This is our first project made entirely out of recycled materials: our round garden table. For this DIY project, we used::
- An old kids trampoline, 96 cm across
- Some square steel tubing scraps, 30 x 30 mm and 15 x 15 mm
- Thermally treated ash decking boards
The old kids 96 cm across trampoline
A few years ago, we received a gift from some friends of ours, a small trampoline for the kids, which was just 96 cm across. Since the trampoline didn’t have the legs, I welded some made out of round pipe. This way, the boys used it a lot. Since it stayed mostly outside, the foam protection on the edges got destroyed over time.
This is clearly in a state that it cannot be safely used. But we noticed the nice, round frame. It was reusable. Since we needed a new garden table, it was the perfect fit. The 96 cm diameter was just right for seating 4 persons. By the way, we meanwhile managed to fit 6 at this table.
The square steel tubing
What you see in the pictures below are some steel square tubing scraps. Some 30 x 30 mm that I saved in the past, in case they might come in handy.
I found two longer pieces for two of the legs. For the other two, I had to weld smaller pieces together end to end. We did the same with the small 15 x 15 mm tubing: used what was long enough and welded small pieces together for the rest.
Thermally treated ash decking boards
Last year, I had to repair an old deck made out of thermally treated ash wood. Some of the boards had to be replaced since they were either cracked or the edges torn. Anyway, it’s for sure they were not suitable anymore. I didn’t have to replace too much, but the old boards ended up in our workshop.
As you can see in the picture, the boards looked terrible. Actually, this is the part that I like the most: turning that horrible, cracked, splintered piece of wood into a beautiful board.
So, these are the thermally treated ash boards that we recycled.
These are the three recycled elements. How does one use them to get a round garden table? Here are the few easy steps:
Turning the trampoline in the frame for our round garden table
The first thing we did was to get to the round frame of the trampoline. For this, we first removed all the springs that kept the net on the frame. The springs are very strong. Since none was damaged over time, we decided to keep them for future projects. Who knows what they might come in handy for?
After removing the springs and the net, I used an angle grinder to cut the legs that I had welded to the frame. I took care to cut them as flush as possible, so the remaining frame was flat. On this frame I welded only four longer legs, instead of six.
Making the metal part of the round garden table
After a few days of looking online for different metal structure outdoor tables, I came to the conclusion that the best solution would be to weld four simple legs. The clasical four legged garden table.
Nevertheless, we had to think about attaching the wooden boards to the frame. We had two options:
- Whole boards across the table, or
- split the table into two halves and used boards half the length
For the round metal frame, I took into consideration the following elements:
- square tubing across in the middle
- the legs of this table
- extra braces for the stability of the table
- grinding and sanding the welds
- cleaning the rust either using chemicals or by sanding
- painting the frame of our round garden table
The square tubing across the middle of the frame
No matter what frame design we would choose, I first welded a square tubing across the middle of the grame. I was going to use it to secure the boards to the frame. It was going to be useful for screwing the boards, in either one of the two ways: long or short boards.
The legs of our round garden table
I then welded two 30 x 30 mm square tubing as legs. I welded these right at the ends where the center reinforcement was attached to the frame.
To establish where to weld the other two legs, I used two equal pieces of steel and formed a triangle together with the center bar. The tip of the triangle was going to be the position of the leg. (I did this twice, for both of the last two legs).
Small steel tubing for the extra bracing of the round garden table
In order to give the frame more stability, I welded two small 15 x 15 mm square tubing pieces between each opposing legs. I then welded these two small tubings at their intersection.
Grinding and sanding the welds of the metal frame
I throughly grinded the welds on the upper side of the metal frame. I wasn’t really interested in the tiny holes that might have appeared, since the table was going to sit outside, but under a roof. Technically, there should be too much water reaching the metal frame so it rusts I could have filled the holes using two parts car repair filler, but we just didn’t think it was worth the effort. Yet, a flat frame was very important. If it wouldn’t have been grinded flat, the wooden boards would have been uneven.
After finishing the welds, I test laid the boards in the two ways so we could choose. Finally, we went on with the second version, because of two reasons:
- we liked it better split in half at the middle
- I wasn’t sure that after removing all the damaged parts of the boards, I would still have long enough pieces for the middle. Since the thermally treated ash is quite expensive, I didn’t want to have to buy additional boards.
Cleaning the rust using chemicals
After the frame was ready, we cleaned the rust. This is how:
- sanded by hand to remove the thicker layers of rust
- applied the rust remover solution with a rag
- left a few minutes to interact with the rust
- wiped the metal frame with a damp cloth
It worked great. There’s a huge difference between the initial look, completely covered in rust and the final look of the steel tubing frame.
Painting the frame of this table
For protection, we used white paint specially designed for used metal surfaces. We applied the paint using a brush, taking care to avoid drips and to cover all the spots. At first, we thought about applying two layers, but we changed our minds. First of all, the paint was quite even and second, we can apply a second layer anytime, if we wish.
Finishing and installing the thermally treated ash boards on the garden table frame
We reached the step where we only had to shape the tabletop out of thermally treated ash boards. This is done in two steps:
- preparing the thermally treated ash boards
- shaping the boards to fit the round frame
Preparing the ash boards to be ready to become a tabletop
At first, we were thinking about screwing them to the middle cross steel tube. But, since it was pretty narrow, we would have struggled to bit two boards in the same place. We quickly realised that it would be easier to fit a small strip on each side of the metal tube, and screw the boards to these strips.
- cut the strip out of a larger board that I had planed earlier
- drilled screw holes and tapered them
- fitted the strip on the side of the metal square tube and scribed the locations of the holes
- drilled the metal with a drill
- fitted the strip to the metal tube using stainless steel screws
I did the same with the other strip. Each of these two strips were going to be useful for securing one of the ends of the boards to the table. The other ends was going to be screwed directly to the outer round frame.
So, we went on with the next step:
Preparing the thermally treated recycled ash boards
First, I planed two faces of each board, to clean the damaged wood and the remaining old finishes. The first couple of mm of each board was pretty damaged. But, underneath, the wood looked great, so planing the boards was a great idea. I then cut each board to the same width and passed the other two sides through the thicknesser planer. We obtained some wonderful boards. In the end, we sanded them first using 80 grit sandpaper and then moved on to 150 grit for a perfect finish.
The process of cutting and installing the boards was pretty difficult and time consuming. The first day, by the evening, we were able to install the first six boards. For each board, we followed these steps:
- fit the board to the frame in it’s place
- traced the curve of the frame on the back of the board
- cut the board by the traced line using the jigsaw
- sanded the edges and ends of each board
- beveled all the edges using the belt sander
- install the board to the frame using stainless steel screws
For each board the same process was repeated, until all the boards of the round garden table were ready and in place
It took me another day to complete this, so only the next day the table was almost ready. I finally sanded everything flat using 180 grit sandpaper on the belt sander. Here is how the table top looks after the final sanding:
The last thing I did was to apply decking oil. The final result is in the pictures.
And a little secret: Since we took great care in the sanding and finishing of each board, there are no planer marks, saw marks or any other marks on the boards. The surface is smooth and nice.
What do you say, is it worth recycling?