From Scraps to Riches

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Project by SwainCustoms posted 07-13-2012 07:16 PM 5609 views 5 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was driving around with a buddy and we found this bin that said free wood. It didn’t really have much to offer just a bunch of rotten old scraps from some fencing and decks. After checking it out we continued driving up the road to find more scrap wood. We came across an auto glass place that had a huge pile of scrap and pallet wood. When looking at it I could tell that there was a bunch of poplar in the Heep, All still really clean, and pretty much milled into 4 foot lengths. There was a lot of staples in the pieces, they were pretty easy to get out, but when cleaned the poplar looked great. I went back a couple of times to fill up my trunk, and cleaned the wood in a couple of hours. The next day I milled the pieces nice and square with my jointer and planer. After being able to see what I could work with I decided to make a coffee table. My planer is only 15” so I made 5 15” slabs at about 4 feet in length planed them smooth and then biscuit jointed them together to make the table top. I glued a couple pieces together to make the legs thicker, I then cut and tapered the legs to give a nice clean look. After I attached the apron to the legs with pocket screws and then the apron to the table. I put a 1/4 round as the profile for the table, I would have liked to use a table edge bit but don’t have one. And there you have it a table from rags to riches. My next step is to put a finish on it. I don’t now how stain will take to such a soft wood like poplar, but I figure if I use a dark stain and a conversion varnish clear it should come out looking real nice. If that is a fail then I will have to paint it and use some distressing tech to get a more rustic look. Let me know what you think. I thought this was a great wood score for being in San Diego, finding hardwoods is difficult especially down here.

-- Zach @

31 comments so far

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 2462 days

#1 posted 07-13-2012 07:25 PM

If you just put Laquer on it ‘No Stain’ it will Turn out Yellow with some black streaks in it.

Click for details

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View SwainCustoms's profile


74 posts in 1677 days

#2 posted 07-13-2012 07:36 PM

Really nice I like the inlay. Thanks I think this is the way I will go with it. Your table is much nicer one day I will get there. Thanks for the input.

-- Zach @

View Revrand1's profile


37 posts in 1959 days

#3 posted 07-13-2012 07:39 PM

Looks great! Sometimes when I am driving, I will see pallets and think about what kind of projects I can do. I was given a planer and have yet to fire it up for a project! This table is great inspiration!

View Ethan Harris's profile

Ethan Harris

300 posts in 1566 days

#4 posted 07-13-2012 07:58 PM

Pallet and scrap gold mine! I work with this stuff too.



-- Ethan, CT: Check out my Small Business at & also follow me on twitter

View TexasJim's profile


86 posts in 2658 days

#5 posted 07-13-2012 08:27 PM

If you put on a seal coat of shellac first (Zinser Seal Coat at HD) it will keep the Poplar from blotching when you stain it.

-- If the world was a logical place, men would be the ones who ride horses sidesaddle.

View Pallirondack's profile


66 posts in 1585 days

#6 posted 07-13-2012 08:41 PM

Excellent! An auto glass store, eh? Hmmmm…... might have to take a drive……..

-- David, Spring Hill, FL -- making projects from recycled pallets

View SwainCustoms's profile


74 posts in 1677 days

#7 posted 07-13-2012 09:26 PM

Nice! Ill check out zinser seal when I go to stain it. Auto glass install and repair place should have a bunch of nice pallets. Shipping windshields calls for clean quality packaging.

-- Zach @

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270 posts in 1814 days

#8 posted 07-13-2012 09:27 PM


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19 posts in 1613 days

#9 posted 07-13-2012 10:41 PM

nothing beats free wood !!!!!!!

-- Douglas Bigelow

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7121 posts in 1999 days

#10 posted 07-13-2012 11:40 PM

+1 for Texas Jim

Great table Zach and a good use of resources.

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3996 posts in 1830 days

#11 posted 07-13-2012 11:40 PM

Very nice find, save and job.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 1887 days

#12 posted 07-14-2012 01:42 AM

nothing beats free wood !!!!!!!

Except maybe free beer and tools! My best score was a Penn State Industries 3.5 hp dust collector with canister filter. Free! Retails for over $1,200!

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

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8351 posts in 2036 days

#13 posted 07-14-2012 03:19 AM

and it works too

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

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5424 posts in 2426 days

#14 posted 07-14-2012 06:08 AM

Wonderful project, nicely done, thanks for sharing

-- Norman

View Rick's profile


8287 posts in 2455 days

#15 posted 07-14-2012 09:04 AM

Very Nice Project Indeed! Well Done!


-- Hope Everyone Is Doing Well! .... Best Regards: Rick

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