How to Build an Outdoor Table


Home life takes place outdoors as well as indoors. This means you should have products strictly made for outdoor life. Furniture is one area of products that you can build yourself. An outdoor table is ideal for eating on the patio or working on a science project with your children.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-by-4 blocks (3½ by 3½--two for each bar clamp)
  • Band saw
  • Bar clamps
  • Seven 2-by-6-by-96-inch lumber
  • Wood glue
  • Two 2-by-4-by-96-inch lumber
  • Variable speed drill
  • Countersink bit
  • Philips head screw tip
  • 3-inch deck screws
  • Place the blocks on a worktable. Cut a "V" in the center of each with the band saw (or jig saw). Place the blocks on the table so the "V" is facing up. Use two blocks for every bar clamp.

  • Apply glue to the edges of the 2-by-6-by-96-inch lumber. Move them together so an edge with glue on it is adjacent to an edge with no glue. Tighten the bar clamps and clean up excess glue immediately with a damp cloth. For accurate drying time, refer to the label on the glue container. This is the outdoor table's top.

  • Measure and cut four 2-by-4s to 33 inches in length. Place them on their 1 ½-inch edge. Drill four countersink holes halfway through so the 3-inch deck screws will penetrate the bottom side of the top.

  • Remove the bar clamps from the lumber you glued in Step 2. Scrape off excess glue that has dried with a putty knife. Sand the outdoor table top with a belt sander if necessary. Be careful not to sand across the grain.

  • Place the table top on the worktable upside down. Apply glue to the bottom edge of the four 2-by-4s from Step 3. Place two of them 2 inches from the ends of the outdoor table top and space the remaining pieces evenly. Secure them with the 3-inch deck screws. Be careful to not allow the screw to puncture the top side of the outdoor table.

  • Set the electric miter saw on a 45-degree angle. Cut four 2-by-4s on this angle with a finished measurement of 48 inches. Mark the center of each and drill a hole with 3/16-inch drill bit. Insert a lag bolt through two of the 2-by-4s and tighten them until they are snug. Repeat this for the remaining two.

  • Place the assembly from the previous step on either end of the outdoor table top. Secure them to the inside of the 2-by-4 on the ends of the table with the deck screws. Be certain that they are the same distance from the long edge of the outdoor table top.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add an umbrella to the center of the table to dress it up and provide shade.
  • Seal the table with a wood protector product designed for that purpose.
  • Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children.
  • Painting the outdoor table with a high-quality exterior paint is an alternative to water sealer.

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  • Photo Credit Illustrations by Michael Straessle
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