Thursday, March 12, 2009


On yesterday's blog post, PWeaver left this comment: "I noticed that table right away... wondered "how do they carry that huge table in their MH?" How about a pic without the table cloth and an explanation!... cool!"

It got me thinking about how useful it is to have a large, sturdy outdoor table (we had dinner for 6 on the same table tonight) and piqued my curiosity about the table's design. It was built by our friend Richard Dopp, the same guy who got us interested in building an earthen oven when we stomped mud with him in this same spot last year.

I took off the table cloth and studied the table, taking photos from several angles. I'm thinkin' that maybe Odel and I can build one when we are at our volunteer job in Oregon this summer - it looks like you can do the job with a hammer, some nails, wood scraps, a hand saw and maybe a drill and some screws.

I decided to check
Richard's blog and, sure enough, there was a photo of the table (next to the earth oven) and a description. If you know Richard, that first line will make you laugh... it's SO RICHARD:

"In the mean time I have been busy improving our site in the desert. While in Quartzsite, I watched some men build a table out of old pallets. The hardware store here in Borrego sets out the old pallets for people to take. I helped myself to 4 old pallets and using the material from two of them I put together a base and four legs of the table. Another trip past the hardware store revealed a 4' by 4' piece of plywood that had been cut in two on a diagonal. There were some old sheet rock screws imbedded in the plywood which I extracted and used to screw the plywood to the frame to complete the table."

So, PWeaver, there is your answer. You can see that the legs are simply pieces of pallets nailed together at right angles, fastened to a 2 x 4 framework to which the scraps of plywood are screwed. It's sturdy, it's functional, it's big, it's reasonably lightweight - and it's free. Richard, thanks! We're enjoying it, and I know future campers will, too.

P.S: Just after I posted this, I received the following in an email from Richard:

"I needed firewood for the earth oven so every time I went by the (hardware) store, I would stop and pick up any pallets that were available. After accumulating a few I realized that I had more than I needed for fire wood so at Marlene’s suggestion, I thought I would make a table like the one at Quartzsite. At about the same time I remembered seeing a couple of pieces of plywood beside the hardware store that no one had bothered to pick up.

"I stopped one day and discovered that the two pieces of plywood were originally one piece which was 4’ by 4’, but it had been cut in two at an angle. There were several screws still in the plywood. I took them back to our boondocking site and removed and saved all the screws. Then I removed several nails from pallets I planned to burn and built the table out of totally recycled materials.

"One solid pallet is used for the top of the table. By carefully removing eight pallet boards from another solid pallet and sawing them off at 29 inches, I constructed the legs by nailing two boards together at their edges to make each leg. The legs were then nailed to the top using salvaged nails. Lastly, the two pieces of plywood were centered on the top pallet and screwed down to make a very nice table. It will be interesting to see if the table is still standing when we return to the site next year."


  1. Enjoyed the description of how to build that table, but how/where do you store it?

  2. WOW! Thanks for the post Laurie/Odel. Very interesting! So you don't haul it stays put just like the oven. It wouldn't last long in Ohio (that's where I'm from) with all the rain and snow, but the desert in a different matter. It is almost like a gift to the next boondocker. I really like that idea.

    Thanks for the great post!


  3. Hi, Bobbie. The secret is... you DON'T take it with you. Just leave it behind for the next camper to enjoy, as Richard did. Freecycling at its best.

    Safe travels,