You may start to notice a theme here with our original DIYs– we love reclaimed wood! Pallet wood and cull lumber are great ways to get beautiful pieces of wood that are absolutely unique in their color and finish, while still keeping your project at a very low budget. This coffee table idea started with an old trough that we picked up at an estate sale.
The trough before was dirty and had an ugly sticker label on the front. Since we knew we wanted this piece to be rustic, we actually rusted the front a little bit to get the sticker off and the strange writing you can see in the photo below.
First, we made a base for the bottom to raise the trough up off the ground slightly. This is made almost entirely from cull lumber and there isn’t much rhyme or reason other than creating a sturdy base for the trough to stand on. Our jig saw was our best friend in this project, allowing us to cut rounded corners to allow this base to fit perfectly underneath the trough. To preserve the bottom of the trough and not drill unsightly holes, we actually held these wood pieces on with brackets and hinges, which you will see later in this posts. Later we added wheels to this base to allow the table to move around freely.
Next up is making the table top. Since we are using reclaimed pallet wood and cull lumber from the hardware store, we really wanted to play up the unique textures and colors of these different types of wood. Each and every piece is a different thickness, width, color, and length. We simply laid them out in a manner pleasing to our eyes. Make sure that if you have drastically different lengths to your boards that you can still fit it on top of the trough without having to splice two boards together. We drew out the shape of the trough in pencil as we laid out the pallet wood boards.
To secure the boards together, you will turn to some trusty wood glue. This stuff is like cement, as long as your wood is unfinished it will adhere in a nearly unbreakable bond. To keep the boards together you can use large vice holds or ratchet straps, whatever is handy for you.
After that you will be making the braces for the top of your trough table. This is where things get a little bit fiddly. Because we want our table to be able to open and close, to serve as a functional storage unit, we need the braces to fit just securely within the interior of the trough so it can close firmly but still open without a fuss. This involved lots of measuring and trial and error that will be different for every shape and size of trough. Once we had everything properly measured, we secured the braces to the top of the table with wood glue and screws.
Now it is time to cut the boards down to their intended shape. Since some of the boards may have shifted during the gluing process, it is important to re-measure and re-draw the outline of the trough here.
Luckily pallet boards are usually thin, so it is easy to cut through them with a jig saw to achieve the desired shape.
Now, with the edge cut into the shape it is time to break out the sander and give the whole table top a smoothing treatment, starting with the edges.
With the sander, you do still want to preserve the character of the pallet boards, so don’t feel like you need to sand them all smooth or even. Just remove the splintery bits that can cause injury and make sure everything is exactly the way you want it. In this step, we also had to sand down our braces a bit further to ensure they would properly fit within the trough.
It is time for hardware! We rusted these with a combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to give them the look we were going for. These were used as the hinges to lift the table top, as well as to secure the base of the trough to the sides without drilling unnecessary holes.
With a little bit of clear wax to bring out the natural colors of the pallet wood, this table is done! It is perfect for a rustic inspired living room.
If you ran into a trough at an estate sale, would you make one of these?