Introduction

a finished coffee table made from a salvaged cabinet door
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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I find some of my best stuff on the street. Take, for instance, this knotty-pine door that one of my neighbors had trashed. I think it once belonged to an armoire because, unlike most of the vintage pantry doors I've seen, it didn't have a trace of paint. The unfinished wood had been babied like furniture, displaying the luster you get from years of waxing.

In search of a way to repurpose my street score, I did what I always do: I asked my friends. But this time, I expanded my circle to the tens of thousands of TOHers on Facebook.

And the winner is... the cabinet-door coffee table

You voted with your thumbs. And luckily for me, most of those thumbs endorsed the coffee-table idea. I'd been without one since my toddler took her first steps. Now that she's steady on her feet, I needed a replacement for the fragile glass table I'd given up. Plus, it's perfect for my kid-friendly furnishing strategy. The door is already banged up, so what more damage could be done? And there aren't any sharp corners for my little one to bonk her head on.

Though I was tempted to cover the recessed panels with Plexiglas to level the surface, I let them be, preferring to treat the rectangles as individual trays. Prefab steel table legs ($42 for the pair; Rustic Living on Etsy) made assembly quick and easy. The lower shelf is actually leftover tongue-and-groove flooring that I had in the workshop. So, except for the legs and fasteners, this coffee table was practically free. Follow along to see how it came together.

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    Tools List

    • cat's paw pry bar
      Cat's paw pry bar
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • Pencil
    • adjustable clamp
      Clamps
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • circular saw
      Circular saw

    Shopping List

    Small salvaged door

    Prefab steel legs;
    Rustic Living on Etsy

    Tongue-and-groove floorboards
    for the shelf

    ¾-inch wood screws

    ½-inch wood screws

    Wax-based wood conditioner