Sunday, 26 March 2017

Making a Garden Drinks Table ...

There was an advert on eBay from a local joiners yard who were selling off 1,828 x 31 x 17 mm wooden slats (6' x 1.1/4" x 5/8"), in a mixture of soft and hardwoods, at only £2 for a batch of ten.

I drove down to the yard and the guy showed me racks upon racks holding thousands of these slats inside an old barn, all brand new.  Apparently, they used to use them for making 6' high fencing panels, but they now use a larger section and so these were all redundant.

He left me to my own devices to pull out what I wanted, and so I weeded out the softwood types of which they weren't many anyway, and came away with 100 unused hardwood slats for just £20.   I'd only wanted ten before I'd actually seen them, but it was too good an opportunity to miss !

I'd wanted a few hardwood slats to make a small garden table, using an old cast-iron parasol base.  I'd bought this cheap years ago, when I didn't really have a use for it in mind but I thought it would come in handy some day.  And today's the day...

I first drew up a basic design of a 600 x 600 mm table top, and cut the slats to size on the cut-off saw.  I sanded the ends and edges of each piece as I laid them out for assembly, and then used another two lengths of slats to screw to the others, to form the table top.   These two runners are attached from underneath, so there are no screwheads visible from the top.   After I'd formed a simple square, I marked off 150 mm chamfers at the four corners and cut them down by hand.

table top profile ...
  
I then marked and cut eight more slats with 22.5 degree mitred ends to make a raised lip all around the octagonal profile, and fixed these in position with more screws.

with edging strips fitted ...

The parasol base has a steel tube of around 54 mm internal diameter, but I didn't have any round wooden posts or metal tubes of a suitable size, so I used a piece of 2"x"2 square section timber and patiently whittled away at the corners of the lower half with a chisel and craft knife until it was a tight fit inside the parasol tube. 


making a rough cylindrical end on the square post ...
   
I secured it with a couple of M8 screws through the fixing nuts already welded onto the tube, and then gave all the exposed surfaces of the wooden post a few coats of bitumen paint as protection from rot - the post is only softwood.

When the paint was dry, I positioned the table top on the centre, fixed it to the post with a long screw through the centre and stiffened it up with four mitred braces underneath.


bracing underneath ...

The final job was to give all the hardwood surfaces a few coats of teak oil.


the finished article ...

To make the table I only used seven of the slats, so there's plenty more left for future projects...


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