Let’s talk about how to repurpose a cast iron dining table base and create a beautiful vintage-inspired piece for a very affordable price. Cast iron is the perfect choice whether you need a table for indoor use or outdoor use. In fact, they can alternate between a dining table or breakfast table out on your porch!
A few months ago I was perusing Facebook Marketplace and noticed this listing selling these old bistro tables. However, the original tabletop left much to be desired with a very typical early ’90s retro faux marble look.
The tops also had square bases which were not any more attractive to me. For some reason, I prefer a round table top if they’re for smaller spaces like end tables. And since I already have my main dining table, I was actually thinking of these for two other possibilities.
In all honesty, after closer inspection, the top was solid wood and in good condition (really excellent condition). But had a piece of fake marble glued on top of it. And since I had zero desire to try to figure that out I decided to ditch them.
Also, I had two separate ideas for each base and I didn’t have a lot of confidence that a jigsaw would make a clean circular cut.
Cast Iron Curves, A Love Story
The cast iron dining table base was this beautiful ornate design that totally sold me. The best part was the seller didn’t really value them (probably due to the ugly table tops) and they were $20 each or two for $30. Naturally, I picked up two of them.
A Victorian Style Cast Iron Dining Table Base
The style is very reminiscent of antique victorian cast iron table bases and that drew me in. Though technically it says “Venetian” style and was made in Mexico.
The best part about cast iron is its strength, and ease of refinishing, it can come in many different styles and has the ability to fit specific needs.
With a cast iron base, you have your choice of the tabletop as well. A piece of marble would be a great choice, you could make a concrete top, or go for the basic but classic wood top.
The Many Uses for Cast Iron Table Legs or Bases
Cast iron furniture is so classic it really fits in anywhere and always makes a unique addition to any room.
It’s the perfect combination of function and beauty. To me, it’s no different than those gorgeous open displays of cast iron pots on a wall or on a kitchen pot rack.
The beautiful curves of the base add a feminine touch to cast iron which can feel masculine and industrial by nature. And unlike an average wood base, cast iron can weather the outdoors rather gracefully.
Cast Iron Works Well in Many Places, Like:
- Coffee Table in your living room
- Dining Room Table for a family of 2-4
- Breakfast Table or small table for any nook
- End Tables
- Indoor or Outdoor Bistro Tables for your deck or patio. Plus the cast iron base weight would make it easy to support outdoor umbrellas
- Console Table for a very grand entry
Materials & Tools You’ll Need
Watch this on Youtube:
How to Repurpose a Cast Iron Dining Table Base
So, now you’ve purchased this beautiful cast iron dining table base, what now? Let me tell you what I chose to do with my two lovely antique victorian style bases.
Berkey Water Filter Base
Earlier in the year, I repurposed a beautifully carved wooden spiral pedestal into a Berkey Floor Stand. However, after using it with the Berkey full of water I realized that in my household I needed a base that was much heavier.
A heavier base would help ease my anxiety about a full Berkey being knocked over with gallons of water. Because #kids. At any point in time, I can have 5 children running around a little crazy sometimes in this house!
This is actually when I started exploring other options for a DIY Berkey floor stand. One of my other ideas was an antique wash basin stand. But then I saw these cast iron bases and immediately knew this would solve my problem.
Step One – Choosing a Design Plan
The only issue is the cast iron arms that support the tabletop are 17″ in diameter which is quite a bit larger than a Berkey. This means the Berkey will have to sit at the edge so water can pour into a cup under it.
Problem-Solving the Design Flaws
I saw two possible options to fix this small problem.
Ultimately I opted for #2 as it made the most sense. Also, I wasn’t sold on the appearance of a weirdly curved tabletop.
Step Two – The Tabletop
I chose option #2 and purchased a 17 3/4″ round from Hobby Lobby for $15 on sale.
I had this idea, but it wasn’t until I was walking around Hobby Lobby that I found this wooden round. At this point, I had already forgotten what my measurements were, but it turned out to be a perfect fit and 40% off.
There was one hesitation that the base wouldn’t fit this as the actual tabletop and I would have to return it. I’m kind of used to that because I do often wing it!
At this point, I traced around the tabletop braces so that I could properly predrill my screw holes and avoid any splitting.
I forgot to take into account where I would be drilling for the “spout hole”, but fixed that problem pretty quickly.
Steps To Create Your Tabletop
Take into account where the underside table braces are positioned before drilling. It may be helpful to put the tabletop right side up on the ground and put the base on top of it so you can see while drawing your hole.
Step Three – The Cast Iron Dining Table Base
Though the cast iron itself was in pretty excellent condition, it did have a few rust spots and was rather dusty. That called for a good cleaning and a top coat to keep it protected from rusting.
Refinishing the Cast Iron Base
The indoor base probably wouldn’t need anything except a good cleaning and maybe a single layer of a sealing agent.
If it was going outdoors, however, I feel would need a bit of rust protection just to help it last. Nothing that a few layers of oil or wax couldn’t take care of.
How Do You Protect Cast Iron from Rust?
I did extensive research and apparently, this is not commonly talked about. How to properly seal cast iron for weather protection?
However, I did find information confirming that there are several options for rust prevention on cast iron including:
Rust Prevention for Cast Iron Bases
Though there are some definite different products, the idea is not unlike typical cast iron care you might see when using them for other applications like cooking.
Before and After Cleaning & Top Coat
The difference is pretty astounding. If you want a more matte finish I would suggest a typical furniture wax.
The Outdoor Cast Iron Table
I do have another cast iron table base exactly like the first one and plan on using it in an outdoor capacity. Here are some of my thoughts on that!
Outdoor Table with a Wooden Top
Creating an outdoor table can be done in multiple different ways. But here are three that I’m currently considering,
- 24″ Solid Wood Round purchased from the hardware store.
- Repurpose Another Tabletop purchased used from any of the usual places.
- Repurpose A Telephone Wire Spool these would really tie into the industrial look.
All of these options are similar price ranges so any of them could easily work. However, the giant spool actually has a leg up because it’s treated lumber already and would do fairly well being outdoors.
Preparing the Wood and Cast Iron for Outdoors
Like any wood, if you choose to use a wooden spool there are some preparations that need to take place.
- First, remove any nails, screws, or bolts that could be an obstruction.
- Then sand it thoroughly with 80 grit then 120 grit (or 220 grit).
- To finish, give it at least 2 coats of polycrylic or another waterproof top coat. Make sure to get it in all the cracks.
Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope I have given you some inspiration, ideas for creativity, and maybe a push to start creating your own wonderland one piece or project at a time.
Don’t forget to come back for more great projects like these DIY Projects and many more!
Meet the Author
Hi, I’m Julie! Mother to five beautiful kids, Homeschool Educator, Writer, Handicraft & DIY Enthusiast, Photographer, Thrifter, and Furniture Restorer. Follow along for fun DIY projects creating a handmade home on a budget! Read more about me here→