Turning an engine into a coffee table
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! nchandler's Avatar
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    Turning an engine into a coffee table

    I was looking at the multitude of volvo engines sitting around the workshop today, and there are a couple of old ones with a hell of a lot of kms, and buggered heads. I was thinking, it wouldn't be a bad idea, to rip the head off one, and then polish and clean it until it was good enough to sit on the floor, and turn it into a coffee table with a large rectangular piece of glass on the top. I haven't really looked into the logistics of it, but I'd like to do it in a way where the pistons were visible, and the glass exposed the whole engine. I know the old volvo 4 cylinder isnt the most attractive engine to do it with, but it'd be a nifty idea... I have three and a half weeks off uni, so I figure it might be a good project.

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    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    How heavy is an engine block?

    Off the top of my head, some of the old Volvo 4 cylinders had a red block or something like that, didn't they?

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  3. #3
    UFO
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    A fellow Cit driver in Canberra has a coffee table top that is the rear window from a DS. Looks great with the lovely curved ends on it.

    So anything is possible I suppose.
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  4. #4
    1000+ Posts n b j's Avatar
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    I have three and a half weeks off uni, so I figure it might be a good project.

    That is a greta idea for a coffee table!

    But I also tend do wonder how heavy it would be...? would the logistics work? I mean how would you move it?
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  5. #5
    Fellow Frogger! Jez 405's Avatar
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    Great idea - a friend of mine from High School made one from an old Aston-Martin V8 block for an art project.
    Two pieces of wood on either end held the flat glass plane a few inches above the block. The bores are great for holding rolled-up magazines and newspapers. Very very difficult to move, though. I think it halved the power/weight ratio of his mum's R12....
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  6. #6
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    Pug307:
    How heavy is an engine block?
    Cast iron - definitely too heavy to shift easily! By the way, you can buy wooden models of classic engines as coffee tables, so it's not a bad idea, IMO. As for opinions - any car person can pore over an engine for ages, can't they? I'd love one in the family room...


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    XTC
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    n b j
    [QBBut I also tend do wonder how heavy it would be...? would the logistics work? I mean how would you move it?[/QB]
    Too heavy for some A'Hole to steal it

    Actually heard a story of a hi-fi freak who had his gear lifted .. the only thing not taken were the main speakers ... that's the benefit of filling the bottom of the cabinets with lead shot !! head_ban

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  8. #8
    Good Sport danielsydney's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good idea in relation to the table, very environmentally friendly of you, like the other guys have said though it may be a heavy object to shift about if your moving house or are you just going to get another one in the next house or unit you live?
    Go for it man if you have the time.. wink

  9. #9
    Fellow Frogger! Ralph's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great idea. You could also connect a small motor to the crankshaft and watch the pistons go up and down as you drink your coffee etc. It would make a great conversation piece.

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  10. #10
    1000+ Posts tekkie's Avatar
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    Here are few examples already done

    <a href="http://home.pacbell.net/geetumor/index_pic13.html" target="_blank">Radial Aircraft Engine Coffee Table</a> Jag Engine Coffee Table
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  11. #11
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Saw one in Harvey Norman here a few months ago. It was a V8 something, but a very detailed plastic replica with a glass top. Chap came in and fell in love with it and placed an immediate order; told his missus that night who replied "over my dead body"; and he was back in the next day very sheepishly cancelling the order.

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  12. #12
    Fellow Frogger! nchandler's Avatar
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    I picked up a volvo block this morning, was heavy, but liftable. Unfortunately I don't know how it would impact on the carpet, as it is heavy enough to leave a nasty imprint. Something like a buggered mini engine would be ideal, or anything around a litre. Yeah the volvos are the redblock engines, pretty hefty little bastards.

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts cruiserman's Avatar
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    something about the jaguar tables and the 9 cylinder radial table that a volvo block dosent have. Sure would make an interesting conversation starter over a slab or two. Not sure that it would help with the female of the species though.

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  14. #14
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    The Mini block would outweigh the Volvo, I'd estimate...

    One of the modern Pug or Renault alloy blocks would be neat and not heavy.

    My brother has ideas of using a hard drive for a coffee table. It's out of a Mini Computer.

  15. #15
    Fellow Frogger! nchandler's Avatar
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    Yeah i wouldn't really be fussed about what sort of engine it was, I'd just polish it and clean it until it was shiny, with the pistons hanging out. An ideal engine would be a V8, might be heavy, but the 8 pistons would look veeeery cool.

  16. #16
    1000+ Posts renault8&10's Avatar
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    From someone who is currently mucking around with mini engines and has something like 5 mini engines and 3 R10 engines currently at home:

    As Ray said, cast iron (even Mini) are heavy, plus to stand flat (unless you take the crankshaft out) they need to have the gearbox attached as well. If the crankshaft is out, pistons without conrods may not stay in the bores easily (maybe, maybe not).

    If you have the gearbox attached, you really need the clutch cover housing to prevent oil leaking out etc (unless you spend ages stripping the gearbox and draining it) and to cover the idler and primary gears.

