If you’ve read any of my photo tutorials, you may have noticed that it looks like I’m working atop a door. That’s because I am! I’ve had a few people inquire about my door-desk, so I thought I’d share how this beauty came to be.
But first, you should know that this is a true trash-to-treasure story: a swashbuckling tale of daring thievery. When we lived in San Diego, Songbird attended preschool at a Presbyterian church. The church had been renovating their sanctuary for a couple weeks and one afternoon during school pick-up I noticed workmen carrying two large, multi-paneled, solid wood doors out to the dumpster. They didn’t throw them inside, but rather leaned them against the outside of the big green bin.
Driving home, I couldn’t get the doors out of my head. For months I’d been trying to think of a way to build a large, affordable desk. So the rustic charm, sturdy construction, and sheer awesome history of free trashed church doors was like manna from heaven. By the time I had decided to go back for them, it was late and I wouldn’t be able to politely ask the church staff if I could have one. But I also couldn’t risk them being hauled off by the garbage man the next morning. And I knew if I asked Handsome to watch the kids so I could go steal doors from a church dumpster he would think I was craaa-zaaay.
I did the only thing any desperate-orphan-furniture-hunter would do in that situation… I waited until everyone was asleep and at 1am in the morning I climbed out of bed, snuck out in my sweatpants, fired up Handsome’s truck, drove to the church, backed in, loaded the best looking of the two doors into the truck bed, and peeled outta there just as the church security guard rounded the corner yelling and waving his flashlight.
I justify this act by telling myself the door would be rotting in a landfill today. I was it’s redemption and I’m prepared to answer to the Almighty for it.
Anyhow… after we moved I finally transformed it into the oversized work table of my dreams. I bought four 28″ table legs from Home Depot for about $6.50 each and screwed them into the corners. Being a newb to furniture construction I thought I was done, but quickly learned that a 80lb door on 4 stilts only makes for a great hula show.
To firm it up, I cut 2x4s to size and secured them inside the legs with 2 metal brackets at each corner — screwing them to each other as well as to the underside of the door.
If I had owned my kreg jig when I made this, I would have fashioned pocket holes to secure the boards into the legs. But since I didn’t, I just countersunk 2″ wood screws at each corner.
Songbird helped. Because this girl is all about getting her hands on some power tools.
Since I wanted to retain the worn and weathered character of the door, and because the inset panels would have been impossible to work on, I needed a topper. Glass was an option, but I was concerned about both the added weight as well as the potential for breakage with small craft helpers. We found a 1/4″ thick sheet acrylic at Home Depot in almost the exact dimensions of the door for $116. A bit pricey, but considering the rest of my materials had only cost $35 at this point, I relented.
The acrylic was 5.5″ shy of the table length, but I couldn’t justify the expense of a custom cut piece, so I just attached a strip of 1/4″ plywood with heavy duty double-stick tape to the end to finish it off.
To keep the acrylic from sliding around, we sandwiched these non-adhesive clear vinyl discs between it and the door surface. Works flawlessly, notta budge.
The only other thing I added was two wooden yardsticks to one edge for quick measurement references (and to hide where the door hinges had been).
I’m considering staining the legs/skirt a little darker. Thoughts?
A 36″ x 78″ solid wood workspace that can handle any amount of creativity we throw at it — all for $151. Just goes to show that one priest’s trash can indeed be another family’s treasure!