Thursday, April 26, 2012

Repurposed Work Bench

This project comes thanks to a local restaurant that did a remodel and was throwing their crap out.During their remodel they were tossing out this old cut table. It's 3" thick butcher block, 36"x30".  Based on the depth of the cheese, chicken, and hog fat, his table held the meat slicer and cheese grater for 35 years or so.

I set about trying to scrape and wire brush this table clean. That was going poorly, as demonstrated by the work accomplished in the top left quarter of the photograph. Actually, "poorly" doesn't aptly describe how it was going. The result was similar to trying to lick cold hot dog fat off of the roof of your mouth. You kinda just push it around and it gets worked into the crevices, and hours later you still taste "meat".

Fortunately, right about the same time I scored this table my wonderful sister-in-law gave me a supa-sweet belt sander for Christmas. So I thought "Gee whiz, I'll give the belt sander a whirl." Actually, what I thought was "$#&! this sucks. If the belt sander doesn't work you're firewood!" It worked real well. As depicted on the left (if you look at the very top of the photo you can see the first stages of the cat condo!). I did have to wire brush the sanding belt occasionally to remove the build up of fat and sawdust (aka "Taco Meat" at Taco Bell).

There are two great things about the build up of fat that was on the table. 1) Near as I can tell, it is completely water proof. It got wet in a thunderstorm and the next morning the water was beaded up all over the surface. And 2) it smells like bacon when it gets hot outside. Pretty sweet, I know. And it gets even better, stick with me.

Now it looks like this.

To stain the wood I spread coffee grounds on it every day for a month. My work bench smells like coffee and bacon when it gets hot. It's awesome! I have the only work bench on the planet that smells like breakfast! Take that Bill Gates ($19,105 if you're wondering, Bill).

Smells like this!


  1. Nice, I love these type of tables. The fact it smells like breakfast when it's warm has got to make the value at least 19 grand.

  2. Another totally excellent save! I wonder if the bacon and coffee smell will overpower the pungent odor of paint thinner, or just turn it into something enjoyable?