We’ve been wanting a new coffee table for a while now. We wanted something that would withstand the destruction of little kids but also had the unique look we wanted. We couldn’t find anything we liked that wasn’t crazy expensive or poorly constructed, so we decided to build our own. We once again scoured Craigslist for wood and came across an old 30″x 30″ Pecan factory floor piece that weighs about 50–80lbs. We paid $50 a piece for the wood and hope to build and sell one to offset the costs of the one we’ll be using.
We did a bunch of research for different ways to finish old wood and how to go about getting the look we wanted. This factory floor had years of wear and grim impacted into the wood so we knew just taking a belt sander or orbital sander would never work. We ended up buying a hand-held electric planer and setting it at a low setting like 11/32 so we just took off a very tiny amount. If you’ve never worked with a planer before they can be a little tricky and take some getting use to, but in this case we didn’t care that much if it had some imperfections to it.
After planing it we sanded it down really well. Not being professional wood workers our planing left slight lines where we applied harder or softer pressure while working through the piece. So we started with a heavier grit sand paper like 60 and worked our way up to about a 220 grit, just kinda smoothing everything out. After that we washed it down good, waited for it to dry and then did one more light sanding to get it ready for finishing.
After planing and sanding the pecan had a beautiful look to it so we just decided to do a finish coat of minwax satin polyurethane. We didn’t want it to have a high shine at all and thought the poly would last the longest and give the protection it needed from the boys. A trick we learned throughout finishing wood using poly is to make sure you stir it well in the beginning of your project and then stir again lightly every 10 minutes or so. You don’t want to stir it hard to add extra bubbles but the dulling agents they use to create the satin look settle to the bottom quickly.
While we were finishing the wood and waiting for it to dry we ordered some hairpin legs to our desired length. When the legs arrived, all we did is adjust them where we liked, pre-drilled and attached them to the table. We were very happy with the outcome of this table and so far the kids love playing on it and under it but thanks to its industrialness they’ll never be able to wreck it and if they do we can just sand it down and refinish it again.