Outdoor OctoGrill™ Table - Please HELP!!

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Project by Heynow14 posted 07-23-2013 07:16 AM 1634 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi all!

New guy here. I’ve undertaken a fairly (for me, anyway!) ambitious project of building a 6’ octagon which houses a center Weber Grill for on-the-fly grilling and imbibing. It’s built 100% out of Cypress which I’ve read to be a great choice for outdoor furniture. I’ve covered it in 5 coats of Epifanes Clear Gloss and then 3 coats of Epifanes Matte. I’ve gone out of my way to not skimp or cut corners. I’ve got a TON of money in this project and even more time. It was completely wrapped and looked amazing in the workshop. I took it out to the back yard and that’s when things went south…quickly.

The weekend I brought it out was a crazy heatwave and further, over the last month it’s been out, it’s splitting all butted board seams AND starting to develop a few internal cracks mid-board. The table top consists of 8/4×8” Cypress and all boards are just looking ugly and I’m starting to worry about overall integrity at this point. Odd thing is that the base is 100% perfect…not even one seam is separating.

This is leading me to believe that the direct sun on the table top is just accelerating the expansion and likely the drying of the wood. The temp I am getting on the table top in sunlight is 160+…not good, I know.

My question for the pros here: What’s my play to get this table top back in shape for the long haul? Do need to wait another month and see if the expansion stops? At that time do I fill seams and cracks with epoxy resin and just sand the hell out of it and refinish? Luckily, I inserted biscuits every 15” or so in all of the butts and I think that may be really helping at this point.

The pics attached show the expanded seams. These do not really illustrate how bad it’s become. Before it found it’s way outside, I had a hard time finding the butt seams…it was that clean…

Please lend some advice and info to the guy who didn’t let the lumber acclimate in the heat before I went crazy with the tools…

Thanks much,


13 comments so far

View missionworks's profile


63 posts in 2653 days

#1 posted 07-23-2013 12:31 PM

What glue did you use?
How much glue?
How is the top fastened to the base?

-- MW |

View Icemizer's profile


88 posts in 2961 days

#2 posted 07-23-2013 01:27 PM

First off it is a very beautiful piece. The design however is doomed to fail as an exterior table. Without room for expansion in that type of heat or in any temperature/humidy change enviroment you are always going to get cracks at the joints and the pressure of board on board is going to cause internal splitting as well. Slamming epoxy into the existing cracks will only put more pressure on the boards causing splits to form in other places. In several years you would have a new epoxy table.
As for fixing it your best bet would be to try and take it apart and reassmble with 1/8th to 1/4” inch gaps between the boards. I know thats not the solution you want to hear.

-- Say what you mean and mean what you say.

View Heynow14's profile


10 posts in 1191 days

#3 posted 07-23-2013 03:56 PM

Thx guys – I was afraid that suggestion was coming. I’ll have a very difficult time separating the boards since I added pocket screws underneath with wood inserts afterward. Getting those out won’t be happening.

I used Gorilla wood glue in good amounts…good seepage upon clamps. The top is fastened with adj latches so it is easily removable.

Any other thoughts to try to cobble this together in some way?

View AUBrian's profile


86 posts in 2093 days

#4 posted 07-23-2013 04:01 PM

Separating doesn’t have to happen by removing all the screws. You could also use a circular saw, guide, and a fine blade and make your cuts along the glue lines from above.

View Heynow14's profile


10 posts in 1191 days

#5 posted 07-23-2013 05:04 PM

Are you suggesting that I cut through the screws?

View Heynow14's profile


10 posts in 1191 days

#6 posted 07-23-2013 05:20 PM

Upon thinking about this:
I’ve got an octagonal apron which is helping with the rigidity underneath. In an effort to maintain the apron could I approach this as follows:
1. Cut off edge banding all around the octagon
2. With universal blade, cut through all butt seams (and pocket screws) to add expansion gaps everywhere.

I’d likely have to add in additional lumber underneath to add support but this approach may save me from having to completely disassemble and tear out the apron which is structurally sound.


