Reclaimed Wood Tabletop

How an old pine log cabin door became the table top on a beautiful hearth-cooking work table with two drawers and turned oak legs.

Woodturning and Woodworking - Advanced Project

I made this reclaimed wood tabletop for a friend who asked me if I could use an old pine door that she had gotten from a log cabin for the top of a hearth-cooking demonstration work table that I was going to build for her. Here is what I built.

Picture of old door used as a top for a hearth-cooking work table.

Below, and on the following pages, is how I did it
- and how you can do it - through this
woodworking and woodturning project. The door-top measures 3/4"x33"x72". A 72" high door tells you that this is an old door because cabin doors had low clearance due to the generally short height of men in colonial days. The table stands 31" high.

This old door was made of three pieces - two wide boards and a little narrow board. The boards were put together with crosspieces containing a large number of small cut nails. The nails were so long that they would have gone completely through both the crosspiece and the board if driven in straight, so they were driven in at a 45 degree angle. I had to take the crosspieces off because I had to remove one of the boards so that I could close a gap that had opened up between the big boards and the little board. I put some glue on the boards and then clamped them together. Meantime, Cody and I had to drive every cut nail in the crosspieces out so that we could reattach the pieces, just as the original builder had, to the boards while they were still in the clamps. After the glue had dried, I removed the clamps.

I first thought about cutting the outer edges off of the boards to square them up because they were a little bit ragged. However, after looking at the old door and seeing that it truly is very old, I wanted to leave it as it was. I left each hinge mortise and the hole where the knob was in the boards. I did fill the knob hole with plastic wood and then stained the wood so that it would match the board.

It took a good while to sand the whole door using the belt sander. The finish was evidently a vegetable dye because, in sanding it, you cannot get it out. I am going to leave it as it is and just put a clear-coat finish on it. In the last picture below, you can see where it looks like the sanded door has streaks in it. That is part of the original finish - and that is the way that I will leave it. All in all, I think it made a very attractive "reclaimed wood tabletop."

The pictures below show you the old pine door that I am talking about.

Picture of old pine door segment.

Picture of hand-cut nails used in old pine door.

Picture of underside of old pine door.

Picture of old pine door.

Picture of sanding old pine door.

Picture of sanded old pine door.

Go to Door-to-Table 2

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