DIY Butcher Block/Pipe Table

A year ago, I posted this article, which linked to a really amazing table constructed out of a reclaimed piece of butcher block and cast iron pipe fittings for legs, like so:

I’ve always loved the industrial feel of it, and when I picked up an old Kelsey Letterpress earlier this year, I knew this was exactly what I wanted to build as a work table for it.

Unfortunately, even after a ton of scouting around on Craigslist and my local habitat stores, the Husband and I still couldn’t manage to find any salvaged butcher block. We couldn’t imagine using any other material, though, so after a little brainstorming we devised a plan to make our own.

The table was not going to be huge, about 2×3′, so the material list was simple, and mostly pulled from the list in the original DIY post:

For the tabletop, we picked up a stack of 1×3 pine boards from the hardware store, pipes for the legs, and 8 flanges to make feet and to attached the legs to the table top. We also managed to snag some rub-on stain for $3.00 on clearance, some black and blue spray point to go over the legs with,  and finally, a length of chain for a couple of dollars (Chain? What for? You’ll see…)

In Which We Make a Tabletop…

Back in the basement, the prep process for the butcher block itself was quick and easy. For speed sake, we decided to scrap the idea of going with multiple lengths of wood in each row (although we definitely could have gone that route) and instead cut all the boards to the same length.

Then, we began assembly, board by board. To make sure everything stayed tightly together, we applied a bead of wood glue between each new layer of wood, and used a nail gun 4-5 times on each row. Since we were going for an aged, industrial look, we even plugged some nails on the outside to help hold the outer pieces together with no plans to putty over them.

Sanding was the longest part of the entire process. Not only did we have to smooth down all the ends, but because the wood was all of slightly varying heights, we had a ton to sand down on the top, too. A planer would have made this process a LOT faster. Eventually we got so tired of sanding that we cheated and left what would be the bottom untouched.

Since we were going for an old industrial look, we actually pulled out the length of chain we purchased earlier and used it to take out some suppressed frustrations on the table top by giving it a thorough beating. We also found some old oily rags and dragged them across the top, and gouged out a few areas with a screw driver.

Then, we stained the final product and let it sit to dry.

… And Then Some Legs

We went with an H construction for our legs as well, and because they just screw together, the hardest part of the base assembly was making sure each side was even.

Since we were going for the whole vintage industrial look, we decided to spray paint the legs.

If we were smart, we would have done it before attached them to the table top, but we weren’t, so we used a garbage bag and painter’s tape to protect the surface. First went on a solid coat of bright blue paint. After a few hours of drying time, we layered on black so that there were just hints of the blue showing through. There was tape and stickers on the parts from when we purchased them, so we just left them there and painted over, to give it an even more vintage, used feel.

And the final product: We’re pretty happy with the results, and even thought about making a few extras to sell and give to friends and family.

Project Cost & Time

Though we sort of failed on the mark of keeping an exact cost on everything, the project didn’t run much more than $100 for all the  materials. We went with the cheapest pine available, and purchased in lengths where we could maximize how many strips we could cut from each. The biggest part of the cost was for the legs; next time we might try hairpin legs instead.

Total production time was around 4-6 hours, but a lot of that time was sanding (which could be GREATLY reduced if you could get ahold of a planer) and the in-between times when we were waiting on stain to dry.

13 Comments on DIY Butcher Block/Pipe Table

  1. Chris
    June 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm (2 years ago)

    Awesome table, can I ask where you found the pipe fittings? I have a similar idea for a desk.


  2. Liz Fulghum
    June 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Chris, thanks! I think you could do an awesome desk with the same idea. Hopefully you’ll share pics when complete.

    As far as the pipe fittings, both lowes and home depot have them… I would just check for the best price. You can find them in plumbing world.

    Good luck!

  3. James
    August 20, 2012 at 10:09 am (2 years ago)

    Such a great project. Thanks for taking the time to put it up

  4. Adam
    November 5, 2012 at 7:38 am (2 years ago)

    Table is awesome!what length/diameter pipe did you use?

  5. Anne
    November 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm (2 years ago)

    PERFECT! I have a large butcher block that I keep in a corner of my kitchen counter for when I’m rolling out dough or doing alot of chopping, but I’m ready to move it. I was thinking of using pipes and flanges to build a table, but with industrial and locking wheels at the bottom so I can roll it under the bar portion of my counter. Glad to see someone has already done something similar and thanks for the notes so that I can learn from your process!

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    April 8, 2013 at 10:03 pm (1 year ago)

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    July 16, 2013 at 10:56 am (1 year ago)

    I was suggested this web site through my cousin.

    I’m not sure whether or not this post is written through him as no one else recognize such particular about my trouble. You’re wonderful!

  8. Aaron
    July 27, 2013 at 8:51 am (1 year ago)

    I LOVE this project, and about to make a bar using the same concept. I do, however have 1 question: What did you do about the feet? Are you afraid that those plumbing flanges will scuff your floors? (my floors are laminate/hardwood). Do they make some kind of round felt pad or something that goes under the feet to keep from tearing up the floor below?
    Keep up the GREAT work!


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1Pingbacks & Trackbacks on DIY Butcher Block/Pipe Table

  1. [...] project that fits your budget and your style. You can make a desk out of various Ikea parts, use metal piping with a piece of butcher block, or just put some paper reams under the legs of a regular desk to make it standing [...]

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