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Old 03-29-2017, 03:35 PM   #1
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Dining table from old door


I normally don't post anything online until I have a project finished, but if I don't spell out some of the details here I'll probably forget them. So some background on this project is, I rent an office above a small town 19th century hardware store, my wife is an interior designer and has office space there as well and works part time for the store below.

The building/business owner is having a new house built, and has been coming to us for some of the design elements and minor advice. As she has seen some of my woodworking projects, we've been discussing my building her a dining table to seat 8-10.

Well a couple weeks ago my wife was in the old basement of the building and came across this weathered old door that someone made years ago and talked the owner into having me make it into a table. It was taken down over 25 years ago after an addition, and was probably at least 50-50 years old then. Based on the hardware used, like a fencing staple that looked like it was made by a blacksmith for a door latch, and a leather strap to pull the door closed, I would say it's older than any of us realize. It is made of presumably pine, 7/8" thick tongue and groove beadboard with the beads on both sides of the boards. It is double thickness, with one layer being vertical and the other layer being set at 45 degrees. It wasn't a project I was initially excited about, but after talking to the owner about new materials cost vs reusing something that came from her store with sentimental value, it's actually seeming like a fun project. I stripped and lightly sanded one corner of it before the final decision, just to see what I was up against. If you look close, you can see the bottom was sitting in about 8" of dirt when we dug it out. Also in this pic you can see I've got stuff around to work with for the legs.









She let me go ahead with my recommendation to disassemble and reassemble the door instead of using the slab like it was (it flexed a lot, being just nailed and screwed), so I am gluing the planks together in one layer, then rearranging some of the boards from the second layer to make a perimeter around it like a picture frame, and get it back to its original thickness. After reassembly, I plan on recessing and reattaching the triangle portions of the hinge plates flush with the top surface, after cleaning them up and painting them black.



At this point I have about a third of the top diagonal planks removed, sanded smooth, and glued together in pairs so they are still narrow enough to go through a sander or planer if needed.



As it came from out of a hardware store and going to the owner of a hardware store, we will be leaving a lot of the screw holes and installing new black headed slotted screws in place of the old ones, even though they won't be holding anything. She has given me freedom to do whatever I feel without consulting her.
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Old 03-29-2017, 04:24 PM   #2
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Re: Dining table from old door


I'm not sure what it looking at...shape wise, I mean.
Did you cut up this wood already? what kind of wood is it?

What size and shape table do you want?
The screw holes can be filled in with wood plugs made from
the same wood. We've done it many times, successfully.

We used old oak pulled down church kneelers that were covered in leather,
and full of screws. You canno't see the filled in screw holes once we filled
and glued them in and then sanded them.
You need to run all the wood through a planer.

I'm a big fan of repurposing old wood as well as a lot of other stuff.
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:14 PM   #3
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Re: Dining table from old door


shape wise it will be a rectangle, right now it's about 4' by 6.5'. The side that had the boards going diagonally was what we chose for the top. I've pried the planks loose because there were so many gaps and so much play I didn't feel comfortable leaving places for food to get in. I have glued the tongue and groove together in the planks in pairs, so I have pieces about 10" wide to work with (the last pic is just them sitting there, not glued yet). I will be using wood filler in some of the really bad spots, such as where they had 20 nails around the door latch.

I have made no cuts in the wood, only run it through the sander about 10-15 light passes with 100 grit. My first cut will be after the rectangle is reassembled to square it up to prep for the "picture frame" surround.

I really don't plan on running it through a planer, as I want the beads to be visible through the new finish (even though I have sanded them down some already).

As far as wood plugs, I'm adding screws back in for effect, not for function. Everything structural will be fastened from the bottom a bit more securely.
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:53 PM   #4
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Re: Dining table from old door


ok, sounds good to me. Consider this, instead of screws -- what
about using hammered bronze nail heads that are used in
upholstery? They would be decorative as well as a neat looking
fill in. Do you know what I mean? You just hit them in using a hammer.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:31 PM   #5
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Re: Dining table from old door


Hmm you bring up a good point with using something besides screws. I was thinking I would duplicate the countersunk screw look, but in many of the holes that had a rusty screw, it would put it far beneath the surface, meaning I'd either have to back them of and epoxy the threads, or have another place to collect food or dirt. However, if I used something like you suggest I could easily pound them to the desired depth, and use it like a plug without it being a plug. I don't know that I'd use the furniture ones I'm thinking of, though, as those are usually domed, right?
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:33 PM   #6
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Re: Dining table from old door


The other thing I forgot to mention is that I'm going to use a wood bleach to remove the water staining from the bottom of the door where it was in dirt. It is coming along pretty good, but I don't really want anything about it to say what was bottom or top or give any indication it was close to rotting, because it wasn't.
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:43 AM   #7
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Re: Dining table from old door


Yes, they are domed, however only a little.

eBay seems to have good prices on them.
or check out upholstery sites or shops.
I just googled -- upholstery nail heads and saw a lot.

I always wanted to do a wood project with some nail head trim.

