How to make a gorgeous rustic table

Image: Lizzie Orme

We absolutely love taking something old and turning it into something that is both practical and stylish – and this rustic dining table crafted from old scaffold boards is a perfect example. It can be custom-built to fit the size of your room – ours comfortably seats four people but can be easily adapted to suit a larger family.

You will need
scaffolding planks, from North Essex Wood Recycling
pry bar
tape measure
Bosch PWB 600 workbench
Bosch PSM 10,8 LI cordless multi-sander
Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 ergonomic drill
8mm x 30mm wooden dowels, £2.18 per pack of 25, B&Q
Gorilla wood glue, £5.99, Screwfix
two Irwin Quick-Grip 36” XP bar clamps, £29.99 each, Screwfix
44mm x 44mm x 2400mm timber, £6, B&Q
countersink bit
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite
paint brush
angle brackets, from a selection at Wickes
Black three-rod classic hairpin legs, 28” tall, The Hairpin Leg Company
Annie Sloan Dark Wax
clean dry cloth



1 Decide how big you’d like your table to be. We chose to make our table 4ft long, and three boards (approximately 67.5cm) wide – which seats four people.

2 Begin by using a pry bar and hammer to remove the metal end plates from your boards – wear gloves to protect your hands while doing this. Measure and mark the length you wish your table to be onto the boards and use a saw to cut them to length. Remember – always measure twice, cut once. Sand all over to smooth the wood and remove any rough edges.

Step 2
Step 2

3 Lay the boards flat to mock up the table top, butting the short ends of each up against a flat surface such as a wall to ensure they are aligned. Measure and mark four equallyspaced points along the side edge of each board, ensuring they are still aligned. Turn the boards onto their sides and use an 8mm bit to drill holes at each of the marked points, ensuring they are centred along the depth of the board.

Step 4
Image: Step 4

4 Take the first board and lay it on its side, with the holed edge facing upwards. Add a small blob of glue to each hole and then use a mallet or hammer to work a wooden 8mm dowel into them – they should fit very tightly. Take your central board and once again place a blob of glue in each hole, then place the holes over each of the corresponding dowels on the first board. Use the mallet to tap the two together, until the edges meet. Place the boards in a bar clamp and tighten as much as you can to hold the two together firmly. Leave overnight to set. Repeat to add the third board, to create the table top.

Step 5
 Step 5

5 Make a frame to strengthen the tabletop. Cut two 112cm lengths of 44mm timber, and three 48cm lengths. Use two of each length to create a 57cm x 112cm rectangular frame, using an offcut of the timber to help guide you where to drill, as pictured. Countersink each hole to get a smooth finish. Finally, fit and screw the last 48cm length across the centre of the rectangle to strengthen the shape further.

Step 6
 Step 6

6 Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in graphite, paint the timber frame all over, and leave to dry thoroughly. You will have to paint it in stages to cover it entirely. Turn the tabletop upside down and once dry, place the timber frame onto it, ensuring it sits centrally. Use angle brackets to screw the frame to the underside of the tabletop.

7 Add the legs to the table. You can either add them to the bottom of the timber frame, or for a slightly lower table, screw them to the underside of the tabletop, butting the top plate of each leg around the outer corner of the frame. Screw into position.

8 Finish by applying three coats of Annie Sloan Dark Wax to the tabletop, allowing each one to dry thoroughly and soak into the wood before applying the next. Use a clean, soft cloth to rub the wax into the wood, making sure to work it into any scratches or crevices that may remain on the wood.

Scaffold board table

We sourced the boards used in this project from the North Essex branch of National Community Wood Recycling, an organisation founded in 2003 with the aim of re-using waste timber that would otherwise be landfilled and creating sustainable jobs and training for local communities. Unwanted wood is rescued from a variety of sources and made available for purchase, with the modest fees made from reselling the wood going back into funding the project. To find your local Wood Recycling project, visit


Feature and styling Sophie Holt
Photos Lizzie Orme

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