View ChuckC's profile


821 posts in 2356 days

#7 posted 07-23-2013 06:13 PM

I would leave it and see what happens. It doesn’t look that bad. Most things you do outside are going to move. If it stabilizes over time and you don’t like the look you can always run a router over each seam with a 1/2” or 3/4”straight bit (about 3/8” deep) and fill it in with a strip of something. I would get a cover for it too when you are not using it. It will help with heat & moisture and the grill will last longer too.

I am a bit curious about the feasibility of the grill. It looks like it is hard to reach. Do you have to sit on the table to use it?

View Heynow14's profile


10 posts in 1191 days

#8 posted 07-23-2013 06:28 PM

The grill aspect of the table is great! With tongs, each guest can sit and reach the grill easily. It’s about 22” from table edge to grill edge. We get thinly sliced beef and raw shrimp and you cook for yourself at your pace. I’ve also built a 24” galvanized tub that I added a tube through to act as a wine/beer cooler but then still allows an umbrella to be dropped in. I put in the tub for parties or put the grill back in to eat!

View AUBrian's profile


86 posts in 2093 days

#9 posted 07-23-2013 06:37 PM

A response to your option – You could always cut through the middle of each piece instead – away from the pocket screws.

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 2565 days

#10 posted 07-23-2013 07:07 PM

In response to Chuck C.’s suggestion to a cover for table and grill- at first thought a very good suggestion… however, from personal experience (or should I say my girlfriend’s personal experience) a cover can hide a lot of things. Let me explain.

I don’t know where you live, Heynow, and for the majority of the people on this site my story could not happen to you, but it’s good to know all the facts and make up your own mind. I got a new grill, a big ol’ beast, and Linda thought a cover would be a good idea. I agreed and got one the next day. After cooking on it, the grill is too hot to put the cover on it, so it would sit draped over a nearby chair, and get put on after we ate, or, the next day. After awhile, some cooking fats and grease (maybe some BBQ sauce) got on the inside. We live in Fl., so soon there were cockroaches that scurried about and invariably landed on you when you shook it out. So, I started to get lazy about putting it back on the grill, only to be reminded (interminably) to put it back on. This lasted about a week and I explained why I wasn’t putting it back on. Linda then decided that if I wasn’t going to put it on, then she was, and she wasn’t going to be quiet about it. This battle of wills went on for a while until she woke up one morning with pain in her wrist, thinking she had slept on it, then went off to work. I got a call about 2 hours later. She was in tears, telling me I had to locate an emergency clinic that was open on a Sat. in Palm City. There was none, so she came home, in hysterics by now, and her hand had ballooned up. I finally calmed her down enough to let me look at her hand. Sure enough, two fang marks, and off to the hospital we go!

I won’t bore you with the rest of that very long day, but I finally found the Black Widow spider in that cover, along with about a dozen dead cockroaches.

I don’t use covers outside anymore.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Heynow14's profile


10 posts in 1191 days

#11 posted 07-23-2013 07:13 PM

wow…not fun! Yeah, I’m in SoCal and we have tons of Black Widows here. A cover would be a good idea for sure but it’s tough. I went with a great outdoor wood choice and the best materials available because I wanted something I didn’t have to fret over. But in the end, my design seems more suitable for an indoor dining table and now I’m left to deal with the consequences…such is life!!

Thx again to all for the advice…any other thoughts, please reply…I can clearly use all the help I can get!!


View DavidIN's profile


81 posts in 1409 days

#12 posted 08-04-2013 04:03 PM

is there a heat shield between wood and grill? That may affect wood running 300 degrees right next to it. Going to be very dry right next to grill. Splitting happen after you started grilling? Another option if it gets bad is to route small grooves down the splits, maybe 1/8 wide, with a straight bit a make a new criss cross small grove design. Like groves in concrete. If splits aren’t spaced evenly might not look good though.

View Heynow14's profile


10 posts in 1191 days

#13 posted 08-05-2013 03:41 PM

The splitting happened well before I ever fired up the grill. Further, the wood immediately next to the grill was barely getting warmer than the table surface at the edge…the fire heat is not transferring to the wood at all basically.

I’ve let it sit a few more weeks now and it does not seem to be getting any worse. I may let it go through September and then slice off the edge banding and refinish. What a bummer!!!

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