Laurel's Adventures in Home Repair
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Treadmill Table - Vintage Style

aka Standing Table / Desk,
Exercise Bike Table, Mobile Workstation,
Laptop / Computer Station

June - July 5, 2020

 

Beginning back in 2017 I started walking for exercise again....it had been years since I had done so..  My weight and blood pressure were rising....so the weight had to go.  I worked my way to 3-4 miles easy in my first couple of weeks walking around the neighborhood.  Then the inevitable happened....pollen and my allergies. My nose and eyes swelled-up to painful levels.  And yes, I do take antihistamines daily.

Plan B.  Buy a treadmill.  This way I can walk, no matter the weather or pollen level.

I bought a walking treadmill with long handles on the sides, so I would not fall on my face.

The first thing I discovered about a treadmill.....IT IS THE MOST BORING FORM OF EXERCISE E-V-E-R.  At least with outdoor walking, you have the outdoor scenery to entertain your mind.

In order for me to loose weight by walking, I needed to be able to walk for hours, to burn the calories I needed to burn.  I needed something to do on the treadmill, that would engage my mind for hours on end.

Besides binge watching TV shows or movies, the most productive thing to do is, work on my laptop AND walk for miles on a treadmill. 

With my first and second treadmills I had long handles and jerry-rigged a shelf with a piece of plywood and bungee cords on top of the handles and set my laptop on it.  When I write an article for my web site, like I am doing right now, or do genealogical research, the hours just melt away and I now average 12+ miles of walking a day.  Yes, everyday!!!  I am now out of the obese range and am now just overweight.  I7 more pounds to go, to be in my normal weight range.  So walking to loose weight does work, if you walk enough miles consistently along with smarter food choices.

However, if you walk an excessive amount on a cheap treadmill, say the $300 - $400 range, you will wear them out quickly by burning out the motor or wearing out the belt.  Which is why I am now on my third treadmill in as many years.

June 2020 - what happened between Nov 2018 when I bought my 2nd treadmill with the long handles and trying to buy the same treadmill in June 2020...............the damn Covid-19 coronavirus.

All of these people self-quarantining with nothing to do, NOW wanted to exercise.  So every treadmill I looked at with long handles (which us old farts need to keep balance) and inexpensive treadmills with decent reviews were OUT OF STOCK.  Well that just sucked!!


New treadmill with laptop shelf jerry-rigged onto treadmill handles.

I did end up finding a decently priced treadmill, however it did not have the long handles on the side that I so desired. 

After receiving and setting up this treadmill, I set up my jerry-rigged laptop shelf on top of the stubby handles. 

Problems with this treadmill is that the shelf is now too low and the mouse is not comfortable to use unless raised about 6". 

And the biggy....there is now nothing to hold onto.  If I loose my balance, there I go flying onto the floor.


Jerry-rigged shelf showing orange bungee cords securing shelf to treadmill.  One long black bungee wraps
 around the hinge area of the laptop and then around the back of the shelf and brought to the front
 and then hooked on the sides of the laptop.  The box raises the mouse up to a level that is
comfortably for me.

A better solution to all of this jerry-rigging would be a rolling table that will hold my laptop and roll into place over the treadmill. This would free-up the handles on the treadmill and give me something to grab on to, if I loose my balance.

However, in my world,  I can never find what I am looking for, even after I spend hours looking at everything available on the internet.  So what happens?  I end up having to make what I need, because what I want does not exist in the marketplace at a reasonable price.

For instance.  There are treadmill tables.  However, they come with the treadmill for $1200 - $3500 and more. Forget that!!!!  There are standing tables, but they are 4 feet long.  I only need a table 3 feet long.  There is one type of exercise bike table that would work, but it is too narrow for most treadmills that are made for people taller than 5' 6".

Most of these standing type tables are made out of metal and look very institutional or office drab.  If you want a nice wood top, you pay extra.  There are NO tables on the market that are 3 feet wide.  Zero, Zilch, Nada.  This was the deal breaker for me. Again, I will just need to make my own.
Criteria for This Treadmill Desk

1) When I buy more treadmills in the future (and I inevitably will), this desk will need to fit over the other treadmills.  If it is not wide enough, I will need to modify the existing desk, not make a new one.

