After assembling the table top I trimmed the top to width on the table saw and noted in the process that some of the eucalyptus boards, although strong along their length, are weak across the width. So a small design change – I added two ‘outrigger’ support rails to attach to the table frame so that the top would be supported right across.
I then positioned the top upside-down and inverted the frame so that I could add the brackets that would hold the top to the frame. make sure the hole for the screw holding the table top is a slot rather than a round hole to allow for expansion of the timber.
I then righted the table and radiused the corners using a polishing tin to draw the curves, and cut them out with a hand-held jigsaw. The radiuses were cleaned up with sandpaper.
The top was given a good sanding down to 1200 grit and finished with shellac and then waxed and given a final wipe with an oil polish. And here it is – a garden table from old pallets!
Simple garden table
With the timber from the old gum tree that was partly burnt during the Canberra bushfires outside the front of our house now nearly ready for use, I thought I’d better start thinking about table structures. One thing we don’t have is a garden table, so armed with a pile of pallets left over from all the rebuilding in the district I set to work to design and build a simple garden table from recycled timber.
After removing the usable boards from about three pallets I had enough pieces for a top about 900mm x 800mm – perfect for a small garden table. I removed the nails from two of the better thick supporting timbers from the pallet and gave all the timbers a quick once-over through the thicknesser to see what sort of timber I had. The main uprights and most of the thin boards were redgum, while there were also some thin boards of a pale eucalypt, possibly ribbon gum. I also had about four metres of thin pine stock that I thought I might use for the frame skirting.
I ripped the thick timbers down the middle with the Mk3 triton saw bench using a GMC saw, so I had four pieces that I squared off and thicknessed smooth. I then cut the legs to length at about 700mm.
Now most table designs use a mortice-and-tenon joint to connect the skirting pieces to the legs. But I thought I’d try something different. After cutting the skirting to length I set them up with the legs in the cheapo dovetail jig with a view to building a frame that would use sliding dovetails instead of the traditional mortice and tenon joints. This would give me a strong structure with a rapid construction time. The result wasn’t as neat as it might have been, but it was certainly functional.
The next challenge was the table top. I wanted to practice making a table top that could also be used indoors, so this would involve edge jointing the timbers. Here I used the triton router table with a ryobi half-inch router and a straight cutter. This gave a surprisingly good and true edge to the timbers – and without the high cost (and extra space) of a dedicated planer/jointer.
Then using the biscuit jointer on the triton router table (yes you can cut biscuit slots along a long edge by simply removing the end stop) I cut four biscuit slots for each join and glued the pieces up in threes and clamped them, setting them aside to dry.
Once dry, the three panels of three boards would each still fit through the thicknesser, so I leveled each of the panels and brought them all to the same thickness ready for the final glue-up. By now the three panels were a bit unwieldy for the biscuit jointer so I doweled the boards together and glued them and clamped them ready for final trimming and finishing tomorrow. All in all, not a bad day’s work! I should have the table finished tomorrow with luck 🙂