The hammered bronze is what we use when we do upholstery.
Those are classic and my favorite (it's the one on the right) However,
they're many styles to choose from.
The sizes are usually 5/8" diameter.

The standard width for a dining room table is about 42"
Our table is 42" X 7'

If you decide to do this instead of screws...keep in mind that you can randomly
put nail heads into the table top in other spots in the table
(where you don't need them to cover holes) to make it look more evened out as well as intentional.

I also envision them on all four corners of the table ... perhaps seven down
each corner with a space between them (maybe a 1/2" space) to furthur
dress it up. Do you know what I mean? One smack on the pointed edge,
then six more down each end. To get it even -- make a cardboard template
so that you to get the 1/2" space even. Mark out your template spaces
then cut a little V out and get all your nails partially set in and remove
the template.
If you like this idea. Think about leaving a space of wood ( let's say 5" to 7")
then repeating the placement of the seven nail heads along the table edge...
then another 5" to 7" space
and repeating the nail heads until you complete the entire table top.
of wood and repeat the nail heads
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Dining table from old door-image.jpg  
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Old 03-30-2017, 04:15 PM   #8
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Re: Dining table from old door


Does standard size really matter? She wanted a table that would seat 10, but would settle for one that seats 8. I was thinking if I put a 2-3" frame around it it would get me to roughly 51 x 82 (possibly less depending on how much is trimmed to make it square), and two people could sit on the ends.

Those nail heads would look decent I think, but I'd probably have to fill the holes with the bondo type wood filler to get them to stay in place, as the holes are over 3/8" at the top and some are over 1/4" where the screw shank was (some I had to hammer out).

When you say the corners of the table, do you mean on the top surface, or the perimeter? Either way it may accent it well. I will, however, be painting the hinge plates black, so something in black may be best.
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Old 03-30-2017, 04:19 PM   #9
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Re: Dining table from old door


Today I got the rest of the table disassembled and all nails pulled out. Of all the boards I brought to my old boss's shop, only two needed repairs with wood glue before I could run them through the sander. Soon I'll be able ot lay out the entire rectangle again and decide if I want to glue it up permanently before trying any bleaching. I do know that before I make any cuts to square it up, I'm going to screw some junk wood to the bottom sides to hold it rigid for all the moving and cutting.
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Old 03-30-2017, 11:49 PM   #10
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Re: Dining table from old door


Here's the boards as they will be arranged. Still quite a bit of work to clean them up and bleach the worst areas, but she wants a dark cherry/mahogany type stain, so I should be able to blend it pretty well.

My daughter's rocking horse has those hammered nail heads around the padded seat, so I'm going to pull some out and test the look of those soon.



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Old 03-31-2017, 04:56 AM   #11
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Re: Dining table from old door


When you square off the table and cut down the left side how wide is the table?
Is this for a dining room? How's big is this room? The reason I ask is if you plan
on using an area rug, most popular size is 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 or 9 X 12...and
the rug should be under the chairs as well. On my 42" wide table I can get
two people sitting on each end if I have to. Did you say that your table will
be 4' wide (48") finished? I think that's a great size and you can easily
get two people on the ends.

Are all those holes screw holes? The upholstery tacks come in different sizes.

Good that you can try it out, and yes, I mean along the top edge of the table.

A cherry mahagony stain will cover well. You plan on using a penetrating
stain and not a poly shades stain I hope. A penetrating stain will really
show off the grain of the wood nicely. I like Minwax stains.
I've used a lot of English chestnut and Special Walnut mixed together to
get a nice red hue on different pieces that I've stained.

That table is going to look real nice... You had the vision to see an
worn out and tired old door transformed into a lovely dining table.
Like Michelangelo he saw a hunk of stone and started to chip away at it
until he released David who was inside the stone all along!

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Old 03-31-2017, 08:01 AM   #12
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Re: Dining table from old door


The current dimensions are roughly 47.5 x 78.

I'm going to start by cutting the right side straight, as that will allow me to get the hinge plates uniform on it and aim for the original holes on those. The shop I have access to has an Altendorf table saw with a sliding table left of the blade, so I can easily make the first cut wherever I want then use a perpendicular fence and cut it squarely.

All the random round holes scattered around are screw holes. Any holes grouped together around damaged parts are nail holes or plug holes where latches and fence staples had pulled out.

I have used minwax stains a lot on oak, with red mahogany being one of my favorite. However I think she'll want this darker. I have plenty of sample boards to try stains out on.

Actually my wife had the vision, and I have the wife and the access to tools I could never afford!

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Old 03-31-2017, 08:03 AM   #13
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Re: Dining table from old door


Also the owner keeps repeating that she still cannot envision the finished product. So I've stopped giving her updates or glimpses a few days ago and told her to stay out of it and trust me.

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Old 03-31-2017, 08:12 AM   #14
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Re: Dining table from old door


Oh, I thought this table was for you.
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Old 03-31-2017, 08:14 AM   #15
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Re: Dining table from old door


Nah, although I'd take the finished product. It's for the owner of a 19th century hardware store, where this door was found in the basement.

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