2) There needs to be a place to store and manage cords and power strips underneath the work surface.  Why do I have cords?  We do have wi-fi, but I am old school when it comes to security.  I run a cable to my laptop from the router / modem. Wi-fi on my laptop is turned off so no one can get in.  I also have speaker wires for speakers, mouse cord (if mouse falls, it dangles.  Wireless mice fall and break), cables for my external hard drives, power cords, etc.

3) Needs to be on wheels. I make all my furniture with wheels. Too old and tired to drag around furniture.

4) Matches the current vintage look furniture I have already made.  See my DVD cabinet, file cabinet, and end tables to see what I am talking about.

Design and Material Selection of the Treadmill Table

When selecting materials for this desk, I wanted something sturdy.  Sometimes when I am typing and walking, I put some weight on top of the shelf where the laptop is.  I decided on good ole 2x4's.  They are cheap, have a good rustic look when painted, and are sturdy.

I then took measurements of the new treadmill.  The width I decided on for my table top was 36". If you subtract the width of the 2x4's.  3.5" + 3.5".  That gives me 29" width between the table legs.  Perfect.  The width of the new treadmill is 26.25".  I decided on a height of 47" for the legs (sides) which includes the wheels.  With the table top on, the treadmill table will be 47-3/4" high.  That may seem high, but the treadmill is 4" off the ground and I am 5' 8" with my athletic shoes on.

The two sides of the table will be designed as permanent pieces of the table. The wood on the table top can be swapped out for a wider piece of wood in the future if a wider treadmill is purchased.  The two table sides will be screwed into the top to make changing the top easier.

The depth measurement was still pending on what I found at the hardware store....  What I found was a project board made of pine or spruce.  It was all sanded and ready to paint.  Measurements were 36" long and 20' wide.  Boo-yaa.  These are now my table top measurements.  Which means, the legs I will be making with the 2x4's will be 20" wide.

As with most of my projects, I work out the final details in my graphics program and create an image to work with.  The table should look similar to the table pictured below, before adding the metal corner and rivet look detail.
The next thing I do in my graphic software is to plug the measurements in and do drawings with the measurements and prepare cutting guides.

This way I know exactly what I need to buy and how much.

For this project, based on the dimensions of my table, I needed three 8-foot long 2 x 4's.

I needed 2 1/2" screws to assemble the table.

2" screws to attach the table top to the 2 x 4 frame.

To attach the decorative weathered wood pieces to the sides, I needed a backing.  You could use thin plywood, peg board, or any thin flat material.  I bought some dry erase/chalk board to use as the backing for the decorative wallboards.

The 2x4's will have an area routed out to slide the board into before final assembly.  The board will then be glued on.

At this point I went online to order the specific items I did not have on-hand and are not available at the hardware store like the casters, upholstery tacks and metal corners.

The material costs for this treadmill table are below

- Full Cost - assumes you do not have any of the supplies listed and want to do exactly what I did.

- What I Paid - Because I already had some of the items on-hand.

- Strip Down Version - No fancy wall boards on side.  Nothing but the 2 x 4 frame and a piece of wood for the table top. Buy the cheapest casters you can find. Use existing paint you have sitting around.  If you already have 2 x 4's and plywood sitting around you don't even have to go to the store.
Material Costs for Treadmill Table
  Full Cost What I Paid
Because I Already Had Items
Strip Down Version  2x4's Only No Paint
3 -- 2 x 4's - 8 feet long  $9.51 9.51 9.51
1 - 32 oz can Minwax Polyshade Satin finish - Espresso 11.95    
1 - 32 oz can Minwax Polyshade Satin finish - Pecan 11.95    
1 - #14 - 2 1/2" screws pack of 25 4.93 4.93 4.93
1 - #12 - 2" screws pack of 25 4.93 4.93 4.93
1 - Set of 4 - locking polyurethane casters 37.25 37.25 37.25
4 - 6 foot long - 1" aluminum corner angles - for vertical edges 48.52 48.52  
1 - Neiko Multi-Purpose Power Hole Punch Kit  (to punch through aluminum angles 24.45    
1 - 11oz spray can Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze 5.56 5.56  
200 - Decotacks Upholstery Nails 7/16" width (3 packs of 100 at $9.90) 19.80 19.80  
8 - Antrader 8pcs Metal Corner Protectors Bronze Tone 2.8" x 2.8" x 1.2" 11.99 11.99  
3 - Chalk / Dry Erase Boards 23.85" x 35.5" 16.68 16.68  
1 - 3/4" thick wood project board 13.25 13.25 13.25
1 box  - Weaber Weathered Hardwood Boards - 8 boards in package measuring - 1/2" x 4" x 48" - 10.5 sq ft  for $24.98 27.98    
Misc - Sandpaper, Glue, Paint Brush, Caulk, Brush Cleaner, etc 40.00    
       
