a couple of times to fill up my trunk, and cleaned the wood in a couple of hours. The next day I milled the pieces nice and square with my jointer and planer. After being able to see what I could work with I decided to make a coffee table. My planer is only 15” so I made 5 15” slabs at about 4 feet in length planed them smooth and then biscuit jointed them together to make the table top. I glued a couple pieces together to make the legs thicker, I then cut and tapered the legs to give a nice clean look. After I attached the apron to the legs with pocket screws and then the apron to the table. I put a 1/4 round as the profile for the table, I would have liked to use a table edge bit but don’t have one. And there you have it a table from rags to riches. My next step is to put a finish on it. I don’t now how stain will take to such a soft wood like poplar, but I figure if I use a dark stain and a conversion varnish clear it should come out looking real nice. If that is a fail then I will have to paint it and use some distressing tech to get a more rustic look. Let me know what you think. I thought this was a great wood score for being in San Diego, finding hardwoods is difficult especially down here.

-- Zach @

31 comments so far

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 4379 days

#1 posted 07-13-2012 07:25 PM

If you just put Laquer on it ‘No Stain’ it will Turn out Yellow with some black streaks in it.

Click for details

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View SwainCustoms's profile


74 posts in 3594 days

#2 posted 07-13-2012 07:36 PM

Really nice I like the inlay. Thanks I think this is the way I will go with it. Your table is much nicer one day I will get there. Thanks for the input.

-- Zach @

View Revrand1's profile


46 posts in 3876 days

#3 posted 07-13-2012 07:39 PM

Looks great! Sometimes when I am driving, I will see pallets and think about what kind of projects I can do. I was given a planer and have yet to fire it up for a project! This table is great inspiration!

View Ethan Harris's profile

Ethan Harris

300 posts in 3483 days

#4 posted 07-13-2012 07:58 PM

Pallet and scrap gold mine! I work with this stuff too.



-- Ethan, CT: Check out my Small Business at & also follow me on twitter

View TexasJim's profile


86 posts in 4575 days

#5 posted 07-13-2012 08:27 PM

If you put on a seal coat of shellac first (Zinser Seal Coat at HD) it will keep the Poplar from blotching when you stain it.

-- If the world was a logical place, men would be the ones who ride horses sidesaddle.

View Pallirondack's profile


66 posts in 3501 days

#6 posted 07-13-2012 08:41 PM

Excellent! An auto glass store, eh? Hmmmm…... might have to take a drive……..

-- David, Spring Hill, FL -- making projects from recycled pallets

View SwainCustoms's profile


74 posts in 3594 days

#7 posted 07-13-2012 09:26 PM

Nice! Ill check out zinser seal when I go to stain it. Auto glass install and repair place should have a bunch of nice pallets. Shipping windshields calls for clean quality packaging.

-- Zach @

View Kelen's profile


270 posts in 3731 days

#8 posted 07-13-2012 09:27 PM


View jackmaster's profile


19 posts in 3530 days

#9 posted 07-13-2012 10:41 PM

nothing beats free wood !!!!!!!

-- Douglas Bigelow

View waho6o9's profile


9135 posts in 3916 days

#10 posted 07-13-2012 11:40 PM

+1 for Texas Jim

Great table Zach and a good use of resources.

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3747 days

#11 posted 07-13-2012 11:40 PM

Very nice find, save and job.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 3804 days

#12 posted 07-14-2012 01:42 AM

nothing beats free wood !!!!!!!

Except maybe free beer and tools! My best score was a Penn State Industries 3.5 hp dust collector with canister filter. Free! Retails for over $1,200!

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3953 days

#13 posted 07-14-2012 03:19 AM

and it works too

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View NormG's profile


6575 posts in 4343 days

#14 posted 07-14-2012 06:08 AM

Wonderful project, nicely done, thanks for sharing

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4372 days

#15 posted 07-14-2012 09:04 AM

Very Nice Project Indeed! Well Done!


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

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