A friend of mine was in need of a new outdoor table, and I was in need of a project. So, after a quick consultation with my supervisor, Bob Barker, we decided to make a table for him.
Since this table will be outdoors and exposed to the elements, I really wanted a woos species that would hold up to the elements well. We decided on using cedar. For me, it was insanely difficult finding any kiln dried cedar lumber in my area. My initial plan called for 4x4’s for the legs, some 2x4’s and 2x6’s for the top. However, the only boards I was able to find was 2x6 deck boards. So, I went with it and tweaked the plan slightly to accommodate what I had to work with.
I first cut the 2x6 boards into 2x4s, and then joints those together to make the legs. This added some time to the build, but all of the joints went together very nicely. I ripped some of the other boards down as well to get the lumbar for the aprons and stretchers. While building the frame I tried to keep all the screws hidden. I used beadlock tendons as well as pocket hole screws for the majority of the build. I did use deck screws straight through the side stretchers to hold the main stretcher in place. But to hide this, I inset the screws using a forstner bit and then plugged the holes using a plug bit and scrap Cedar.
For the top I used full 2x6 boards, making sure to pick the straight as flat as pieces possible. They were not perfect but with a little work and some extra supports underneath them they line up really well.
I had some difficulty trying to decide which finish to use for this project. No matter the finish, you will only see many stories of how it just did not perform well. Most of the outdoor projects that I have done in the past have either been under papules or have covers on to protect him from elements when not in use. So, it is hard for me to lean on experience for this decision. In the end I decided to go with a marine varnish from totalboat. This was my first time using this finished and I was quite pleased with the application process and how it came out.
Then the end we have a sturdy table that should work well for my friend, although we still need to make some benches to go along with it. I have a full video of the build on YouTube if you want to see the whole process, and will add a video for the benches once those are done.