In my post about 30 ways to upgrade your shop, I talked about the saw horses I put new boards on and how I was going to use the old boards on a new project.
I considered many different projects to use them on but ultimately decided on an industrial style side table. I wanted to use iron pipe for the legs but have ya’ll seen the prices for iron pipe?? Even for a project this small, I was looking at a cost of at least $50 for pipe and fittings alone. That was quite a bit more than I was wanting to spend so I came up with an alternate plan – PVC pipe! All of my wood was reclaimed material or scrap I had on hand. After a quick trip to the store to get the rest of my supplies and I was ready to go!
I purchased (3) ¾” PVC pipes in 5 foot lengths, (4) ¾” PVC 90 degree side outlet elbows, (1) 10 pack bag of ¾” PVC caps (you can also purchase four individual caps for about $2.50), and a package of ¾” conduit straps (I would recommend using 1” straps with one screw hole instead of what I purchased. You’ll need a total of 8 straps.).
You will also need a can of Rustoleum Bonding Primer and a can of Rustoleum Hammered Black to get the iron pipe look.
With all of your supplies gathered up, it’s time to get started!
Because it needs time to dry, I started with the PVC pipe. I knew I wanted the legs to be roughly 24” tall so I cut the pipe accordingly for four legs. Be aware that the caps and elbows, as well as the depth of your top, will add to the height of your table. The length was marked on the pipe with a marker then I used a PVC hand saw to cut them.
It doesn’t take long to cut the PVC with a hand saw but I discovered later I could just use my miter saw. No need to change your blade. I kind of felt like a dummy when this finally dawned on me but oh well, I got a bit of an arm workout.
Once the legs were cut, I added the caps to one end of each leg followed by the elbows at the other end of each leg.
The next step is to cut the pieces that will form a rectangle to hold your top. Again, you will need to take into account the elbow pieces. I point this out because I didn’t and had to go back and cut them down later. The base of my table was 15” by 13 ¾” so I cut two pieces of pipe at 9” and two at 9 1/2”. I then started putting them together.
Here’s a quick tip for any time you are working with PVC. Mine had so much static that I could not get them clean enough to spray paint. I walked right into my laundry room and picked up a dryer sheet. These have so many uses and I was able to add another one to the list. Just rub the sheet all over the PVC and the static goes away as well as all the little particles that stuck to it.
Once the PVC was clean, I sprayed it with the bonding primer. The primer helps the spray paint stick to whatever you’re spraying and also adds a bit of texture.
In addition to the pipe, I used it on the hardware I was using for the table. You can see some corner brackets in the picture. I ultimately didn’t use them because I didn’t like the look they brought.
When the primer was dry, I sprayed everything with the hammered black paint. To get good coverage over the whole piece, you’ll need to make several light coats from many different angles.
While the stand dried, I turned my attention to the reclaimed 2x4s. The underside of them was the perfect condition for this little table top.
I measured the boards and cut them down into four equal pieces. The ends were a little rough so I cut them off too. The new wood will be covered. These came to be 15” each.
To secure the boards together, I got a piece of scrap quarter inch plywood and traced the outline. The overall size was 15” by 13 3/4”. The dimensions were a little too big for my miter saw so I just cut it on my table saw.
The plywood was attached to the reclaimed boards with my nail gun.
My next step was to give the top its first good sanding. I didn’t want to take away the character or color but I did want to clean it up and smooth it a bit.
To conceal the plywood and the new wood ends, I used an old cedar fence board as my trim. The trim will also cover the top of the PVC frame where it attaches to the table top.
Using my table saw, I ripped the fence board in half then cut it down to size on my miter saw. There are several different ways to join the boards around the table top. I chose to overlap each board on one end. I cut two trim pieces at 15 ¾” and two at 14 ½”.
To attach the trim pieces, I just used my nail gun and put several nails in each side. You’ll want to ensure that the top and the top of the trim pieces are flush. The easiest way to do this is to turn everything over on a flat surface.
When the PVC frame is completely painted and dry, it’s time to attach it to the table top. I placed two conduit straps on each side and screwed them into the bottom of the table top. You can see in this picture why I suggest the straps with one screw hole. I was unable to get them to stretch all the way over the pipe and, if I could have gotten them to fit, I had to account for the width of the second screw hole flap to ensure it would fit between the frame and the trim. You get the benefit of learning from my errors.
And that’s all there is to it! If you would like, you can add a clear coat to the entire table before it’s used.
There are so many colors you can paint the PVC is the black iron is not a look you want. You can paint them copper, silver, etc for a different metal look or any color your heart desires if you want a pop of color. Have you ever used PVC in place of metal piping? What projects of your own would you like to try this on?