Cable Reels……16 Great Ideas For Their Transformation

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Table 2 chairs



Cable Reels…. So Many Ideas For Recycling

Cable reels can be upcycled in so many ways,,,, I hope this post will inspire you to create your own innovative designs. 

Here are a few pros and cons when it comes to cable reel furniture…..


The wood has been treated with preservative, which penetrates deep into the fibres, so the cable reel will not rot.

  • Although cable reels  may have been treated with insect repellent and anti-fungal products, any harmful properties will have been washed away over time by the weather.

  • Larger cable reels are very heavy, which is a major deterrent to burglars.


  • The wood may be very rough, so it is hard work sanding them down

  • You may come across protruding or buried nails which will rip your sanding block to pieces

Custom Keto Diet

Finding your cable reels

Cable reels come in a wide range of sizes and are made of  cardboard, wood or plastic……but where can you find them?

  • Utility companies who are laying electric and water services.

  • Local recycling centres

  • Local tradespeople….electricians, plumbers, builders and telephone contractors

  • Electrical retail stores

  • Local council depots

  • Online auction sites

Take a look at this video, which shows how Nick Zammeti created a miniature village on top of a cable reel……

How I Made A Miniature Village Using A Rotten Cable Reel

Cable reels have a very rough surface when you initially acquire them. My post on renovating whiskey barrels has an excellent series of videos showing you how to prepare and finish the wood. It is  entitled ‘Refurbishing a Whiskey Barrel

Cable Reel Projects

Here are some more ideas. Wherever possible I have given a link to the source material, where you will often find instructions on how to make the artefact. I have tried to find a broad range of uses for a cable reel…..not just tables.


Multi Storey Car Park

Car racetrack




















Etsy Beerhill Woodwork


Chair with Book Storage

Seat with book storage

Play Table

Play Table


















Magic Garden

Magic Garden

Dog Bed and Table

Dog Bed

















Horse Swing

Horse Swing

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

Tic Tac Table

Tic Tac Table




Bedroom Table

white Bed Table







Bench 500





Book Shelves





Corner Shelves

Corner shelf

Pinterest Steve Rouse



Duck House with Storage

Duck house with storage








Table and Four Stools

Table and stools 2












Wood Plans Woodworking Carpentry Download


Seesaw 1






Table and Five  Stools

Table 4 stools1



Tips and Tricks

Preparing the Cable Reel

Sanding Wax


  • Check the reel for any protruding nails and remove them

  • Sand down the cable reel using a power sander if possible using a coarse grade of grit. Save any lettering as this will give your reel character and reinforce its original purpose.

  • Brush off any sawdust so you have a nice clean surface

  • Waxing

    Now bring the surface to life using a wax polish, such as Briwax, which comes in a wide range of colours. Briwax will find its way into all those nooks and crannies…….your scruffy old cable reel will be transformed.


Creating a Flat Surface for the Table top

Template table top

Some cable reels come with protruding nuts, which may scratch little fingers and overturn objects placed on the table.

To deal with this problem, cut a circle out of a piece of ply.  The ply should be

Template Table Top 2

thicker than the amount that the nut/bolt protrudes. Cut a circular tabletop and place on top of the other piece of ply which acts as a packer.






Let your creativity run riot with a cable reel!

Take a look at other posts I have written about recycling……

What’s your Reaction?


I have always loved wood crafts. In my teens it was model gliders, ships in bottles, puppets, wooden toys.... Then I had to earn a crust and became a civil engineer designing and building bridges, motorways, schools...until I became a video producer. On retiring I started making dolls houses but now I am a blogger concentrating on my love of wood.
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