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Project ET-02: BMW Engine Block Table

Kamil Kaluski January 24, 2012 Featured, Project Cars 61 Comments

Project ET-02 BMW Engine Block table

I always had the idea, I finally had the engine block, and now came the hardest part – actually getting it home. There are few problems with that: first, I live in a high-rise condo in the middle of a city, meaning that it pretty much has to be finished before it gets there. Second, my wife is very particular about our home, which is not a bad thing, but convincing someone who has zero interest in cars about having an engine block as a coffee table is not easy.

Project ET-02 BMW Engine Block table 4

I took the block to an engine shop for a bath. Two baths actually, as the first one did not produce the desired results. I don’t recall now exactly what kind of bath it was, some acidic caustic thing? I just don’t remember. In the end the block came out with some remnants of oxidation, gaskets, and crap. Three days of sanding removed most of it, now came time for fine detailing which I had no patience for.

To my surprise my wife did not hate the engine block. She actually liked the bright aluminum and unconventional shape of it, just not as a coffee table. We reached a compromise and the engine block table would end up in our living room, but it will serve as an end-table and not a coffee table. Surprisingly, this actually made the project easier.

Project ET-02 BMW Engine Block table 3

A proper coffee table would require a base and glass support. For an end-table however, the block would stand on the transmission-end, and being a perfect height, all that was needed were smooth and even top and bottom surfaces. Felt cloth was applied to the bottom and clear rubber where the glass rests.

Being that I had zero patience to finish off sanding and cleaning the block, I put the project aside and occupied myself with other stuff. Eight months later, for Christmas, my wife presented me with the block perfectly cleaned and a thick piece of a custom cut glass on top of it. Awesome wife is awesome. Awesome end-table is awesome.

  • Alcology

    Very cool, especially how the how the wine bottles fit right in there.

  • Scandinavian Flick

    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/OqOzK.gif"&gt;

    Bonus points for the wife going from being resistant to the idea to finishing it herself.

    I'm going to go ahead and rule this a "win."

  • karmatose

    Stylish and practical! I wholeheartedly support this idea (and will probably steal it and make one of my own!).

  • Nice! Props for getting the wife on board. My fiancee is supportive of my car habit, and some framed photos of my cars (and their magazine articles) adorn some of our walls, along with my collection of 1/18 scale models, but I'm not sure she'd go for engine parts in the living room.

    Then again, we are having suspension parts at our wedding reception. Purple!

    <img src="https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/405524_10100370084993556_5503673_49630394_165442949_n.jpg"&gt;

    • danleym

      +1 for car parts at a wedding.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      Center piece flower holder? Nice Corbeau, but you have it mounted wrong. I think it goes the other way.

      • SSurfer321

        That's the imported Australian model. Very rare specimen in the USA due to tariffs/taxes and complicated shipping.

        • Scandinavian Flick

          The inversion adapters are getting expensive too… Otherwise I would consider going Aussie with the Goat.

        • Well I was born and raised in Australia, so…..

      • Yes, flower holders, although they won't be center pieces.

        The Corbeau is just waiting for my LeMons car to come back to be reinstalled.

    • SSurfer321

      We had board game centerpieces at our wedding. Ker-Plunk, Jenga, 3D Connect Four and Rubic's Cubes. It was a small wedding (37 people including guests & bridal party) and knew there wouldn't be a lot of dancing but still needed to entertain guests.

      • That's an awesome idea! We could have gone for something similar, as my fiancee and I are Scrabble nerds, and I actually proposed to her on a Scrabble board.

        • SSurfer321

          That's an awesome way to propose!
          While I like our board game idea, I didn't think about RENTING A RACETRACK!

    • domino_vitali

      nothing will be as awesome as my Nurburgring wedding cake. since i'm probably not getting married, i may just get it for an upcoming birthday.

      • PowerTryp

        You could always fake the wedding.

        • domino_vitali

          no thanks, i think there are enough fake marriages out there already. plus, it's not my style. i'm not a golddigger or a con artist, i just want a Nurburgring cake. Spa Francorchamps would be nice too, especially if they can make it look like it's sunny in one part and rainy in the other.

          • PowerTryp

            Seeing as how Spa is my favorite track to drive (in games) please do invite me over when you get that one. I'd love to take a bite out of Eau Rouge.

