With the arrival of spring, I’ve been thinking that I could use some extra outdoor workspace, so I started drawing up plans for a simple table. I ﬁgured I could model it after a planting table, but I also wanted a metal surface to set my tabletop grill on for easier outdoor cooking. I used cedar boards for some extra wet-weather protection, but you can use any wood you like and add a sealant for protection against the elements. Enjoy! — Matt
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CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!
- corner brackets
- 2ʼ x 2ʼ x 1/2” plywood
- 36” square sheet metal — thin aluminum
- (2) 8ft length 2ʼ x 3ʼ cedar boards
- (4) 8ft length 2ʼ x 2ʼ cedar boards
- (9) 5ft length 5” x 1/2” cedar fence boards
- 1 1/2” decking screws
- 2 1/2” pocket screws
- wood sealant (I prefer Thompson’s water seal) + brush
- tape measure
- pocket screw guide
Somewhat piggybacking on the construction methods I used for the oak and leather stool project, I used pocket screws for the joint assembly. Since I was covering some longer spans and using a softer wood, I also put some angled corner brackets into the inside. Using 2 x 3s for the top spans makes for a sturdy table, but if you want it even tougher, just substitute these for some 2 x 4s. If your outdoor parties get really crazy, then maybe think about a center brace!
The overall tabletop dimension is 2ʼ deep and 5ʼ wide. The metal surface takes 2ʼ x 2ʼ of that but can easily be left out for a full wood-plank top. Again, if you want a heavier-duty table, you can use thicker planks on all surfaces, as well.
1. Cut your wood. You can either cut it yourself or have it cut at a lumberyard or hardware store. Here is the sawing list:
- cut 4 legs to 30″ each from the 2 x 2s
- cut lower spans from two of the 2 x 2s (each board will produce one 21” short and one 57” long)
- cut upper spans from two of the 2 x 3s (again, each board will produce one 21” short and one 57” long)
- cut all of your fence planks to 24”. Some of these might need to be ripped on a table saw for narrow pieces, depending on your board-width calculations.
2. Once all your boards have been cut, itʼs time to assemble. I used pocket screws to attach the spans to the legs and then added inside corner brackets for more strength. There are also some elaborate deck brackets that can be purchased, if you want to forgo the pocket screws. Check your hardware store for some options.
3. After assembling the frame, ensure that itʼs square by measuring from opposite corners of the top, then adjust accordingly before attaching your top planks. When screwing in the top planks, make sure your screws are about an inch in from the edge to prevent the end of the board from splitting. Cedar is nice and soft, but if youʼre too close to the edge, itʼll make an unsightly split.
4. To create the metal top portion, use a thin sheet of aluminum and trim it to a few inches larger than the plywood board.
5. Using gloves (the metal is sharp) and a mallet, form the metal around the piece. Be extra careful where the corner seams are, and make sure you hammer them smooth to prevent any snags. The metal should be soft enough to easily form.
6. Secure the metal portion to the top of the frame using decking screws. If you donʼt want screws through the top surface, you can attach them from the underside, as well. Make sure to choose screws that are not too long, to prevent them from poking through the top.