Outdoor Table Top

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Blog entry by woodmaker posted 06-26-2013 05:30 PM 1806 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m putting a new table top on my outdoor table. it will be exposed to he elements a lot. I will stain it and seal it for sure.

What’s the best wood? White Oak, red Oak, Cedar?


-- Mike

6 comments so far

View HerbC's profile


1764 posts in 2888 days

#1 posted 06-26-2013 07:07 PM

“Best” is sort of hard to pin down, lot of different factors.

White oak is good on outdoor items, red oak is not so good.

Most of the “cedars” are good (Eastern Red Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Northern White Cedar, Western White Cedar, etc…)

Cypress is good.

Ipe is good.

Teak is good.

Black locust is good.

Just depends on the money and time your willing to invest and the look you’re after.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Makarov's profile


102 posts in 1834 days

#2 posted 06-26-2013 07:24 PM

Were it a standard picnic table I would use plastic decking it would be covered when in use and last forever. Given a different environment my answer would change. If it is going to show I would try to match the bench you posted to your blog a while back

-- "Complexity is easy; Simplicity is difficult." Georgy Shragin Designer of ppsh41 sub machine gun

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3962 days

#3 posted 06-27-2013 03:54 AM

I’d be concerned with the top staying flat if it’s out in the rain and sun. Could you put some kind of cover over it, to keep the worst of the elements off of it when it’s not in use?

That said, I second Herb’s excellent list.

-- Robb

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3217 days

#4 posted 06-27-2013 08:47 AM

Here is one I made out of Walnut and a granite insert. I welded the base up and had it powder coated and use Epifines Boat finish on it. Good luck, look fwd to ssing yours.

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

View woodmaker's profile


321 posts in 2720 days

#5 posted 06-27-2013 05:12 PM

Ken90712 what a gorgeous table!

Thanks all for the advice. Right now the table will have to be uncovered until I build a pergola or similar structure.
I used to have a cover for it but lost it in a heavy snow.
As you can see I originally used a big sheet of 4×8 Birch plywood and then smothered it in marine varnish; 5 coats I recall. But as with any plywood moisture found its way in and now the top is buckled.

I have access to cedar and white oak, but another question is would the cedar be too soft?

-- Mike

View woodmaker's profile


321 posts in 2720 days

#6 posted 07-10-2013 04:56 PM

I went and purchased Western Red Cedar for the table top; now if it will stop raining! It’s been raining almost every day since the 4th of July here in Alabama. Now we have flood warnings on top of the already flooded areas and a huricane brewing that will bring more – Sheesh!

-- Mike

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