One day, we found this broken down office table in a dumpster and we thought, that would make a great worktable. We already had some wooden slats from an Ikea bunk bed. Thus began the process of combining scraps to make something usable. Follow along to see how we did it and learn how you can do it too.
This instructable will show you how to go from a dumpster find to a solid work table by adding legs and frame made from other scraps of wood.
The list of tools used in this project are:
- Cordless drill/driver
- Miter Saw
- Measuring tape
- Board that can work as a tabletop (Our dumpster find)
- Wood to use for legs and frame (Ikea bed slats)
- Wood Screws
- 90 degree angle Brackets
- Bicycle tyre tube
Step 1: Find and Cleanup Your Raw Materials
We hauled the piece to our workspace. It was too heavy to carry, so we ended up using a dolly to move them.
Clean the surface that will end up as the tabletop to remove stickers, labels, paint or stains. This way you are prepared to discard portions or plan to work with any imperfect areas that you cannot get clean. Also remove any leftover screws or brackets or hardware the piece may have from its previous life. A power drill will make this step whiz by. We are saving the 90 degree angle brackets for later. They can be used to attach the leg frame.
Step 2: Cut Legs
Time to cut 4 pieces of lumber to desired length on a miter saw. If you don’t have a miter saw, look out for a makerspace near you. We were lucky to have UMakers right next door.
We wanted it to be an appropriate height for kids to use. So we measured against an existing table leg to determine the length we wanted to cut the lumber to. Setting up a saw stop on the miter saw allows for repeatable cuts without inconsistencies.
Remember: Thicker and wider lumber will make for a sturdier table. Keep in mind how much your top weighs to judge how well it will be held up.
Step 3: Cut the Horizontal Pieces for the Frame
The frame is a box that will be used to mount the four legs to the table top.
In the name of safety and the spirit of over engineering things, we decided to add a bottom support. The bottom support(frame) will provide additional sturdiness by keeping the lower parts of the legs from moving. So a total of eight pieces will be needed. Determine how far apart you want the legs to be to figure out how long the pieces for the frame should be. Ideally the frame should be almost as big as the tabletop and the legs go at the corners of the table. As a result, if you are making a square table, the pieces for the frame can all be the same length.
For rectangle table like ours, four pieces of one length and four pieces of the other length will be required. and using a saw stop on the miter saw, cut the pieces to desired length. If needed, adjust the stop block to the second length and cut the other four pieces.
Step 4: Screw the Frame Together
Time to bust out your power drill again.
Clamp the pieces of the frame down to hold the frame together. Then pre-drill holes on the sides. Make sure to use appropriate size bit for the wood screws you will be using. Screw in the wood on all sides before removing the clamps. We didn’t photograph this process for all four corners but you get the picture, right?(Pun intended)
Repeat with the second frame and ensure that both frames are the same size and line up.
Step 5: Attaching the Legs
Remember we are using the second frame for bottom support. So before screwing any legs in, mark a line on the leg pieces to indicate where the bottom support frame will go.
It is easiest to start with the top frame. Use clamps to help stand the legs up against the top frame. Drill pilot holes for pocket screws that will go into the leg. After screwing the legs to the top frame, move onto the bottom support. See Step 6 for more pictures and instructions.
Step 6: Bottom Support
The top frame should be on the table with the legs pointing straight up at this point.
Find the mark you made on the legs and clamp the bottom support frame to the legs. Another person to help at this point would be great. If not, you can also turn the frame and legs on the side, so you are not fighting against gravity all by yourself.
Follow the same process of drilling holes and screwing the legs in as we did for the top frame. Once those are screwed in, the frame should be pretty solid.
Step 7: Mounting Leg Frame to the Tabletop
To mount the frame and legs on the tabletop, turn the tabletop upside down and lay it down on the floor or any convenient surface. At this point we have moved the legs and the tabletop to its final destination, where it is intended to be used.
Lay the legs on top of the table with the top frame touching the tabletop. Using some 90 degree brackets, attach the top frame to the tabletop. We are using some brackets that were attached to the board when we found it.
Step 8: Rubberized Feet
We wanted to make sure the table isn’t going to slide around easily. An old bicycle tyre tube will do the job and doesn’t cost anything.
Measure the old bicycle tube against the width of the leg and cut it to size. Use the glue to adhere these to the feet. Your workbench is ready to go!
Step 9: Marvel at Your Creation.
We made this table a little lower than traditional worktables because it was going to be used by children at Be A Maker Club as the break down table.
Remember: Keep your eyes peeled for scrap that can work as a tabletop. It can be a door you end up reclaiming or side of a bookshelf or even a complete tabletop someone has discarded!