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Making a Table From Rubbish

I found an old flat drawer someone had left on their drive. You know the sort of thing, they had had a clearout and put all kinds of things with a notice to help yourself or it would be going to the tip. It appealed to me. Though it was a drawer, on its own it looked like a big tray and I thought I could use it to carry food and drinks to the end of the garden when we have guests.

an old drawer and pipes going to be made into a table

I made it look like this:


Here is how.....


I sprayed it black with some old black paint we had which covered up the scuffs, the glue on the side and the blob of paint in the corner and it looked quite smart. I also had orange spray paint so it could just have easily been orange.

a tray being sprayed

I wasn't planning on spending anything on this nor make any major effort as it was all just triggered from seeing an old drawer on someone's drive.


It occurred to me that I could add some separate legs or some kind of stand so I had somewhere to put it down that wasn't just on the floor or taking up my entire garden table. The tray/drawer is easy to store but legs are not unless they are collapsable (which I would struggle to make) so ideally I wanted something I could leave out all winter. I had some old wood I could use but that would mean buying outdoor varnish and all the faff associated with that. In our pile of scraps and cut offs was some pipe and I realised if I could join that together it would make great legs, be weather proof and look better than wood too.


At first I thought I would join them with bits of wood but I knew they would rot. They would be free but would not last. So, I bought self solder joints from Screwfix and it came to under a fiver.


pipe joints

A plumber would not like these joints because they are self-soldering, meaning they come with the solder in them so you heat them up and they seal. But plumbers know these do not work well and often leak. I didn't need them to be waterproof though and I am not very practiced in soldering and it tends to come out a bit blobby when I do it, so for this they would be perfect. All I would have to do is heat them up. Plus they look more lumpy than normal joints which added to the industrial look I liked with this.


I made a little plan to work out what lengths of pipe I need and what would join with what.



This meant I needed 8 pipes of 14cm, 4 of 26cm and 2 of 22cm. I had enough pipe just about for that if I made no cutting mistakes.


So I got my pipe cutter. A magical machine that costs about £10 from a Wickes or B&Q.

I marked the pipe with the length I wanted with sharpie and pushed it into the cutter lining the cut lines up with my sharpie mark. You have to push it in til it pops.


And then you twist and twist and the blades inside cut it exactly. I always want to twist it the wrong way, which does not work, so have marked an arrow on to help me get it right as it jams if I go the other way.



I kept doing that til I had all my lengths.


To solder the joints to the pipe the ends have to be clean. But you don't wash them, you rub them with a dry brillo pad and they come up shiny and ready to be soldered.


I joined it together roughly to check it all fitted BEFORE I STARTED TO SOLDER IT. In case I was missing a bit or it didn't work. It was all fine but did reveal a design flaw. There is a weakness in doing it like this as the pressure on the T joint means it would easily pivot and collapse if anyone put anything heavy on it. As I am not giving it to anyone and am using it myself this is fine, but this would not be good enough usually and would need two more cross bars. I like the way it looks like it floats though and it will be strong enough for what I need.



Fetch the blow torch


Everyone has one of these lying around at home right? So I got my blow torch and blasted it. The pipes did not get that hot, but for safety I did use a gauntlet, goggles obviously and I put it in a vice whenever I could so I wasn't holding it past the first few joins.

It started to look like this:

And here is me in action pretending I am in Flashdance, even though that is welding and I am soldering. Close enough. What a feeling.



I kept going joint by joint until I had my cuboid shape. The tray sits on top. I used it all summer, the tray is not weather proof so i keep it in the shed. I liked it so much I have brought it in for Christmas now to do jigsaws and play games on.




And all from an old drawer being chucked out.






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