Basic outdoor table

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Project by MasonSanDiego posted 08-10-2010 07:30 AM 2748 views 11 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just found this site as I was looking for ideas for benches to go along with the table. Love the forum discussions and useful information offered here. People seem friendly too. Here is my first project post with more to come hopefully….

This was/is my first time ever making a piece of furniture. The legs and frame are made from redwood and the top is poplar. Due to my lack of experience, I tried to keep the design simple. The frame is 2X4 with 4X4 redwood legs. The top and sides are 3.5in poplar slats with a 1.5in poplar trim around the edge. I have to come up with some chairs and/or benches now. Any suggestions on bench designs or ways to improve design, durability, or appearance would be appreciated.

I have a limited workshop with limited tools…but Im slowly acquiring more. Right now I am basically doing work with only a miter saw, circular saw, drill, and hand sander (I have a couple other odds/ends tools as well). Any suggestions on a tool that people feel is very useful or indispensable when doing projects like this would be helpful also.



-- Mason

20 comments so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3040 days

#1 posted 08-10-2010 07:57 AM

Well for limited tools you did an outstanding job. Welcome to the forum. The design was well done, I would suggest attaching the top from the bottom next time.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3073 days

#2 posted 08-10-2010 02:20 PM

Very nice job.

You did not mention how you finished it. You will need a good weather resistant finish to protect the poplar. Probably the best finish for weather resistance is Spar Varnish but there are other options.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3075 days

#3 posted 08-10-2010 02:28 PM

Welcome to Lumber Jocks Mason! That is one fine looking table you have there. Thanks for sharing and cant wait to see more of your handy work….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3066 days

#4 posted 08-10-2010 02:28 PM

Great job!! Thanks for posting, welcome to LJ.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3187 days

#5 posted 08-10-2010 04:04 PM

Welcome to LJ’s greatest web page around! Very clean table you have built. Looks great! The only improvement would be hiding the small nail holes before finishing to give it even more clean look. Look fwd to seeing more!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3049 days

#6 posted 08-10-2010 04:11 PM

I’m with Rich in that I think the first thing to take care of is putting a solid outdoor finish on it, such as Spar Varnish. Splinters will definitely ruin your outdoor dining experience!

Definitely a clean look.

Would you prefer benches, or chairs, or a combination of the two?

Here is one link to maybe give you a rough idea of something that might work with your table:

You could make the end squares out of 4×4s. It looks like a solid top, but you could take either 1×4s or 2×4s and turn them on-edge and space them an inch or so apart. By turning the 1×4s/2×4s on-edge, they should be able to hold multiple people without needing a center support, or for you to have to worry about bowing. You might want to add 1×4 blocking at both ends and in the middle of the bench, between the 1×4/2×4 “slats” just to keep them evenly spaced and to firm-up the middle of the bench. Then you could take a 2×4 and run it near the top of the 4×4 square ends as a cleat for the slat platform to rest on, allowing you to have the platform sit flush with the sides and still have plenty of support for it. Just a basic idea.

And welcome to LumberJocks!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View MasonSanDiego's profile


9 posts in 2845 days

#7 posted 08-10-2010 04:48 PM

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions! The wood is finished with Behr transparent outdoor natural wood finish. It was what was recommended to me. Is Spar the standard in finishes for furniture?

Thanks for the link to the bench and the helpful explanation, Jonathan. I really like the bench look and think it would be relatively simple to do. Should be a project for this weekend….Ill be sure to post pictures when I am finished.

Thanks again for all the comments!

-- Mason

View ryno101's profile


388 posts in 3663 days

#8 posted 08-10-2010 05:33 PM

Nicely done! You’ve given me some ideas here, thanks for posting!

-- Ryno

View dbhost's profile


5711 posts in 3231 days

#9 posted 08-10-2010 07:25 PM

Very nice work on that table! That looks like a decent table to play outdoor poker on!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 2912 days

#10 posted 08-10-2010 09:07 PM

Well that is a very nice table. I think you did a great job on it.
Welcome to Lumberjocks.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2970 days

#11 posted 08-10-2010 09:14 PM

That’s a great table. Simple lines with really nice proportions.

-- Galootish log blog,

View cwdance1's profile


1158 posts in 3258 days

#12 posted 08-10-2010 11:25 PM

Beautiful job, great looking table. I would hate to see it out in the weather even though that is what its for.

View MattMcC's profile


27 posts in 3009 days

#13 posted 08-11-2010 12:40 AM

Thats great stuff, particularly with how you worked with the poplar and contrasting colors.

View falegniam's profile


335 posts in 2951 days

#14 posted 08-11-2010 05:42 AM

Get yourself a good jigsaw. The table looks good. Nice job.

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

View learnin2do's profile


889 posts in 2850 days

#15 posted 08-11-2010 07:27 AM

Dang! -how did you do that?

-- ~christine @ used2btrees

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