The Drop-out Table: an homage to academic years and mid century simplicity.

Embarking on an upcycling project offers a unique opportunity to breathe new life into discarded materials, transforming them into something not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. My latest endeavor, a coffee table, stands as a testament to this transformative power, marrying the rustic charm of an old basketball court floor with the nostalgia of elementary school chair legs, along with a mix of other scrap wood and metal pieces. This fusion of materials not only tells a story but also embraces the mid-century modern aesthetic known for its clean lines and elegant forms.

Conceptualization and Design

The inspiration behind this coffee table was to create a piece that not only serves a practical purpose but also captures the essence of sustainable design. The mid-mod aesthetic became the guiding principle, aiming for a look that is both modern and sophisticated. Achieving this involved repurposing the tapered legs of an old elementary school chair and incorporating a lower bevel trim, elements that lend the table a refined appearance despite the roughness of the materials.

Fabrication Techniques and Challenges

The journey of creating this table was as much about learning and adaptation as it was about construction. One of the significant challenges was crafting the lower beveled trim from oak, stained with dark walnut Varathane wood stain. This process required precise cuts, demanding both miter saw axis adjustments simultaneously. The trial-and-error method led to several scrapped pieces before the angles aligned perfectly. This experience was a lesson in patience and precision, and I remain open to learning more efficient techniques from anyone willing to share.

The legs of the table presented another set of challenges. Using an angle grinder and a TIG welder, I fabricated the legs from the frame of an old-school elementary classroom chair. This was my first extensive use of these tools, marking a significant milestone in my journey as a maker. The process involved cutting the legs with the grinder and attaching them to a steel scrap metal baseplate with TIG welds. The “scribbles” on the metal are remnants of rust removal, a testament to the piece’s history and the work put into revitalizing it.

 Finishing Touches

The final step in the table’s creation was applying a coat of polyurethane. This not only added durability but also sealed the trim to the surface, enhancing the table’s gloss finish. The result is a piece that not only stands up to everyday use but also showcases the beauty of the materials from which it was crafted.

Reflections and Improvements

The coffee table, now complete, meets the standard size and functionality expected of such a piece. It can support items up to approximately 50 pounds, making it suitable for everything from holding coffee mugs to supporting books. Despite the successes, there’s always room for improvement. Future iterations could benefit from more precise alignment of bevel corners, higher quality welds, and ensuring that all angles are true 90 degrees.

 Artistic Achievement

Reflecting on this project, I feel a deep sense of accomplishment. The table embodies the minimal, clean, and modern aesthetic I envisioned, utilizing materials in a way that elevates their inherent beauty. I hope that this piece will find a cherished place in someone’s home, serving as a functional piece of art for years to come.

For those interested in owning a unique piece of upcycled furniture that tells a story, I invite you to reach out. This coffee table, a labor of love and learning, is looking for a new home. Feel free to contact me at for more information or to express your interest in purchasing this one-of-a-kind piece.

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