Total $288.75 172.42 65.37

Metrie 3/4-in x 20-in x3-ft Spruce Pine Fir Board Item #151487 Model #151487

Board used for my table top.  Kept in area of store that has the nicer wood for projects. Not with the dimensional lumber.  This board was wrapped-up in plastic.  Nice and flat, sanded and ready to stain or paint.

Unknown exactly what wood species I got. As the title implies, it is either spruce, pine or fir

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Metrie-20-in-x-3-ft-Smooth-Natural-Spruce-Wood-Wall-Panel/1000833668

Backing board used on treadmill table legs to stick the reclaimed wall boards on

Instead of thin plywood, I used dry erase / chalk board material for the table leg backing for the decorative reclaimed wood. It was cheaper, and did not need to be painted.

Ihttps://www.lowes.com/pd/23-85-in-W-x-0-118-in-H-Dry-Erase-Board-Chalkboard/1000458191

 

Reclaimed Wood - For Cabinet Doors

Bought this reclaimed wood online.  I have no idea where I can find a lumber yard in my area that will have reclaimed lumber.  This was the cheapest boards Home Depot had online. They also have it in-store.  I could not find anything like this at Lowes.

Weaber 1/2 in. x 4 in. x 4 ft. Weathered Hardwood Board (8-Piece)

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Weaber-Weaber-1-2-in-x-4-in-x-4-ft-Weathered-Hardwood-Board-8-Piece-27862/207078140

Casters

This style of caster has a retro look, which is why I liked it. It is similar to the wheels on the Rolling DVD Storage Cabinet. It also has polyurethane wheels which are much better for ceramic tile floors.

Each caster can support 100lb.  The  treadmill table will never hold that much.


Headbourne 8276E Designer Casters 3 inch Polyurethane Black Mag Designer Caster, 4 Pack
https://www.amazon.com/gp/
product/B076FGP5H1

Faux Rivets

I actually wanted smaller nails or tacks for the rivet look on the edges of the aluminum corner angles. However, I could not readily find them and I wanted something more decorative looking than a regular nail or screw. 

What I did find a lot of, were upholstery tacks.  All kinds of tacks in different colors and styles.  BUT the one consistent size was 7/16".  So I had a choice between smaller less decorative nails or larger upholstery tacks.  I went with the tacks.

There was no way that these tacks could be hammered through 16 gauge aluminum.  So I needed something that would punch a hole through my aluminum angles before I put the tacks on.  So I found a hole punch for metal up to 16 gauge steel.


Neiko 02612A Multi-Purpose Power Hole Punch Kit,
3/32" x 9/32"
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/
B0002T87CW/ref=od_aui_detailpages01?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Decotacks Upholstery Nails/tacks 7/16" - 100 Pcs
 [ Dark Antique Brass Finish] DX0511DAB
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/
B00W1CTOAM/ref=od_aui_detailpages01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Corners

For the corners of the table, I wanted a metal bumper or guard to cover the edges of the aluminum angles on the edges.  Easier said than done.  I did finally settle on the one pictured to the right.  However, it was not my first choice after 3 days of searching when I made the DVD cabinet.

These corners are easy enough to find for a small box or a trunk, but not for large furniture.  I needed to find a corner that was more than an inch from left to right and up and down so the corner of the aluminum angle will be covered.



Antrader 8pcs Metal Box Corner Protector Edge Safety Bumpers Furniture Corner Guard Bronze Tone 2.8" x 2.8" x 1.2"
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/
B07CV625R7/ref=
oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Cutting and Routing Slots into the 2 x 4's

If you are making a table with the exact dimensions of my table, follow the cutting pattern below. 


After cutting the 2 x 4's, I routed out slots to slide the dry erase board into.  I do not have a router so I did this on my table saw making a couple of passes to make the slot wide enough. 

If you do not have a table saw or router, you could make these slots with a small hand held rotor saw. For this you would need to clamp the wood down really well and use a straight edge.  Be very, very careful with this option.  Avoid any knots in the wood.

