A few years ago, I bought a really heavy and large butcher block table that had lived the first part of its life as a cutting board in a Miami restaurant. I cleaned it as soon as I brought it home. Then I re-finished the table to bring out all the one-of-a-kind character it had accrued from years of abuse at the hands of kitchen knives. That table has since moved on to its next home, but I hadn’t forgotten about the unique threaded metal accents and butcher block look. Recently when I needed a narrow table that was sturdy and cool, I knew I had to take a chance at recreating the look. A few days later, my threaded rod table was complete and it fit my space perfectly. Keep reading to see how I made this industrial butcher block table using stainless steel threaded rods.
- (8-10) 1-1/2″ x 2″ x 5′ Pine (or Other) Wood Boards
- (3) 1/2″ x 12″ Stainless Steel Threaded Rod
- (6) 1/2″ Stainless Steel Flat/Lock Washers and Nuts
- (4) Stainless Steel Legs at Desired Height
- 1/2″ Drill Bit
- Dremel Tool and Grinding Tips or Grinder
- Circular Saw
- Orbital Sander and Sanding Sheets
- Table Saw (optional)
- Planer (optional)
- Wood Glue
- Trigger Clamps
- Rubber Mallet
- Wrenches or 1/2″ Socket/Ratchet
If you’re unable to find thin 1-1/2″ by 2″ boards or if you already have larger wood boards (like me), the first thing you will need to do is to cut the wood down to size using a table saw or circular saw. Repeat this process until you have 8 to 10 pieces that will make up the butcher block tabletop. The more exact you are with your cuts here, the easier it will be when it comes time to finish the table’s surface.
Now that you have your wood cut to size, flip them so the top face of the boards are arranged side-by-side. This will give your table the look and durability of a butcher block. When arranging the boards, try to have any large knots or cracks showing only on the bottom side of the tabletop as these imperfections will make for uneven surface. Be sure to change up the orientation of the end grain because as wood expands and contracts, the alternate grain pattern (one up, one down…) will prevent the table from cupping or bowing in the future.
Once you have the boards laid exactly the way you want them, take the first board and measure out where you want the threaded rods to go. Mark the spot and use the 1/2″ drill bit to make your hole. Use some clamps to keep the board steady as it will want to move around as your drill. This first board will become the template for the rest of the tabletop. Clamp the first board on top of the second board and drill through the second board. Continue the same process until you have drilled three holes into all of the boards.
Take the first board and flip it over and apply wood glue to the inner face side. Thread your rods into the holes and add the next board on top. You may need to use a rubber mallet to get the second board into place. Don’t worry about the gaps now because they will be gone once you add on the hardware. Apply wood glue and add the next board on top. Continue until you have all your pieces threaded and stacked.
Screw your washers and nuts onto the ends of the threaded rods. Tighten using two wrenches or a socket and ratchet by holding firm on one end and twisting with the other. You should notices any gaps between the board slowing disappearing and glue being squeezed onto the surface. Keep going until you can’t tighten the nuts any further. Clean up any excess glue that has been squeezed out and let the tabletop cure over night.
If you have a more narrow table, you may need to remove any extra threaded rod that is showing after you have added the hardware. Using a Dremel with a grinder tip attachment or a grinder, you can slowly cut into the threaded rod until the end falls off. Continue shaping until you have polished the end into a rounded smooth finish. Wear eye protection, gloves and long sleeves when grinding into metal because the metal will get very hot and shoot sparks in all directions.
Once the threaded rods are cut down, you can focus on the tabletop finish. If your table remained flat while you added the threaded rods, you can just give it a quick sand and seal. If the tabletop is not flat, you will want to skip planning it through a planer or use a hand plane along the grain to get an even thickness on both sides of the tabletop. Then finish it with a sand and seal to protect the wood. Once the sealer has dried, you can screw on the legs and your threaded rod table is done!
How do you incorporate industrial accents into furniture pieces? Let me know in the comments!