            • domino_vitali

              i'll be happy to invite all of my car friends to enjoy the cake, that's the whole point. sorry, but the birthday girl/hostess of the party gets to eat eau rouge.

  • OA5599

    "We reached a compromise and the engine block table would end up in our living room, but it will serve as an end-table and not a coffee table. Surprisingly, this actually made the project easier."

    What made the project easier wasn't the repurposing from coffee table to end table. What did make it easier was the switch from actively working on sanding, cleaning, and prepping it to having someone else provide all the hard work.

    Well done! I wish things worked that way around here.

    • Umm, yea that may have helped too.

  • danleym

    That's awesome. I'd love to, but I dont think my wife would go for it. Someday when I have a larger garage, though, and a place in there to go sit and have a beer, the beers will be resting on an engine block table.

    How much did it weigh? I mean, is it easy enough to move around?

    • Yea, it's under 60lbs… I could almost lift it over my head.

      (insert 'I workout' song here 😛 )

      • danleym

        Oh yeah… aluminum block…

        That's not bad at all.

  • $kaycog

    I love it and would have it in my living room in a heartbeat!

  • Reinstall the crank and pistons, make a mount for the end of the crank to hold the glass and have a lazy susan that will move the pistons.

    • Those have been turned into a Chinese toaster.

      • FЯeeMan

        Shame on you! It's not nice to toast the Chinese.

        • Irishzombieman

          /coffee out nose

    • Irishzombieman

      Holy crap, that's a great idea. . . .

  • 1. To quote Borat: Very niiice!
    2. Be careful with the stability. You don't want a pet/child,/drunk friend to get hurt with the glass.

    • It's very stable, and the glass weights good 40lbs too.

  • dragon951

    One day I hope to realize a similar dream:
    <img src="http://forums.pelicanparts.com/uploads7/6+Coffe+tabel1139335504.jpg&quot; />
    There was actually one sitting on the floor of nearby shop, but someone bought that up fast. I would also have to live in one place long enough to rationalize a 200lbs table.

  • JayP2112

    I'll take a hit of whatever that cat is on!

    Cool table too..

  • Irishzombieman

    Oooh! How big is your freezer?

    Because if you were having a party, you could freeze the engine block for a couple of days beforehand, then take it out and use it to keep the wine or beer chilled.

    • * scratches chin *

      Probably not big enough.

  • Jim-Bob

    Needs more mid century modern to go along with the rest of the furnishings. I am thinking maybe a Jaguar V12 would have been better in fitting with the overall design language of the room.

    • For what it's worth, I hate those chairs.

      • Swapping the positions of their throw pillows might help.

        • Heh, interesting, they usually ARE swapped.

      • topdeadcentre

        Hah! Those chair-frames are great!

        I'm a bit more into Heywood-Wakefield's designs of the 1950's (http://www.strictly-heywake.com), but the later Danish modern is often quite a bit cheaper. When my parents bought their first house in 1968, they filled it with Danish Modern furniture much like people now fill their first house with Ikea.

  • gearhead

    Congratulations, sir… you married well.

  • That's pretty cool, major props to your wife. I love that it actually can store wine bottles too. It's such an interesting piece to look at and admire in your living room area.

  • Really nice, and classy. How about other pieces of furniture made from engine blocks and the like? Lets see…
    A bar, supported on both ends with Packard straight eight blocks set vertically like this table. Should be long/high enough.
    The barstools are swivel seats on Caterpillar diesel straight six cranks. Maybe with Alcoa aluminum truck wheels as bases.
    A bookshelf made of planks supported by Harley cylinder jugs.

  • domino_vitali

    "convincing someone who has zero interest in cars about having an engine block as a coffee table is not easy."

    this is why i only date car guys from now on.

    • I thought about that, but my wife is cuter than most car guys. 🙂

  • PowerTryp

    This may be a little late and too low on the comments list but. Kamil, could I request a picture done with the wine bottles facing the other way and at different depths? Much like pistons would be in an actual engine?

    I don't want to email you but I will.

    • You can't… only because the bottles won't fit. The reason why they stick out as it is, is because they cannot go in any deeper as there are oil squirters in the way. Even if I was the remove the oil squirters, the block is shaped in such way that the bottles won't fit any deeper, as you described. 😐

      • PowerTryp

        Well, it never hurts to ask. Thank's for letting me know.

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