Did you recently see a well loved mini van pulled over on the side of the Highway, a woman in skirt and heels, risking life and limb to pick up a filthy pile of wood planks?  Did you think “that woman is nuts”, or that poor woman, “look a load of wood fell out of her minivan and she has nice clothes on, and now has to get all dirty to pick them up”. ……Well, that woman was moi!
I found the planks through a hot tip I had received from a friend and client.  Email comes in, just prior to running my car pool to dance, “pile of wood planks off Hwy 4″, on gravel, enough room to pull over and pick up”.  My heart started beating like I was gearing up for a race.  You never know, someone might find that “treasure” before you.  When I get the tips, I have to be ready to run!  No matter what I have on!

Farm Table to Plank Table redouxinteriors.com

I love the table the way it was, but I could not get the look of having a rustic plank topped table out of my head, and of course, I can never leave anything alone that can always be a “redoux”.  I was literally going to stop at Home Depot after I dropped off my car pool to PAY for planks, then give them a banged up, rustic look and cut them to fit my table top.
This is table before, read about it here in “Free To Me”
Instead, I got banged up, filthy, old, wear worn planks for free.  Trust me, it wasn’t easy getting them.  They were long, muddy, and some had some gnarly nails and splinters.  One kind man even pulled over to help me, thinking the entire pile had fallen out of my car.  When I explained what I was doing, he looked at me like I was a crazy lady, but continued to help anyhow.
This is what they looked like, diamonds in the rough…..
Once I got them home, I separated the good from the bad.  Got to work, pulling out nails where I could.  Then I put little boy labor to work.  Scrubbing with a ton of TSP, power washing, and repeat, about 5 times.  I thought I had picked up a bunch of 2 x 4’s.  Once we got all the dirt off, we realized they were really 1 x 4’s.  Perfect.
Next, I sanded the heck out of them.  Who knows where these boards had been, but trust me, they had not been treated kindly.  Lots of dings, rough patches, and knots.  After much sanding, they were ready for assemblage.  I laid them out like a puzzle on my table top, moving them around until I found the best fit for each piece and they were snugly together.  I then used several Wood Screws and bolted it to the existing table top.  After they were secure, I used a reciprocating saw to roughly cut each end off, leaving about 6 extra inches overhang from the existing table.
I could have done this before I secured them, but I wanted to see how they looked before I cut.  I purposely did a rough cut because I liked the rustic look.  Once they were secured, I sanded the edges and applied three coats of outdoor Polyurethane to make sure the top stayed as waterproof as possible. Now I have perfect Farm Table to Plank Table!
Yesterday marked the official beginning of BBQ season.  It was a complete joy to eat at our “new” table, sit on our new “chools” and enjoy the fruits of our labors.
I love the natural “character” that has evolved over the years these boards have been around, who knows where!  But I could never have reproduced this kind of look from store bought planks.
Next time you see someone pulling junk into their car on the side of the road, wave at me and say “Bon Jour!”
Hope you are inspired to convert your old Farm Table to a Plank Table!


  1. Cori

    What a fabulous table! I love planked topped tables so much!

    I will definitely check out your friend at The Farm Chicks show. So glad you stopped by to say hello.

    You should go to the show next year…… : )


  2. Rachel VanHook

    This is so something I would do. I just stopped the other day to pull a window out of someone 's trash and the elderly gentleman who lived there totally busted me!!!! LOL He didn't seem to mind and my kids thought it was a great adventure…the table top is gorgeous!!!!!!!

  3. Jenibelle

    It's way cute. But I am totally exhausted JUST reading about your efforts!!!! I wish I had a little Karen in me.

  4. Summerland Style

    So cute!! I am going to try and create some outdoor dining things this summer — if it would ever stop RAINING! Great job my friend!

  5. Heidi

    Oh that looks like a good time Charlie to me. I love the new look. I would love a wood floor to look like that too. I also think its awesome you have a helper. I have a 6 yr old little boy and sometimes his help is not very helpful. He takes after me and wants to be boss. ha ha
    looks fab

    thanks for posting it

  6. Korrie@RedHenHome

    Fabulous! You've got good karma to get all those planks for free. 😉
    Visiting from MMS.

  7. randomhousewife

    WOW!! Turned out gorgeous!!! And I will have to click around and read about your schools. 🙂 -V

  8. randomhousewife

    Oops, chools … that's what I get for not previewing for once! 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    so terrific!! what finish did you put on the planks after all of the cleaning you did???

  10. Jan@southernjunkin'

    Love it! The table was truly worth all the effort you put in to it!

  11. Lindsey

    WOW! Just found your blog! Your table is smashing! Now I am on the hunt for some old boards! Love all the Frenchy things! J'ai parle francais de plus annees,mais maintenant, mon francais, c'east mal!

    Lindsey @ The Savvy Speechie

  12. cloud9design

    Wow! Just found your blog. Amazing! I'll be back!

  13. Sue@Uniquely Chic

    I have a thing for plank tops too…yours is fabulous!!! Loved the story behind it…I would have done the same thing!

  14. 1 Funky Woman

    Wow amazing! And I'm loving those red stools, too cute! I would have loved to see you on the Highway in heels!


  15. Ashleigh@Sincerely

    This is awesome! The story and he finished product! I want to make a plank top coffee table and would love it if I could find some on the side of the highway!

  16. Shabby Beach Nest

    My heart went pitter-patter when I laid eyes on your table. I *heart* plank top tables, especially when they're trash to treasure through and through. ^_^ From DRAB to FAB!!! Pure awesomeness!!

    ~Nicole @ http://www.shabbybeachnest.com

  17. Desiree @ The 36th Avenue

    Thank you so much for sharing your table at my party… I just want to let you know that I featured it today… I love what you do 😉

  18. Anonymous

    Love this idea. Just found the same table set at a garage sale. What was the secret to smoothly getting the chair back off the seat?

  19. Jena

    Hey I had a quick question. I have the same exact table minus the adorable bench. Where did you get the bench that matches perfectly?

  20. Gwen @ The Bold Abode

    That's incredible! I totally do the same thing…Reclaimed a Truss from a builder…I know he {and the friend that helped me transport that monster} though I was a NUT. Oh, well..C'est la vie…n'est-ce pas?

  21. Thereasa Gargano

    I love it! hey, is that my daughter Jena asking questions? 🙂

  22. Elisa

    It' so funny that I stumbled upon this post today because I had a girlfriend call me today saying that her boyfriend is tearing down an old barn and did I want some of the wood! I'm meeting her this afternoon and happen to have 4 table legs in my garage waiting for a top. Thanks for sharing! Great job!
    home sweet nest

  23. shellyandrade

    Karen, I want your table. When we meet in person some day the first thing i want to do it go dumpster diving with you, in heels! Ok, maybe not heels but rubba slippa's.

  24. Carolyn

    I love the table! It looks amazing 🙂

    {my simple messterpiece}

  25. Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

    KAREN!!! I love this so much I’m featuring it on Tuesday – with a shout out to your skirt wearing scrap wood run. Sorry for the early notice but I’ll be on vacation this week and wanted to be sure to let you know. Thank you again for linking it up!!

  26. Becky @ Stitchin In The Kitchen

    I laughed when I read your blog then I laughed again when I saw the picture of the planks in their original state. These wood pieces are from a flat bed truck driver. They use these to protect the load when they tie it down with the straps. How do I know this?? My husband drives truck and we have made many of these in our garage over the years. I love that you were able to recycle this wood. Your table looks great? Do you use it inside as well?

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