Guess what folks? I’ve done it. I’ve figured out a way to be even lazier than I’ve ever been lazy before for a build. I designed something and I’m not even going to build it myself. I’m going to have someone else build it for me free of charge. I have reached the pinnacle of laziness. Bask in my glory. Ha!
Alright, now for the truth. My friend April from Uncookie Cutter reached out to me a few weeks ago about a feature piece in her design for the One Room Challenge makeover contest. She’s got an awesome outdoor space that’s a courtyard and wanted to feature a giant concrete table. Which is where I come in.
“Make me a bicycle clown!” She shouted at me (with the angriest emojis possible on messenger)!
Actually, it happened a little differently but I wanted to play the victim here.
Err… “Please sir, can you design me a table base that will hold several hundred pounds of concrete?”
Of course. And it’s going to be pretty… pretty awesome.
First things first, this is only the tutorial for the table base. April has the build tutorial for the concrete table top and even more important, the big reveal of her design space for the One Room Challenge over on her site. So go check those out. Like right now.
Oh you’re back! Excellent. On to how to build a sturdy base. And don’t worry, you won’t have to do squats or hit the stair climber at the gym to build your base.
- Miter Saw
- Pocket Hole Jig *needs to accept 1.50” thickness material
- Drill/Driver Combo
- Nail gun (you can use screws as an alternative)
- Random Orbit Sander
- Thickness planer (optional)
Materials & Supplies Needed
- (4) 2x6x8 Pressure Treated Lumber
- (7) 2x2x8 Pressure Treated Lumber
- (12) 6’x 5.5” cedar fence pickets
- 2.50” Kreg Blue Exterior Pocket Screws
- TiteBond III Exterior Wood glue
- 1” Exterior Brad Nails
- (2) 2x6x39” – Frame (Top & Bottom)
- (4) 2x6x16.75” – Frame (Top & Bottom)
- (4) 2x6x26” – Inside Supports
- (4) 2x6x26” – Outside Supports
- (16) 2x2x13.75”- Horizontal Frames
- (16) 2x2x23” – Vertical Frames
*Cedar planks will be cut at varying lengths with a 45 degree angle to fit.
Step 1 – All About That Bass
Darn you Meghan Trainor and your retro pop music. It’s actually all about that BASE. You’re going to assemble two X’s for the top and bottom table frames. So I’ll walk you through one build and then make sure you build a second one. Cut two 2×6’s to 16.75” and one 2×6 to 39”. Using your pocket hole jig, pre-drill two pocket holes set for 1.50” depth material into one of the ends for each of the 16.75” boards.
Now on a flat surface, attach those two pieces (like in the picture above) with 2.50” exterior pocket screws. Be sure to apply exterior wood glue in the joint before making your X. A little wood glue and pocket screws really go a long way for making this base extremely durable. Now go and build your second X before you forget.
Step 2 – Inner Circle…Inner Square… Inner Frame…
Illuminati! Wait what? You’re just building the inner frame to support the bulk of the table weight. But if I were to hide buried treasure in this X, this is where it would be (it’s not so much buried as it is hidden). But don’t do that… this is also where the umbrella is gonna go. Anywho… cut four 2×6’s to 26”. It’s really important that you’re accurate here, so not 26 1/16th on one and 26” exactly on the others. Make sure they are all the same length. Use your pocket hole jig again set to 1.50” thickness material and put two pocket holes into both ends of each of the four boards.
Once again, using exterior wood glue in the joint (ALWAYS DO THIS!), attach each plank (as pictured above) using 2.50” exterior pocket screws. One thing of note, you might have to offset your pocket holes on two of these boards because you don’t want them hitting the screws on the top and bottom frame, so be conscious of where your holes are… in life and in building projects….
Step 3 – Welcome To The Outer Limits
This might sound familiar, but cut four 2×6’s to 26” and then using your pocket hole jig, pre-drill two hole set at 1.50” depth into each end. I told you, complete Déjà vu here.
Let’s mix it up though… Instead of attaching the pieces to the inside of the frame, attach all four with 2.50” exterior pocket screws and wood glue. Make sure your pocket holes are facing inward though as the outside will be visible on your table. So make sure it’s pretty side out. I’m not completely superficial but I’d want my table to look good from all angles.
Step 4 – X Gon’ Give It To Yah
Remember that other X you assembled way back in Step 1? Time to attach it to the rest of the frame. Hopefully you listened when I said to pre-drill all of these additional 1.50” depth pocket holes. If you didn’t… good luck.