    By this stage you basically have the whole engine just minus the head!

    Ps I remember going to Hobart as a tourist a while back and going to a cafe called Joes Garage or something similar. He had stools made out of crankshafts on their sides bolted to the floor with a padded seat on top and did have tables made out of blocks from memory - he also had recesses into the concrete floor where he had put tools then clear epoxied over plus memorabilia over the walls. We had a great night until one of the real "bikie" type gangs decided they would camp there the night. As we were riding Japanese bikes at the time and not really into that scene, we decided to leave early when it started getting a bit heavy.

    Does anyone know if that cafe still exists>
    KB


  17. #17
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Originally posted by nchandler
    <strong>Yeah i wouldn't really be fussed about what sort of engine it was, I'd just polish it and clean it until it was shiny, with the pistons hanging out. An ideal engine would be a V8, might be heavy, but the 8 pistons would look veeeery cool.
    There are bucketloads of PRV V6s with tiny holes in their blocks around... one of them should be perfect... the sump pan section is broad, just bolt a broad piece of polished timber to that as a foot, put bolts up out of the head bolt holes with rubber feet on the ends to support your bit of glass.

  18. #18
    Cal
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    renault8&10:
    Ps I remember going to Hobart as a tourist a while back and going to a cafe called Joes Garage or something similar. He had stools made out of crankshafts on their sides bolted to the floor with a padded seat on top and did have tables made out of blocks from memory - he also had recesses into the concrete floor where he had put tools then clear epoxied over plus memorabilia over the walls. We had a great night until one of the real "bikie" type gangs decided they would camp there the night. As we were riding Japanese bikes at the time and not really into that scene, we decided to leave early when it started getting a bit heavy.

    Does anyone know if that cafe still exists>
    I went to that place back in about 94-95 while following Targa around. I could not remember what it was called. He had some awesome photos in an album, of Longford ect. Is it called Jo's?

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  19. #19
    1000+ Posts Pugnut403's Avatar
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    I rember that place, but it is sadly not in business any more.
    They also had the back of a FB Holden converted into a lounge, with the fins for the arms.
    There was a controversy when it opened, as there was a mural on the side depicting a 1950s drive in restaurant, with the waiters on roller skates, pretty much like the one in American Graffiti. The waitress was handing a tray of food to the driver of one car, while the person in the car behind her was leaning out of the window and lifting up her skirt. There was a big fuss, and the skirt was replaced by shorts with the man holding out a bunch of flowers.
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  20. #20
    UFO
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    CitroŽn Tragic UFO's Avatar
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    Hmmm...

    Mentioned this coffee table idea to Mrs UFO, and she just said "Why?", repeatedly.

    Dunno about you guys, but I reckon an engine block coffee table in amongst the antiques in the loungeroom would be kewl dance

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  21. #21
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Nice idea! i've got a 504 engine up in the shed with a bent valve (apparently) and it's half ripped apart, been wondering what to do with it. Bloody heavy though. Would be pretty ugly with the sump on you'd think. Here's an idea - how bout removing the head and polishing that, and then leaving the pistons in there with some cylinder liners removed from the block, with the crankshaft sticking out the bottom.

    You could use shortened head bolts to keep the glass on the top and think up a presentable way to stand it up. Then you get the pistons, head and crankshaft, you can keep the valvetrain on if desired and make the top higher or lower depending on how long you make the head bolts. If you want the thing to work, you might be able to butcher some cylinder liners out of the head and hook up a motor like someone said above. Or if not just weld them in place from underneath. The only thing that might look odd is the liners with no surroundings, but maybe there could be a shelf at that level to support the liners, make a handy storage level and make it prettier.

    That solves your weight problem too. This reminds me of those Repco "cars are our life too" ads on at the moment. Yet to see one as clever as the Honda ad, but still amusing to see what they come up with.

    I have a while off looking for a job as well... heh heh heh...

  22. #22
    1000+ Posts Pug_405_Mi16's Avatar
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    Pugnut/All,

    Joe's Garage is still around...it's moved from where it used to be down closer to the dock, but it's still there, still got the same stuff as at the old place

    Same stools and what not, and now it's really like being in a garage !

    Cheers

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  23. #23
    1000+ Posts Pugnut403's Avatar
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    What street is it on? I haven't walked around that part of Hobart for ages, but I've probably driven past it without noticing.
    I have a PRV block without any heads in the shed, and with the cost of bringing back one in this condition it might be a good idea to make it into a coffee table. I don't think it would be too popular in the loungeroom though
    I have often thought that a 404 boot would make a good lounge, but sadly my parts car has the back end all smashed up Apparently it ran out of petrol in the paddock, so the owner pushed it home with the bullbar on the 4x4 mallet
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  24. #24
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    Pugnut403:
    Apparently it ran out of petrol in the paddock, so the owner pushed it home with the bullbar on the 4x4
    They never heard of a tow rope mallet

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  25. #25
    Fellow Frogger!
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    I have a 404 in the paddock with a good rear end. I always thought it would make a good BBQ, with the back seats on the other side for drinking beer while you wait for the meat to cook!

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