At first glance, this mid-century sofa table seemed like a great find …
That would be a deal-breaker for most people–but not for me!
The more beat-up, banged-up or awkwardly patched-up a piece of furniture is when I find it, the more determined I am to make it beautiful again.
Here’s how I upcycled this old table from hole-in-the-middle-ugly to rustic-chic using a trendy–and free!–material (and my dad’s power tools).
The hole had been patched from the bottom, but did not line up evenly with the tabletop. Instead, it left a crater where the tabletop dipped down into the patch. I thought I might be able to sand away the edges enough so the crater would disappear, blending the patched section into the rest of the tabletop when I painted it.
That didn’t work.
I went ahead and painted the entire table anyway. Here’s what the table looked like at this point:
I decided that if I couldn’t camouflage the hole, I would cover it up instead. I knew just the material to use: an old wood pallet!
Wood pallets are really popular right now. They are being upcycled into everything from coffee tables to headboards to herb gardens. The wood is lightweight and–best of all–it is free. Check Craig’s List where businesses frequently give away used pallets or look for them near Dumpsters in industrial parks. (Personally, I draw the line at diving in!)
I happen to know where to find a huge stack of wood pallets right now–behind our shop, All Things New Again in Leesburg, Virginia.
My dad has been collecting wood pallets all around town for the shop renovation. He cuts them apart and reinvents them for all kinds of new uses, including a basketweave wall, baseboards, and framing around the interior windows.
I explained my idea to my dad, but I wasn’t sure how to achieve it. The tabletop measured approximately 18 inches by 44 1/2 inches. Wood pallets come in different sizes, but the pallets in my dad’s stash were averaging about 3 inches wide by 32 inches long.
We agreed it would be easier–and look great–to have the pallets overlap the table on all four sides instead of cutting them to an exact fit. My dad measured the table, jotted a few numbers on the back of an envelope and sketched out the design in less than five minutes. It was perfect!
We cut six boards at 30 inches and another six boards at 18 inches using a mitre saw.
Then we arranged the boards on the tabletop in six rows. Each row has one long and one short board, but we alternated the pattern so the vertical seams do not line up exactly.
Once the boards were in place, we secured them with my dad’s nail gun. This is a project that sounds really easy to do–and it was–because my dad had the right tools for the job. I would have been hammering away all afternoon, but with a few pa-ching, pa-chings of the nail gun, I was finished in just a few minutes. (Now I TOTALLY want my own nail gun for Christmas!) UPDATE: I totally LOVE the new nail gun I got for Christmas!
Here’s what the table looked like at this point:
I took the table back home and sanded the tabletop again. It still is not perfectly smooth–it is pallet wood after all–but I knocked off some of the rougher edges. Next I stained the tabletop with a dark walnut stain followed by two coats of polyurethane.
Here is a close-up of the tabletop. I love the rich tones where the wood soaked up the stain in some spots and not in others.
Here is another closeup of the corner. Pallet wood has a lot of flaws, but that imperfection is all part of its rustic charm!
And here is the finished table!
What do you think? I created this wood pallet tabletop to cover up a huge flaw, but do you think it would look good on other pieces of furniture?
Please let us know your thoughts as we consider future furniture projects for All Things New Again.
And if you try this project at home, please share a photo on our Facebook page. We would love to see how you do it!