2 Ways to Create a Table From Discarded Scaffolding

Finished coffee table - 2 ways to create a table from discarded scaffoldingScaffold-pole coffee table

In its proper environment, scaffolding is designed to be put flat on a truck and assembled around random-sized and shaped buildings, so it has to be pretty easy to assemble and adaptable. Another good thing for upcyclers is that this stuff gets abused on building sites and the poles get dented and run over a lot. Scaffolders do sometimes trim them down or try to straighten the poles out, but when they get too short, they’re useless and get dumped in the yard—if you pay your local scaffolding company a visit with some cash in your pocket, you’ll be surprised with what you leave with!

We produce all sorts of things from scaffolding. The angled frame on this design, topped with glass cut to your desired shape and size, is inspired by the coffee tables produced by American designer Isamu Noguchi.

ITEMS TO SOURCE:

  • Scaffold poles
  • Plastic end caps
  • Scaffold elbow joints
  • Glass—size and shape to order
  • Rubber glass protector pads

1. Measure poles

Decide on the height and width of your table—this will dictate the lengths of pole you need. Measure and mark the five lengths required.

2. Cut to length

Place each scaffold pole securely in a clamp and cut to length using a cutting disc on a grinder. Alternatively, you could use a hacksaw, but it’ll take longer. Always remember to wear protective goggles and gloves.

3. Smooth ends

Use a half-round metal file to smooth any sharp edges on the cut ends.

4. Stop ends

Seal one end of both the outer legs with plastic caps. Apply self-adhesive rubber glass protectors.

5. Assemble frame

Slot the poles into the elbow joints and use an Allen key (hex wrench) to loosely secure.

6. Adjust shape

Stand the frame up to make sure you have it in the desired position before finally tightening. Use a spirit level spanning the top in different directions to make sure the top is flat.

7. Making your template

Make a template for the glass top using plywood or thick rigid card. Take this to your glass shop for them to produce the glass top.

Sample template - 2 ways to create a table from discarded scaffolding
Sample template
  • A: Draw between points with ruler.
  • B: To create curved corners, draw around plates, mugs or other crockery.

8. Add glass top

Adding glass top - 2 ways to create a table from discarded scaffolding

Use 12 mm (1/2-inch) toughened glass with polished edges. Use protector pads to cushion the glass; its weight will keep it firmly in place.

Finished kitchen table - 2 ways to create a table from discarded scaffoldingScaffold-board kitchen table

I’m a huge fan of flat-pack and modular furniture—these scaffold fixings allow you to create your own. With just the twist of an Allen key (hex wrench) you can remove the legs of this table, offering flexibility and convenient storage. You could even take it outside to use as an impromptu picnic table. Scaffolding is designed to support the weight of a team of workers, so it lends itself particularly to table construction. The industrial aesthetic contrasts the rustic boards with the cool metal poles for a robust yet stylish dining solution.

ITEMS TO SOURCE:

  • Scafford boards
  • Scaffold board or plywood for braces
  • Scaffold poles
  • Scaffold mounts
  • Plastic end caps

1. Measure, mark and cut wood

Decide on the length of the scaffold boards you want for your tabletop. Use enough boards lined up next to each other to give you the width you want. Cut the boards square at a 90-degree angle, using the handle on your handsaw as your guide. Cut two braces with a 45-degree angled edge all around using a mitre saw. Sand ready for assembly.

2. Assemble tabletop

To create the tabletop, attach the individual boards together by screwing from the underside through the bevelled braces using countersunk screws. Alternatively, you can brace the top with a single sheet of plywood cut slightly smaller than the boards.

3. Cut poles

Decide on the height for the legs (the standard height for a table is 70 to 80 cm/28 to 32 inches from the top surface to the floor), then cut the poles using the cutting disc on an angle grinder. Secure the poles in a vice, and wear goggles.

4. Attach scaffold mounts

Attaching scaffold mounts - 2 ways to create a table from discarded scaffolding

Decide where to place the scaffold fixings, considering the most comfortable seating position of the users and the overall stability of the table. Drill pilot holes as a guide, then screw the scaffold mounts in position. Place a pole in each mount and secure with an Allen key (hex wrench). Add plastic end caps to prevent the cut ends of the poles from scratching the flooring.

Tip: Angling the sides of the braces at 45 degrees allows you to put your legs under the table comfortably, without bumping into sharp edges.

Max McMurdo officially started his career of turning junk into treasure as a child. In 2003, he established his business reestore, ltd. with the aim of designing and creating a range of upcycled furniture and accessories from objects destined for landfill. By 2007, reestore had won several design awards, and Max decided to pitch it to BBC’s Dragons’ Den for investment. After a successful pitch, reestore grew from a hobby fuelled by passion into one of the U.K.’s most respected designers and manufacturers of upcycled products.


Excerpted from Upcycling by Max McMurdo. Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group (£20). Out now.

images: Copyright © 2016 Jacqui Small LLP. Photographer: Simon Brown
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