Carport + Patio


Semi-DIY Outdoor Table | 7th House on the Left

As Ash mentioned in this post, since we rarely (if ever) park our car in the carport, we’re now in the process of turning the carport into a covered patio of sorts. One of the first projects on our list was to find a table to use as an “outdoor entry table”. Ideally, this table would not only be nice on the eyes but a functional project table as well as a buffet for entertaining outside.

While driving down the back roads of Hanover, Ashley and one of our good friends happened upon a random middle-of-the-week yard sale where a man was selling a bunch of tools and boating equipment. What caught Ashley’s eye was this huge work bench, complete with a steel cover on the top with an attached vice for $20. Not only was it clearly a work bench, it was a bit worse for wear. The vice was pretty rusted and the steel top was in even worse condition. The rest of the table was all sorts of different colors (in a bad way). Of course, Ashley, being the DIY optimist, went ahead and bought it, knowing whole-heartedly we could restore it back to its former glory – well, a new kind of glory. She and our friend lifted the 100+ pound table into the back of the SUV and away they went. As Ash put it, “It was a beast!”

When she got this massive table home, I’m sure she could read the doubt all over my face. The first thing we decided to do was take the vice off (which is why it isn’t in the photo above). We both agreed it was too rusted for us to do anything with, so we decided to sell it. Much to our surprise, someone offered $30. We took them up on the offer seeing as how it was more than what we paid for the table! At this point, Ashley was feeling pretty proud of herself!

While we liked the idea of having a metal table top, it was really rusted and rotted. After a lot of going back and forth, we finally deemed it unusable and took it to the dump. Luckily, underneath the metal were wide planks of wood in pretty good condition.

You can’t really tell much in the photos, but the table was filthy! It had been used somewhere with lots and lots of motor oil. So, we decided to pressure-wash the table to try to remove as much grime and grease as possible. The pressure-washing action completely changed the color of the wood (more so in person) and brought us to a nice “starting point” to work with. NOW I was seeing the potential Ash was all excited about.Β Once the table was all cleaned up and the top removed, here’s what “the beast” was looking like…

Unlike the rest of the table, which is made of extremely solid pine, the shelf on the bottom was made of cheap particle board. Since it was still in good structural order, we decided to leave the particle board there and cover it with wood planks.Β Lucky for us, we happened upon exactly what we needed: wood shipping pallets. Yet again, another on-the-side-of-the-road find.

I took the pallets apart (it took the majority of two and a half pallets), pieced the planks together like a puzzle one by one, screwed them into the plywood then trimmed the edges with my circular saw. After was all said and done, it turned out pretty well!

Here’s another close-up of the planks on the bottom shelf…

After the planks were installed, I sanded the whole table… by hand. Now I’ve never been much of a woodworker, but even this simple of a design took a LOT of elbow grease to sand by hand. My father-in-law offered his vibrating sander, but I decided I just had to put my own sweat into this table. Plus, I thought sanding it by hand and purposely doing it uneven here and there might make it look a bit rustic – in a good way.

To tie in with our soon-to-be espresso patio furniture (more on that here), we decided to go with a dark walnut stain. The table completely soaked up the stain and we wanted an extra dark color, so it took two quarts to stain the entire table. On top of that, we did three coats of matte polyurethane.

Looks like a bit of a “Plain Jane” at the moment, but we’re planning on adding some wall art, accessories and lighting in the near future (again, more on thatΒ here).

After a few good long hours of drying time, we were super happy with the end results! Β We really like not only the functionality, but the overall look. The table has a lot of cool deep grooves and nicks here and there, so we don’t have to worry about it getting beat up when we work on projects (gives it character, right?), but it is still nice enough to use as a buffet during outdoor get-togethers.

We’re keeping our eyes open for storage baskets to put on the bottom shelf. They will be perfect for grilling essentials and outdoor toys for our friend’s kids.

Despite my early reservations, I had a lot of fun doing this project. It’s great to work on something where you can see the immediate benefit of your work but even better when what you’re working on is super-functional. Of course, I owe it all to Ashley’s great eye for the potential of things I would simply write off as junk. Maybe I’ll have to trust her judgment more on this kind of stuff in the future… just don’t tell her I said that! ; )

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  • Reply
    Casey @ wafflingdesign
    August 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    It looks pretty darn good considering you paid -$10 for it! Cant wait to see it all “styled up”

  • Reply
    Jessica @ Decor Adventures
    August 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    What a perfect find and the color looks great. I’m sure you’ll get lots of use out of it!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2012 at 6:34 am

    That looks great!!!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I wish I could find stuff like that in my area. It looks great! I even liked it before you stained it. Love your blog–keep up the good work.

  • Reply
    Staci @ My Friend Staci
    August 10, 2012 at 9:53 am

    This is fantastic! Amazing what the stain did. Can’t wait for you guys to start using it! And isn’t it funny what kind of junk people will pay for?? (in reference to the vice)

  • Reply
    Christina @ Homemade Ocean
    August 10, 2012 at 11:21 am

    When will you boys learn to trust us girls! Looks awesome!!!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Amazing vision- it turned out great!

  • Reply
    Christine @ Casa-de-Christine
    August 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    This table turned out great! New to your blog but excited to check things out. Love your blog layout and header, etc- did you guys do this yourselves?

    • Reply
      August 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks! Glad you found us!
      Yep, I do the graphics and Greg does the coding. Teamwork! haha : )

  • Reply
    Caitlin // Desert Domicile
    August 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Oh wow, your table turned out amazing! I love how chunky it is and all of the imperfections give it so much character πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Felicity @ Waist & Wallet
    August 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    That’s one good looking free table. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Morgan {Style Oyster}
    August 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I love good finds like this! And it is a great patio table with plenty of room for entertaining. Will make a nice buffet for sure! I need to go rummaging through street trash more often…I am a Goodwill junkie though lately!

  • Reply
    Aimee P
    August 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    This has to be one of the best finds I’ve ever seen! Unbelievable!

  • Reply
    August 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    An awesome table! Looks great, great size and tremendous character. Love it and love your blog:)

  • Reply
    Melody K
    August 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    If you had bought a reclaimed wood table of this size it would have cost an easy $500 at best. This was a major find. Kudos to both of you.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Definitly agree with a lot of the comments, with being one of the best finds ever!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Wow! Just found your blog through a link on, and I love it πŸ™‚ I’ve added your blog to my rss-reader, and I’m looking forward to following you.

  • Reply
    Erin {Home Everyday}
    August 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

    This is amazing! I love the dark stain too. This would be perfect place to put an icey pitcher of sweet tea!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I think it looks gorgeous! My grandfather once made a table out of a church door. This looks very much like an antique made of even older reclaimed wood! Go you!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Wow! That doesn’t look “plain jane” at all. That table has so much character and I’m loving the antique feel. Well done!

  • Reply
    Daryl @ Cape Coral new homes
    November 15, 2013 at 6:37 am

    It was a great idea to use pallet planks to cover the bottom shelf. It really completed the beautiful rustic look!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    This is gorgeous! Would you be able to advise me on the best way to paint an old Walmart particle board TV console table? It’s currently black and I would love to add a shock of color (I’m thinking brick or turquoise). Would spray paint work?


    • Reply
      December 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      I think spray paint would work as long as you throughly prep the surface. A little sand paper action and primer will do the trick. Hope that helps!

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