The DIY Scrap Table

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This DIY table is a great example of upcycling something old into something new.
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This leg template shows the appropriate cuts that need to be made.
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A side view of the table project.
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An illustration of the trestle base.
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In "Guerilla Furniture Design," Will Holman provides several innovative designs for re-purposing old cardboard, wood, plastic and steel into something that can be used in the home. From desks made from old doors, to tables made from scrap, this book offers a way to make modern furniture with salvaged parts.

More often than not, it can be far more fulfilling to find something constructive to build with an old piece of wood rather than throw it out. Guerilla Furniture Design (Storey Publishing, 2015) is a great resource for anyone looking to reuse old or discarded materials. Author Will Holman illustrates this perfectly with this DIY desk made from a used door, proving that the material may be old but something completely new can be made. 

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Guerilla Furniture Design.

Scrap Table

Nothing beats a gathering of friends around a big table, raucous with laughter, food, and wine. Nothing brings a room of strangers together like sitting at a community table on bench seating, elbows rubbing. The Scrap Table is 12 feet of gathering goodness, made of lots of tiny pieces laminated with glue and threaded rods. A trestle base is laminated right into the top, making structure and surface inseparable. All the variegated pieces, planed and sanded smooth, turn the wood into petrified strata.


• Two 8-foot 2x6s
• Two 8-foot 2x8s
• Wood glue
• 1 pound 3-inch coarse-thread #8 drywall or deck screws
• Scrap wood strips, 1-3/4 to 4 inches wide
• 2 pounds 2-1/2-inch coarse-thread #8 drywall or deck screws
• Five 1/2-inch-diameter x 36-inch galvanized threaded rods
•Ten 1/2-inch galvanized nuts
• Ten 1/2-inch galvanized washers
• Polyurethane glue
• Two 3/4-inch-diameter x 36-inch galvanized threaded rods
• Eight 3/4-inch galvanized nuts
• Sixteen 3/4-inch galvanized washers
• Finish of your choice


• Pencil
• Tape measure
• Miter saw
• Block plane
• Drill/driver and 5/8 and 1-inch spade bits
• Square
• Circular saw and straightedge guide
• Ratchet wrench
• Clamps (optional)
• Ratchet straps (optional)
• Hacksaw
• Locking pliers
• Belt sander and 80- and 100-grit belts
• Orbital sander with 120-grit sandpaper


1. Cut the 2x6s into eight 48-inch blanks for the legs. Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner of each leg piece, then cut each into two triangles with the circular saw. You should end up with eight leg blanks that are 5-1/2 inches wide at one end and sharply pointed (0 inches wide) at the other.

2. Miter the wide end of each leg to 15 degrees, making sure to register the factory edge of each blank against the saw’s fence. Cut off as little as possible to achieve the miter. Measuring from the freshly mitered end, along the factory edge, cut each leg to length at 31 inches, with a 15-degree miter that’s parallel to the first. Ease all cut edges lightly with a block plane or sanding block.

3. Measure up 8 inches from the thin (floor end) of each leg and drill a 1-inch hole, centered in the width of the piece.

4. Prepare the 2×8 trestle boards by making two marks along the bottom edge of each board, 18 inches in from the ends. Then make a mark 2 inches down from the top at the end of each board. Connect these two marks and cut with a circular saw to create the taper, as shown at right. Ease all cut edges lightly with a block plane or sanding block.

5. Align one leg on one trestle so that the wide end of the leg is flush with the top of the trestle and the factory edge intersects the end of the taper in the trestle, as shown at right. Glue and screw the pieces with four 3-inch screws. Repeat to install the seven remaining legs, creating two trestle assemblies.

6. Lay one trestle on the ground. Begin building up the tabletop by applying an even coat of glue to a strip of wood and fasten it onto the trestle with 2-1/2-inch screws so the top of the strip is flush with the top of the trestle. Continue in this fashion, building up strips of wood with glue and screws. As you build up the strips, use a straightedge to check that the top surface is remaining flush, flat, and square to the broad face of the trestles. The intent of this design is to make a large table out of otherwise wasted small scraps, so feel free to piece together tiny bits; just make sure that each layer is made of a consistent thickness of wood, and that the seams are well-glued and lapped from layer to layer. Around the legs, miter the ends of the strips to match the angle of the 2x6s, locking the legs into the tabletop. Stop when you have built up about 3 inches of strips on one side of each trestle.

7. Lay out five lines: one in the center, end-to-end; two each centered on the legs; and at about 64 inches from each side of the centerline (this will be about 8 inches in from the ends of a 12-foot table; adjust according to your planned length). Drill holes at these lines with a 5/8-inch spade bit, taking care to drill perfectly vertically. As you add layers to the tabletop, you will continue to drill these holes, eventually creating lines of holes for the threaded rods that penetrate through the whole tabletop, as shown at left.

8. Continue building up one side of each trestle until you have 10 to 12 inches of strips, then flip the assembly and build up the other side about 5 inches, continuing to drill holes for the threaded rods. Aim for a total tabletop width of 30 to 34 inches (15 to 1 inches for each trestle assembly). Be sure to keep the total width under 36 inches so the threaded rods will reach all the way through.

9. Gather a group of friends to assemble the table. Push the five 1/2-inch threaded rods through the five holes in one half of the top so the rods stick out of the middle an inch or two. Coat the middle seam of both halves of the tabletop with a mixture of standard wood glue and polyurethane glue, making sure not to leave any dry spots.

For another project from Guerrilla Furniture Design, try this:DIY Desk from a Door

Excerpted from Guerrilla Furniture Design © Will Holman. Photography by © Kip Dawkins Photography and © Ryan LeCluyse. Illustrations by © Koren Shadmi. Used with permission of Storey Publishing. Buy this book from our store: Guerilla Furniture Design.

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