Boxguy Lowers The Water Table

  • Advertise with us
Project by Boxguy posted 07-01-2012 01:16 AM 3161 views 5 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured: A set of legs designed to hold a water heater pan for my grandson to play in with his floating toys. When he is not using it, I turn the pan over and use it as a side table on the porch. This table is 18” tall and 27” across. The tops of the legs sit 3” proud of the cross members. You can see that this project is grandson approved, and that is enough to warm any Grandpa’s heart.

Apology: For those of you looking at this on the “box” site, I know this is not a box; however, I wanted to demonstrate that the same techniques I developed to build boxes can be applied to other projects. I also wanted to show the followers of this site that sometimes…just sometimes…Boxguy builds something that is not a box.


The Top: The cross members are basically half lapped 2×4s. I added a dado groove 3/4 of an inch deep to the underside to accept the egg crate slotted cross members made of 3/4” plywood that is 6” wide. (same technique used to make dividers inside a box) Allow the plywood to extend 3/4” past the end of your crossing 2×4 as it will serve as a tendon to fit into the legs. (I use this technique to make some boxes as well.) You will also need to notch the bottom of one of the plywood pieces to accept the crossing 2×4 that is only grooved lengthwise.

The Legs: Rather than mortise the ends of the plywood into the legs…I cheated. If you look closely you can see the filler in the dado slot. I made the same size slot the full length of the legs as I made in the crossing top pieces. (Exactly the same set up for both legs and top, so cut them both while you have the dado blade set up) Now make some filler pieces that are as wide as your leg slots and a little proud of the slot. (You can use a scrap of the plywood, but I didn’t.) With the slot cut, I glued in a 3” piece of the filler at the top of each leg being careful to align the 3” piece and the top of the leg. Using a scrap of the crossing plywood as a spacer, fit and glue a filler in the groove under the spacer. Remove the spacer and clean out any excess glue so you don’t accidentally glue in your spacer. When the glue dries, plane the filler flush with the leg. This makes your mortise. Now glue in the plywood tendon from the top. I added two screws through the legs and into the ends of the cross pieces to hold it together while the glue dried. (See picture #6)

On this project I used waterproof glue and didn’t add a 2×4 to the bottom of the plywood as it would just hold water. But adding this would greatly strengthen the legs. It would work like a wooden I-beam. You can route, sand, and taper the legs to your taste in design.

Critique: Although this was a frivolous project, this same building technique could be used to produce fine furniture. Made of quality wood this same design could support a glass table top and could also be applied to make chairs with two of the verticals extended and slanted for the back. I stacked over 300 pounds in the center of this table, and it didn’t budge.

Thanks: As always thanks for looking and a special thanks to those of you who take time to make comments and suggestions. More than you know, I appreciate your support in making this a “Top Three.” Support like this helps keep me going on projects and boxes.

-- Big Al in IN

20 comments so far

View clieb91's profile


3521 posts in 4135 days

#1 posted 07-01-2012 01:46 AM

A great little project with a very happy customer. Thank for the tip on relating it back to other projects as well, I love buildong furniture from dimensional wood so may have to give a table like this a try.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View nomercadies's profile


590 posts in 2539 days

#2 posted 07-01-2012 01:49 AM

Nice. You’re a busy man.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3004 days

#3 posted 07-01-2012 01:50 AM

When that happy guy gets a lil older, he’ll be hoping that tub is filled with beer. Very nice legs holdin that tub o beer…....whoops, I mean water

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2713 days

#4 posted 07-01-2012 02:13 AM

Nice table Alan

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Hawaiilad's profile


3294 posts in 3221 days

#5 posted 07-01-2012 02:44 AM

What a great idea…and so much better and stronger that one of those “plastic” tables.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View Derakon's profile


89 posts in 2367 days

#6 posted 07-01-2012 02:44 AM

Thanks for the detailed breakdown on how you made the project. It’s always helpful for us clueless newbies to see how something goes together.

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3305 days

#7 posted 07-01-2012 02:59 AM

Nice projects and thanks for relating it to box building so I can relate! With your current weather this is going to be well used. It is about 70 degrees here with a good breeze. My sister in Illinois says it is way too hot there. She could use one of these to put her feet(and beer) in.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View Boxguy's profile


2761 posts in 2468 days

#8 posted 07-01-2012 03:02 AM

Chris, quite a cutie you have there too.

Nomer, I try to stay busy. If I am not really careful I actually accomplish some things.

Roger, I hadn’t thought of this as a mug. However I can see that if you put ice in the water you could set your drink in it and keep it cold. It also might be fun to have a bowl of chips or peanuts floating around to share.

Blackie, thanks.

Larry, it is sturdy.

Robert, it reached 105 here today.

Der, looks like you are well on your way.

Topa, he is a joy in my life.

-- Big Al in IN

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18390 posts in 3876 days

#9 posted 07-01-2012 03:12 AM

Good idea Boxguy! Looks like you have a happy camper there.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View GrandpaLen's profile


1651 posts in 2473 days

#10 posted 07-01-2012 03:34 AM

Big Al,

Great support/leg assembly project and kudos to your little Research and Development tester. Looks like he really enjoys his work. ;-)

Great way to stay hydrated in this Indiana Heat Wave.

Work Safely and have Fun. Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2890 days

#11 posted 07-02-2012 01:18 AM

Great build grampa! I like the multipurpose aspect. I built a sand table for my granddaughters birthday and now may have to add a ‘water tight’ top. Good idea and thanks for the build details.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Boxguy's profile


2761 posts in 2468 days

#12 posted 07-02-2012 03:56 AM

Pa-pa Len, I loved the line calling him my Research and Development tester!

Andy, thanks for the comment. You build a water table and I may have to build a sand table. Good idea.

-- Big Al in IN

View T. D. Reid's profile

T. D. Reid

275 posts in 2545 days

#13 posted 07-02-2012 11:59 AM

It doesn’t get any better than this my friend! Congratulations on the happiness that you created. Next you need a sand box. LOL Cheers

-- Head to the shop its calling you – Todd

View Boxguy's profile


2761 posts in 2468 days

#14 posted 07-02-2012 05:15 PM

Todd, thanks. Since you and Andy mentioned a sandbox, I have been working on a design to go on the same set of legs. It is square with the points touching the legs, and handles to lift it on an off the legs. Spilled sand can just be swept into cracks of the porch deck. I think my little “product tester” would have fun with that.

I think a 4 inch rim around the top of the sand box parallel with the bottom would help keep in the sand and might give him a place to run his trucks too. The upside-down water pan could serve as a light cover to keep out the cats, and still let me use it as a side table. There are lots of design variations for this idea. A Ferris Wheel and hopper to fill a dump truck might be fun to make and offer him some entertainment as well.

Does anyone out there have other ideas for the sandbox?

-- Big Al in IN

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 3726 days

#15 posted 07-02-2012 07:14 PM

For a while we used a under the bed plastic storage box as a sandbox in our basement. It sat on a cheap shower curtain to help control the mess. It was nice because it had a lid that could go on when we weren’t using it. As my son grew up a little we had to get a bigger and deeper sandbox for the basement, so we used a concrete mixing tub from home depot. It is really sturdy plastic and 8” deep, it is also bigger so he can sit in it to build with his trucks.

showing 1 through 15 of 20 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics