Upcycling. Lets Build Small mobile work table. Part 1

As an owner of the one of the word’s smallest workshop /smile I’ve always been in need of extra working and storage space.
My kid is growing up so she wants to try do some projects with real tool.
In addition she needs a place to keep some of her mats.
We need a place to get messy and don’t be stress over making a scratch or hole in table top.
I need a place to station Dremel drill press.
Et cetera.

Now to requirements – it needs to be small, mobile and affect our budget as little as possible.
It was a perfect time to visit my “warehouse” (small 3×6 storage “cage” – I’ll post pics later – in our apartments basement where I am storing all my mats) and check if we have something to work with.


It’s such a delicious word – upcycling.
Way better than “Duh, another piece of junk from garbage!”.
That does not mean you should keep everything in hope to “one-day-maybe-if-you’ll-have-time-and-space-and-be-in-right-mood-and..” reuse it.
Furthermore it’s anything but difficult to lost control and in a heart beat your place will turn into junkyard.
So try to figure out real value of item and what you can possibly do with it.

Upcycling is when an item at the end of it’s useful life isn’t broken down or thrown away, but instead repurposed or converted into something better than it was before.

eecosphere.com |: Upcycling : What Is It

I am a huge upcycling fan.
I got mats for most of my projects from things people or businesses trowing away or selling for huge discount price.
Like lumber from Home Depot or great plywood leftovers local school was throwing out. Or table tops turning into butcher blocks and so on.
I’ll talk ’bout it other time.

So, upcycling.
There was a metal wire cart in my so-called “warehouse”
I’ve got it 16 years ago from garage sale for couple of bucks and have been using it for years as a mobile stand for huge APC UPS server unit I’ve been using to protect for my studio. Studio is gone long time ago. As batteries does. But not this cart- it was serving as a kitchen cart and then as a storage cart, and finally was pulling apart and stored for years. No doubt it gets dusty and rusty.
But it’s a metal, it’s easy to reconfigure and adjust and easy to turn to whatever you want.
Plus it has a small wheels, so one more problem solved – mobility.

Find It. Clean it

First thing first – clean what you have.
Paper towel and windex will take care of all dirt and dust.
Next step is rust. To clean up chrome surfaces I am using aluminum foil and 3 in 1. First pass with foil, then wet surface with 3 in 1 and scrap it again. And probably again. Scrap it, oil it, clean it with paper towel. If you still have rusty spots – do it again. Usually it takes pass or two to get rid of rust. But in some cases it will take longer.
When you’re done – cover it with 3 in 1. That is it.

Second stage of upcycling projects – find what you need.
Best place to search is your local craigslist – you’ll be surprised on how many good and usable items people giving away for free. Next is your apartment’s dump site or local curbs. Some of the tenants in our apartment’s was moving out and they pull out old dark red painted table with broken leg. I wasn’t care about legs ‘cos I was in hunt for table tops.
And this one has good wood bones under all layers of paints and stains.

Small mobile work table. Time To Build

First of all I’d measured how big top should be.
Then I’d check that ugly red beast and found best spot to use – no holes, no bents, no cracks.
Time to cut.
My main cutting tool is Ryobi P506 5 1/2 cordless saw with Freud D0536X Diablo 5-3/8-Inch 36 Tooth ATB Finish Cordless Trim Saw Blade. Using 48″ DIY saw guide I’ve build almost a year ago helps a lot to get perfect straight cut.

Next step is sanding.
First pass with #60 sand paper to get rid of all layers of paint and stain.
Second with #160, to smooth out surface and sanding out out few dark spots here and there.
Even after first pass was done all beauty of wood hidden under few layers of stain and paint pops out!
In addition to make it even smoother and prettier I did two passes with #220 sand paper.
Finally finish time.
Since the beginning I wasn’t thinking about any other finishes aside of RUST-OLEUM 242219 Watco Natural Danish Oil Wood Finish. 3 coats and as a result wood looks simply fantastic. All in all it took less than two hours to finish it.
You can see on one of the photos piece of original table top and what is going to be our work table top. Feel the different.

Time to move to next stage…

What do you think?
If you like it, don’t be shy to drop comment or two, or just share it – this would be very helpful for us!

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