In each bi-monthly episode of DiResta (every other Wednesday at 2pm PT), artist and master builder Jimmy DiResta (Dirty Money, Hammered, Against the Grain, Trash for Cash) lets us into his workshop, to look over his shoulder while he builds whatever strikes his fancy. On this episode of DiResta, Jimmy turns a pile of ancient 3x4s into a coffee table for a friend. – Gareth Branwyn



  • Pile of old 3×4 lumber
  • 24″ x 1/2″ threaded rod (4)
  • Bolts & washers (8)
  • Water-based polyurethane 
  • Jaxxs-brand metal blackener


  • Chop saw
  • Sander
  • Drill press
  • Hammer
  • Nail puller
  • Propane torch

Jimmy’s Notes:

I found this pile of 3x4s about five years ago in a dumpster. I knew I wanted to use them together in a piece, but didn’t know what. Last week, a friend asked me to make him a coffee table from reclaimed wood. I remembered this pile I kept stored in the back of the shop. The first step with old wood is removing as many nails as possible. I wanted to leave some nails to keep texture in the surface. I liked the industrial look of the old wood and wanted to use bolts to fasten the pieces together. This is how I arrived at simply bolting the pieces together. Looking back, I may have been subconsciously inspired by the tables in
Apple stores, the tables have the end grain of each leg showing on top, at each corner — something I took notice of while Christmas shopping last year. 

Jimmy DiResta

Jimmy DiResta

I make stuff.

  • asciimation

    I think I must use similar gloves in my garage. Cloth (cotton?) with a rubberised coating on one side? They seems to be sold cheaply as gardening gloves. I have the exact same problem, the tops of them wear out and get full of holes while the rubber side lasts fine. I think it’s mainly from sparks from the angle grinder. They are the only gloves I have found that leave me enough feeling and movement for general workshop use. For welding I use much thicker, fully leather gloves.


  • asciimation

    Oh, and what happened to the printing press?

  • Gareth Branwyn

    Part II of the printing press will be the next DiResta.

  • asciimation

    Excellent. Nothing wrong with nice coffee tables but I am waiting with interest to see the printing press!

  • MyName

    A matter of personal taste, but I would have made a recess for the nuts to disappear… Other than that a great looking table!

    • ka1axy

      I was just going to make the same comment – it would look much neater with recessed fasteners

    • deanS

      I’d usually agree but I wonder if the look DiResta is going for is more of a “real” industrial style with the hardware exposed. I like it, and the rough and tumble look.

    • ka1axy

      I’m just thinking I’d be banging my shins on those protruding nubs (clumsy me), though I did appreciate how he worked to smooth them off.

  • jamesbx

    I built a similar work table at my cabin in NC. When they put the metal on the 12:12 pitch (inverse tan roof pitch to get angle) roof, they pulled all the 2×4 10 ft walk boards and left them all over the side of the mountain. I picked them all up, pulled the nails, and joined them with a nail gun, then chainsawed logs for the legs, and used the 12″ log screws to pull the legs tight. It has been a very durable work table. I’ve made fine furniture tables, but this was more trying to use up scrap and avoid a trip down the mountain.

    I think copper sulfate (root killer) will darken galvanized fasteners.

  • randomjnerd

    You need to get yourself a metal detector wand. You can get them these days for less than the cost of a chop saw blade.

  • doug firr

    I’ve created a crowdmap to encourage this exact sort of thing, hope folk use it: – find discarded materials like timbers, solid wood furniture, panel doors, windows and other architectural salvage.

  • Bob

    Lovely coffee table…. What kind of wood did you use. Please let me know. Thanks.