When Instructables user jmitch77 replaced the old, pinewood garage door with a lighter, more modern aluminum one, he knew he didn’t want to just toss the old doors.
“I hung onto the panels since they were made with high quality pine wood and marine grade plywood,” he says.
One of the panels was converted into a workbench for the garage, and that gave him the idea of turning the other three into a dining room table.
First, he plotted out the table’s design in CAD, a design software program, to get as clear an idea of the project as possible.
Of course, when it comes to DIY projects, planning sometimes only gets you so far!
“My approach to this project was to try to plan as much as possible, but the majority of the work was trial and error,” he admits.
Each panel was coated in about 60 years worth of paint, so the first step was removing all of that to get down to the wood underneath.
He wasn’t sure if any of the layers were lead-based paint, so he was very careful to wear protective gear and to sand down any flaky pieces, as the underside would be left painted.
He advises any crafters out there to take the possibility of lead-based paint into consideration in projects like this.
When the paint was all removed from the top side, it was time to sand. And sand. And sand some more.
“The doors had either been stained on the inside or had just absorbed many years worth of dust and dirt as they were definitely dark and dirty,” he says.
He used an orbital sander for the ribs, and sanded the recessed areas by hand. A wire brush ended up working great for removing grit and dust too.
Near the bottom, the wood had begun to rot due to years of exposure, so about an inch was removed from the bottom edges.
He also rounded out the corners to get rid of any splintery edges.
And of course, the project was frequently checked on by the real boss.
After some deliberation about the style of the legs, jmitch77’s wife showed him a tutorial on how to make these farmhouse-style legs, which matched the rustic style of the doors perfectly.
The legs were made of new wood, so to make them match the aged look of the doors, jmitch77 used a torch to distress them.
Burning and sanding gives the wood a deeper tone and a variation in color and texture, and brings the grain out more.
He also stained the legs and coated them with polyurethane to keep them safe.
To prevent the doors from sagging when they were balanced on the legs, jmitch77 built a support structure for the underside.
He admits that he probably went overboard, but better safe than sorry, we say!
The support structure was attached to the underside of the doors, which still retained the old paint.
In case any of the paint was lead based, the paint had been sanded down and sealed to prevent any contact.
Next, the legs were attached. The support structure was also stained to match the legs and surface.
The doors had recessed pockets that needed to be evened out so the table could be used.
“I tossed around several ideas on how to fill the recessed pockets of the door sections,” jmitch77 says.
“The first thought was to fill them with concrete and grind and polish the surface much like a concrete countertop. However, if I did that, it would cover up most of the beautiful wood grain. So I decided on a clear epoxy.”
“Because of this decision, I found out how much epoxy is required to fill the recesses and cover an entire 48″ x 83″ table top, and also just how expensive it is!”
He doesn’t regret the decision, though. “Sometimes, finding the right solution to upcycle materials will cost you more money than just buying new ones, but where is the fun in that?”
After lots and lots of epoxy, the table had a smooth, even surface and a super-shiny gloss with some serious reflective qualities.
Plus, the beauty of the wood is completely visible.
And then the table was done! It looks amazing in the house.
You’d never even know that this used to be a garage door.
The legs blend with it seamlessly, and this table is a beautiful and elegant addition to the home.
Jmitch77 admits that it came out a little differently than he’d initially imagined, but that’s often how DIY projects go. But he’s glad he was able to give new life to an old item.
“I hope it inspired you to go out and use, reuse, and upcycle items to make beautiful furniture yourself! The less we throw away the better it is for everyone!” he says.
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