You’re going to go back now and attach each 26” frame with wood glue and 2.50” pocket screws to the top. You should have a little flex in your material as you attach pieces so make sure everything lines up and is square and absolutely remember your wood glue.
Step 5 – Support Group
I apologize in advance for this… take your 2×2’s and cut sixteen (yes sixteen like the number of Molly Ringwald’s candles) pieces at 13.75”. These are going to be used as the horizontal supports for the cedar planks.
You’ve got a couple of options as to how you can attach them. You can use your nail gun and tack them in (with wood glue at the joint), pre-drill and screw them in with wood screws or use your pocket hole jig on the 1.50” depth setting and 2.50” pocket screws. If I were feeling particularly lazy I would just use the nail gun and tack them in (with wood glue)… but to make it more durable I think you’re better off attaching them with screws and wood glue (notice a trend here? Always use wood glue especially on exterior projects that will expand and contract). In order to have the cedar installed flush with the edges of the 2x material, you need to inset the 2×2’s when you install them. Take a scrap piece of cedar plank (if you planed your cedar make sure this piece is the same thickness) and use it as a guide so the 2×2 is inset enough to cleanly install the planks in a later step. Make sure you install the 2×2 supports on the tops and bottoms of both sides of the panel.
Step 6 – Moral Support
Hey guess what? Cut 16 more pieces of 2×2! Muwhahahaha! This time make sure they are 23”. These are going to fit vertically between your horizontal supports.
Attach them the same way you attached the horizontal supports. Once again, make sure you use exterior wood glue in the joints. These pieces will line up with the inset horizontal pieces so it should go quickly.
Step 7 – Paint It Black
Or green or blue or whatever color floats your boat. If you’re going to put an exterior coat like April did on these pieces, now is the time. Make sure you get plenty of coverage on the pieces of 2×6 that will not be covered by the cedar planks. It goes without saying… but… make sure you’re using exterior paint. It’s exterior for a reason. Before you paint you can actually run the random orbital sander with a 220 grit over the exposed surfaces if you’re feeling really ambitious. The smoother surface will help take the paint better (as long as you wipe the dust off). You don’t want to have to try and paint this after the cedar goes on. So don’t skip this step and come back later.
Step 8 – Not Boring, Just Plane’er (optional)
Yes I know that’s the wrong plane (plain), but I couldn’t come up with anything better. If you’ve got a thickness planer I strongly recommend you run at least one side of the cedar plank through to take off a little bit of the top layer. Not only does cedar smell ridiculously good, but you’ll get a smoother surface that looks a hundred times more beautiful. Well maybe not a 100 times, but it’s pretty close. Cedar planks have a fibrous texture that will eventually weather off, but you’ll get instant results with this method. If you don’t have a thickness planer you can just as easily hit the planks with a random orbit sander starting with 150 grit and then a second run at 220 grit or get really nasty with a belt sander. The results are the same, but the thickness planer takes seconds of your work time rather than giant chunks of minutes. The good news is that you need to do something while your paint on the frame dries so why not?
Step 9 – When In Doubt… 45 To The Rescue
In good news, we’ve saved the most difficult task for last. Sweet baby angles are no one’s friend, but we have a secret weapon… take your miter saw and change the angle to 45 degrees… leave it there. FOREVER! Or at least for the end of this project. 45 degree angles are fantastic in building because guess what? They are exactly half of 90 degrees. Shocking revelation I know. But when you’re trying to make square surfaces… they come in handy.
Cut the end of your first plank off at 45 degrees (might as well get rid of that dog eared top). Then make a temporary mark on the outside 26” support at 13.75”. You’ll notice in the picture that the second plank from the bottom will run from the inside bottom corner all the way across to the 13.75” mark you just made. You can do two things here, you can dry fit your one end, eye ball the cut, mark it and cut it off (what I’d do) or you can use math. I know. How dare I. Our good friend Pythagoras (and his theorem) says A squared plus B squared equals C squared. Which means the top of your plank will be 19.45”. What the heck is .45”? I have no idea. So just eyeball and mark the cut and move on. Install this plank first on each panel with wood glue and the exterior brad nails. If you’re feeling really nervous you can substitute with an exterior wood screw, but the screw heads will be visible. Use the 45 degree cut and eye ball, mark and cut method (totally legit) for the remaining planks and install as needed. Finish those up and you’re done with the table base portion of this build.
It’s up to you to make your concrete top. April’s top (for the concrete table) is 49”x 49” but this could easily accommodate something much bigger. If you’re new to the site, be sure to check back for more tips, tricks, tool reviews & tutorials. I’m usually a lot funnier in my posts but I can’t use my best stuff on April’s build. Ha!
~ Lazy Guy