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Travis had been dreaming of this moment for years, before he even met me and the moment has finally come. A few years before we met he scored a tire, used during his favorite sporting event, Formula Drift at Road Atlanta. For a few years he put the project on the back burner because he didn’t have a place of his own where he could bring it to fruition.
Then he met me. Insert sounds of Angels. (WHAT? He just said “Angels make sounds?”. Raise your hand if you know what sounds Angels make.) He had just gone to Formula Drift 2014 and came back with no tire. He was living in an apartment with his BFF (as I like to call him). The next year, 2015, Nicholas and I attended Formula Drift at Road Atlanta with Travis for the first time EVER. We had a blast.
Neither of us can recall whether I knew of Travis’s intention of building a garage table of used tires at the time, but we didn’t have a garage. He had moved into my apartment with me just a few months prior. I’m pretty sure we talked about it sometime in 2015 as we hoped to move into a house in 2016.
Here we are (in a house in 2016) and Travis was able to create his dream DIY garage table from used tires within less than three weeks from the day we “officially” moved in.
Of course, this has a lot to do with the fact that Formula Drift Atlanta 2016 took place just a few weeks after we moved in and the fact that we were quickly able to locate a free glass tabletop.
The actual build-time, once you have all supplies, is less than 2 hours. The trick is getting the supplies together.
- 2-4 tires depending on size
- 3/8″-16 all thread rod
- 3/8″-16 finished hex nuts
- 3/8″ fender washers (they have a 1-1/2″ outside diameter)
- 1 piece of glass, either square or round about 1-1/2 times the tire diameter (give or take)
- Aluminum sleeves
- Rubber stoppers
- Metal cutter (such as a grinder, reciprocating saw or bandsaw) to cut rod
- Drill and 3/8″ drill bits
Travis got two tires (several years apart) from Formula Drift. They are given away for free after the event. Travis estimates Formula Drift drivers go through AT LEAST 4-5 sets of brand new tires throughout the course of each weekend event; the reason being is because they go through so much tread as they’re drifting at speeds of 90-100 MPH.
The tires are essentially worthless after the event, which is why they’re free. So, you get to attend a super-exciting, adrenaline-fueled event and you can score free tires to build a DIY garage table from used tires.
If you’re not into that, you can hit up a junkyard or even a tire store for tires. You’ll probably get charged at a junkyard where you can pull parts (if they even have tires available), but a (new or used) tire store may be willing to get rid of them for free to avoid the tire disposal fee and environmental fees, where applicable. We have not tried the latter method, but we’re seriously considering it to make complimentary side tables, etc. Of course, you can also post on buy/sell/trade groups in Facebook and Yahoo, or my favorite, Freecycle.org.
For the tires, they don’t have to be the same size or brand. We used 245/40/18 on the bottom and a 245/40/17 on the top. If you want a smaller side table, look for the smaller dimension in the 3rd part.
The crazy part about the fasteners is that I work for a fastener importer and that’s where I met Travis. He now works in a totally different industry and environment, but the company I work for only sells to distributors so Travis picked up the threaded rod, hex nuts and fender washers at Home Depot.
There are several factors to consider when purchasing your fasteners for this project. You can purchase longer length threaded rod and cut it yourself if you have the tools or purchase pre-cut rod to reduce build-time.
The next major factor is the material and plating if applicable. We used low carbon steel, zinc plated fasteners for indoor use. If you’re look to build an outdoor table we recommend stainless steel material or hot-dip galvanized plating for rust-resistance, with 18-8 stainless (304) or 316 stainless being preferred.
Sleeves & Stoppers
We got the sleeves for free, but they can be purchased at hardware stores, as well as the stoppers. The sleeves are aluminum and the stoppers are rubber. Both can be spray-painted in your choice of color. Alternate options include conduit or pipes; in other words anything you can slide over the rod. Just be sure to pay attention to the environment it will be in to ensure you have the appropriate corrosion resistance.
The glass is the hardest part to find, but through Freecycle, garage sales, flea markets and even online, you can find glass pieces from free to not-so-free depending on type of glass you want, the thickness, bevels, etc. If you’re not so picky, just be patient and scour the free to lower cost options.
Travis scored his table from a living room table someone had lying around.
A variety of tools can be used to cut the threaded rod to size, such as a grinder, reciprocating saw or bandsaw. If you’d rather just buy it ready-made there are tons of fastener distributors that will custom cut rod for you.
Drill and Drill Bits
A standard power drill and 3/8″ standard drill bits will do the trick.
Drill holes on each side of the tire, parallel to each other, using a 3/8″ drill bit and drill.
Cut 4 pieces of all thread rod to desired length.
He knew that he wanted space between the two tires to rest his feet, plus he used the camping chairs we snagged for $6 each to gauge how high the the table would need to be. The tires are about 11″ tall each and there is about 6″ of space between them. You want to leave about a 1/4″ to a 1/2″ on each end for the rubber stoppers.
Travis cut his to approximately 27″ lengths using a grinder because we’re still in the process of acquiring all the tools one might need for DIY projects, etc.
Again, you can find rod cut to size without having to do it yourself, if you don’t have the tools or the time.
Insert all four rods through the bottom tire, leaving approximately 1/4″ to 1/2″ on the bottom side of the tire so you can put rubber stoppers on it, especially if you are using the table inside your home versus a garage or outside.
Next, put the rubber stoppers on. Then you’re ready to secure the rod to the bottom tire.
First, place a fender washer on the top of the bottom tire by dropping it down the rod.
Next, screw the hex nut down the threaded rod, all the way to the washer.
This will keep the rod from slipping down when the weight of the bottom tire and glass tabletop are added.
Measure the top tire’s height to gauge the distance between the top and bottom tire. This will be the length you need to cut the sleeves.
Cut the sleeves with a grinder, reciprocating saw or bandsaw.
Next, you can spray paint the sleeves with the color of your choice, after applying primer.
Dry time for each is approximately 3-5 minutes per coat.
If your table will be outdoors, be sure to use an exterior spray paint.
Travis used red, which I love. A textured concrete spray paint would look great, too!
After applying the primer and spray paint, place the sleeves on the rod.
Next, add a hex nut, threading it so that it’s just down below the top of the sleeve (inside the sleeve) ensuring they’re at the same height on all 4 rods.
This step ensures additional support for your heavy top tire and glass tabletop.
Finally add a fender washer and you’re ready for the top tire.
Place the top tire on, after the sleeves, nut and fender washer.
With the little bit of rod that’s sticking out, place your rubber stoppers.
Finally, place your glass tabletop. That’s all! If you have a lightweight glass tabletop, especially if you have small children or pets, you’ll want to further secure it. The tabletop we used is quite heavy, so we did not feel the need to add additional security.
I have to say, Travis has gotten tons of compliments on it. So far, he’s out-crafting me in the new place. I had to ask him how to use the glue gun. I’m much better at shopping.
Are you crafty? What’s been your favorite thing to create (or improve)?