I don't know, what the hell, let's build a table
Posted on 08 April 2012
The outdoor table we had at our house was one of those round, glass-topped things with an umbrella sticking through the middle of it. It did its job, holding plates and forks and glasses, but on the whole it looked like it belonged in its native habitat—a large, deteriorating apartment complex in Orlando circa 1989. It was time for a change.
I wanted to make a table using found and/or recycled materials. I wanted a rough-looking table that could hold a wine glass and over which one could have a heated, drunken argument that lasts deep into the night until just what the argument started over is forgotten and oh, it's time for more wine.
Outside the studios there is an area where other businesses stack their wooden pallets and discarded wood. A quick web search turned up several table ideas using pallets, so I picked one I liked at Far Out Flora, a gardening website out of San Francisco. They had built a table top out of pallets, built a recessed planter in the middle and filled it with succulents. Perfect! I modified the design a bit because I wanted a long rectangular table and the Far Out Flora table was square.
The most difficult part of the entire project by far was removing the wood slats from the pallets. The slats are attached using specialized grooved nails that are incredibly difficult to remove without spitting the the ends of the wood. I used a 2 pound sledgehammer, a small crowbar, patience I didn't know I possessed and several bloody patches of my hands and forearms (There may be a chance I have tetanus—if so, this post will be updated with photos of jaw swelling and spine fractures caused by muscle spasms).
I measured out how long a table I wanted and put marks on the floor. Then as I pulled slats off I would place them within the marks, trimming where necessary. I cut out 8-inch sections from the middle slats to accomodate planting.
Using 2 x 4 lumber I found outside near the pallet pile, I made a rectangular frame that was a few inches smaller than the table top. I made a second frame for the planter and put a piece of scrap plywood for the bottom. Holes were drilled in this piece for drainage. I used some 6 x 6 posts I found in a Dumpster for the legs. When the table was finally completed, I sealed it with Thompson's WaterSeal.
Once the table had been moved to the backyard, it was time to fill the planter. We had to buy the succulents after we were caught uprooting ones from local yards. I'm kidding. I kid.
Kim took over for the fun part. She loves gardening and leaps at any chance she gets to wear her "Tuff Chix" gloves. We went with more varied sizes of succulents than the Far Out Flora design. We thought it gave the display "more interesting shape and interest" or something like that.
So there you have it: how I built a table using mostly found materials, or, the most boring HGTV episode you've ever seen.
Join us next time when we build a car out of plastic bags from Target.