How To Make This Funky DIY Coffee Table With Old Drum Sticks

Calling all drummer/hoarders...

Drummer Donny Fortin hasn’t thrown away a drum stick since middle school, when he played in the marching band.

His massive collection of drum sticks—he has buckets of them—has been transformed into quirky coffee tables and side tables, thanks to artist Tim Sway.

“If I can get him to loosen his grip on some more, another batch of drum stick furniture will follow,” Sway posted on his Etsy page, where he sells his upcycled creations.

Sway, who lives in Meriden, Connecticut, “makes the useless useful again,” according to his Facebook page. When he’s not making furniture out of drum sticks, Sway gets materials for his projects from dumpsters, scrapyards and free listings on the internet. He says he hopes his work serves as a daily reminder not to take anything for granted.

He thought other people might have dozens of drum sticks laying around, so Sway created a tutorial on Instructables for what he calls “functional works of art.”

After you’ve gathered your drum sticks, you’ll want to start by prepping some wood. Sway says he glues together pieces of ¾-inch thick reclaimed oak to make 1 ½-inch thick sticks for the top of the table.

On the long sides of the table, Sway uses a table saw to make repeated grooves wide enough to hold the thick ends of the drum sticks. Since there are many sizes of sticks, Sway advises measuring the sticks in your collection and making a few practice cuts before you dive in.

Since not all drum sticks are created equal, you’ll want to cut them all to the same length at the thicker end.

Slide the sticks into the frame, alternating them as you go. You’ll want to try a few patterns first before you glue anything in place.

“Once I had my patterns and whatnot dry-fitted and ready, I reassembled and glued the top together,” he wrote. “I also added screws to the corners for extra strength.”

Once the glue dries, fill any blemishes with wood glue and sawdust. Sand and finish the table top with shellac. Sway says he left the drum sticks raw so that they can move freely.

“The sticks are loose and spin freely in the table-top frame and yes you can totally use this table top for anything safely, even martini glasses,” Sway wrote. “I have made many of these and if you take the time to choose the right stick placement and assemble well, it’s a surface as usable as a solid surface.”

If you’re not comfortable resting beverages on the drumsticks, you can also install a piece of glass on top, he says.

To make the steel frame, weld together four 1 ½-inch pieces of steel to match the table top. Paint the steel frame black and use four wood screws to attach the table top to the base.

If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can make the table with a used bass drum instead.

Tim Sway