Just what your garden bench needs

This table is simple in design and doesn’t take too many materials or time to make – and it makes a good companion to your garden bench. And if you haven’t made the bench yet, why not do so… it’s just what your garden ordered! Check it out here…

Materials:(All of the wood used in this table is treated so that it will last for years outdoors. There is only one size of wood required – 22×69 fencing slats.) You will need four lengths of 1,83m. The excess is used to make up the attachment blocks between the legs and the underside of the table top.

Legs:
Four lengths of 440mm.

Feet:
Two lengths of 630mm.

Table top:
Six lengths of 480mm; two connector lengths of 470mm.

Screws:
You will need eight 50mm decking screws and about forty 40mm decking screws.

Note: Timber is sold in nominal sizes, so 22×69 might actually be 21x70mm or 23x68mm – and that makes all the difference when you are trying for a really neat join, so the golden rule is check the dimensions of each piece of timber where it is to be fitted and then adjust your cutting marks accordingly. The other golden rule is this: Always measure twice, cut once.

  1. First, we cut the six 480mm lengths for the table top, and used a paint can to inscribe arcs at the ends of two.
  2. A jigsaw made quick work of rounding them off.
  3. Then we wanted to rout all of them across their end grain, so we aligned and clamped them together and used an old bicycle inner tube to spread the pressure and clamped them down.
  4. Like so…
  5. Now we used a rounding off bit and router to round off the upper ends of each.
  6. Then we used some 13mmØ dowel offcuts as spacers and clamped the pieces together again. Then we cut the two connector lengths of 470mm, with their ends cut at 45° to avoid sharp corners for unwary legs, and fixed them to the underside of the table top 70mm in from each end and using a dozen 40mm screws per piece to assemble the top. Note that you need to ensure that you do not drive the screws in too deeply otherwise they will come on the top surface of the table top. The wood is 22mm thick, so you have 44mm to play with, and 40mm screws. So drive them in until the head is flush with the wood’s surface, and no deeper.
  7. The completed table top, viewed from above.
  8. Now we measured off the feet, measuring across the diagonals from corner to corner.
  9. We rounded off the ends of each, as per the table top corners, and clamped them together – one the right way up, the other UPSIDE-DOWN.
  10. Then we marked the centre point and just over 10mm on each side and very carefully cut down to the centreline of each.
  11. Then we tapped out the centre sections… and…
  12. We clamped them together. It was an extremely tight fit – which is the way it should be.
  13. With the foot assembly complete, we attached the four legs… make sure each one is exactly perpendicular – use a square to check and then clamp them tightly in position.
  14. We used a 40mm screw further out from the junction to fix the leg to the foot and then a 50mm screw on each to go through the leg and the foot and into the adjoining leg.
  15. A view from the top of how the legs are arranged.
  16. At the top, we used some of the leftover wood to rip three connector blocks. We attached one – 160mm long – straight through… the vertical one shown here, using two 40mm screws per leg to make the fixing. Then we cut and trimmed the second connector into two lengths of 70mm and attached them to the legs in the same way – they are the two running left and right in the image.
  17. There’s another view of the assembly, right way up.
  18. Then it was simply a case of centring the pedestal on the underside of the table top, ensuring that the foot ends are centred on the corners of the table, and use four 50mm screws to attach the connector blocks to the underside of the table top; again, take care not to drive them in too far, and also drill pilot holes for each to stop the blocks splitting.

The completed table. It’s sturdy and stable and large enough for most items you may need when relaxing out in the garden, but not so large that it gets in the way.

These materials are available at Selected Mica Stores. To find out which is your closest Mica and whether or not they stock the items required, please go to www.mica.co.za, find your store and call them. If your local Mica does not stock exactly what you need they will be able to order it for you or suggest an alternative product or a reputable source.

Project guide
TIME: One or two days
COST: R300
Skill: 4

Tools required:
Circular cut-off saw, or jigsaw, cordless drill, sander, router (optional).