I Can Do That: Factory Cart Coffee Table

At the turn-of-the-century, no factory existed without several industrial carts (also known as trucks) at its disposal. From hauling lumber to carrying crankshafts to serving city ice, these workhorses served many functions.

<b>Scraps for a shelf.</b> Use two 101/4" scraps to keep your brace centered and level.

Scraps for a shelf. Use two 101/4" scraps to keep your brace centered and level.

Today, many of these antique carts have been restored for another purpose – furniture.

But if you don’t have several hundred dollars (or more) to spend on a restored antique cart, you can build one that will serve for years in your living room.

Reclaimed Timber
To give my table the look of 100 years of use, I built the top with the most distressed wood I could find – boards from shipping pallets that were in our storeroom.

Let me warn you: Bringing these boards back from the brink of the dumpster is more time-consuming than you might think. For that reason, the measurements found in this article are based on a “clean” top built with 1×6 dimensional lumber.

<b>Dust protection.</b> The dust from pallet lumber is nasty stuff. Wear a dust mask to spare your sinuses and lungs.

Dust protection. The dust from pallet lumber is nasty stuff. Wear a dust mask to spare your sinuses and lungs.

The goal is to have a top 27″ deep and 44″ wide. Two 1×6 x 10′ boards of No. 2 pine will be enough lumber for the top (and it’s easy to find at the home center).

But if you prefer a more rustic look, ask at your local grocery store if you can grab a few pallets (or check outside by your office loading dock) and pry off more boards than you think you’ll need.

Sand down a spot on each board to help you select wood of consistent color. Don’t forget to wear a dust mask – your lungs and sinuses will thank you.

Now, using your jigsaw (the cut will result in pleasing irregularity), trim or cut the top boards to 27″ in length. (If you want a perfect 27″ and square cut on all the boards, set up a stop on your miter saw).