I made the slots about 3/4" away from the edge.  For the short piece of 2 x 4 that will go into the middle of each table side, you will need to route both the top and bottom.  See photo below.

On the table top board, I sawed 2 holes 2" wide for the cables.
Painting

I paint before I assemble the parts.  I do a neater paint job this way and it is easier to sand the wood in-between coats. 

I am using Minwax Polyshade Satin finish in both the Espresso and Pecan.

For this project the painting steps are as follows:

- Sand the 2 x 4's with 60 grit sandpaper.

- Paint both sides of the table top and the 2x4's with Espresso

- Sand with 220 grit

- Paint second coat on table top and 2x4's with Espresso

- Sand with 220 grit

- Assemble the table sides and glue decorative weathered board on.

- Paint table legs and weathered board with one coat of Pecan.


Note: if you are not using the dry erase board that I am, you may need to paint the boards you are using.


Table frame being assembled.  Note
 slot routed on side.  For this center
 piece you will have to route both sides.

Assembly

After the second coat of paint was sanded on the 2 x 4's, the table frame was assembled. 

You will first need to find the center of the long piece.  This is where you will attach the short piece that has been routed on both sides.

The three short pieces were then attached to one of the long pieces with two 2-1/2" #14 screws.  I pre-drilled the holes first.  If you do not do this, you will never get the screws in.

 


Slide the dry erase / chalk board into place..  Then attach second long piece of 2 x 4 on the top with screws.

After the 3 small pieces were attached to the long piece, I took the measurements for the dry erase board and then cut the board to size.  You want to make the board wide and long enough to fit in the slots and not slide out.

The boards were then slid into slots in-between the 2 x 4's.

Then place the 2nd long 2 x 4 piece on top of the frame making sure the board goes inside the slot and put the screws in.

At this point, the legs or sides of the table are complete. Since the blackboard side is on the outside, you could just draw pictures and not put the weathered board on.


The two table legs (or sides) are now complete.  I will attach the board that creates the cord pocket after all of the painting has been done.

The weathered board was then ripped in half, cut to length, and dry fitted onto the the black side of the table legs.  When I had a good fit and random color pattern of weathered boards, I then glued them in place with wood glue.

Of note:   I NEVER cut decorative items like these weathered boards until I have the main furniture parts assembled.  This is because of the variations in the width of the weather boards and slight variations in the measurements of where I am placing the weathered boards. 

 


Gluing the weathered board in place


Decorative weathered boards now glued on. Table side now ready for final coat of Pecan colored poly stain.

The legs and the table top then received a final coat of paint in the Pecan color.  Even the weathered wall boards.

Painting the weathered boards helps by first protecting the wood (incase I have a dog pee incident) and covering some of the freshly cut edges that are visible.  Note the photo above on the left section.  Right along the edge of the blackish and dark brownish board, you can see the fresh cut edges.

While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I started work on the aluminum edges.

First they needed to be cut to size with a hack saw.

I then punched the holes in the metal.  For this piece of furniture I punched the holes 2" apart.

On the longer vertical edges I punched a second row of holes on the other edge an inch up.

For the shorter aluminum pieces, I only punched holes on one side because the table top would be covering one edge and the other edge would be underneath the table.
The aluminum corners were then sanded with 60 grit sandpaper to roughen them up so the paint adheres better.  Then they were cleaned with some window cleaner to get off any oil..

The aluminum angles and corner pieces were then painted with the oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.


Aluminum edges and corners being spray painted with oil-rubbed bronze paint

After all of the paint had dried on the wood and the aluminum edges, it was time to attach the aluminum edges.

Even with all of the tacks nailed in on the aluminum edge, I choose to glue the aluminum edges in addition to nailing them.  This is done quickly with clear caulk.  Why caulk and not glue?  Caulk is thicker and will not run.  The caulk I am using goes on white and dries clear.

Each of the upholstery tacks were nailed in with a rubber mallet through the punched holes.

After attaching the aluminum edges, I screwed on the casters to the bottom of each leg.  Then I put the table top  upside down and screwed two 2" screws into the legs and into the top of the table. 

My old jerry-rigged shelf became the cross brace at the bottom back of the table, after removing around 10".

 
 

 

The Projects
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Treadmill Table - Vintage Style
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