An Outdoor Table

Things I've made and what making them taught me

An Outdoor Table

I was given an old glass table top when I first started making things and it sat in my basement for a few years basically gathering dust until this summer.  Having finally finished my deck railing, I decided I needed an outdoor table.  It’s built from a home centre cedar 4×4 post and 5/4 decking that I cleaned up with my jointer and planer.  Love the smell of this stuff when it’s freshly cut.

The top was made by brick-laying 5/4 blocks cut at 22.5 degrees in two layers using Titebond 3 glue to handle the weather.  I then nailed the rough rings to a pair of sawhorses and used quick and dirty router trammel to cut the outer, then inner edges round.  With the inner edge round, I then cut the rebate to accept the glass.  The rebate is sized to allow a 1/4″ gap between the glass and the wood all around.  I set the glass in place and ran a bead of clear interior/exterior latex caulking around it to hold it in place.  Probably not the “Right Thing” to do, but it seems to have worked well enough.

The base is a pretty standard skirt and legs arrangement, also glued using Titebond 3.  I spent a little extra time picking through the lumber pile at the big box store to find an unusually clear 12′ long 4×4 post for the legs.  I was pleasantly surprised that this paid off and I found a very nice piece.  The skirts are 5/4 decking, also carefully selected.  The grain on the legs and skirt runs so straight that it really adds to the look.

The finish is 4 coats of a 50/50 mix of spar varnish and mineral spirits applied with a rag.  This was another pleasant surprise – not only did it hold up flawlessly to the summer and fall weather, but it was also probably the easiest finish I’ve done in a long time.  I didn’t fuss over making it perfect, but it wouldn’t have needed very much fussing.  I really like the colour of the cedar – I just wish it wasn’t so soft and light, or I’d use it more often.

The finish and time spent being picky about the grain of the bottom pieces were actually sort of counterproductive though, given my goal of having a table on the deck.  Turns out I should make the next one uglier so it doesn’t end up being confiscated to become a craft table in the basement.