May 5, 2014 by bridgitgillis
This spring, I’ve been dreaming of a patio or deck in my back yard. My hole-digging husky dug up a corner of an old cement patio, and that was all the motivation I needed to start pulling up years of grass and dirt. On top of all that grass and dirt, and the patio of my dreams, was large over-grown sandbox. It only seemed right to turn the wood from that sandbox into an outdoor table for my new patio!
In addition to the sandbox sides, I rounded up some scrap 2×4’s and 1×3’s, long screws, screw gun, circular saw, drill bit, circular sander, saw horses, measuring tape, and a pencil to mark the wood. One thing I have learned- always predrill your holes! I have had wood split on me because I didn’t drill holes first. It takes a little more time, but is worth the headache in the end!
Once all of my supplies were gathered, I decided on the dimensions of my table and measured and marked my boards accordingly. I cut the legs for the table first, out of 2×4’s. I cut the first two legs at 28.5 inches, but after some thought I decided to go another inch higher to 29.5 inches. I used the first two cut boards for part of the support frame under the table top.
Once the legs were cut, I cut the boards for the table top. Since both ends of the boards were very weathered and had a lot of holes from nails and screws, I decided to cut both ends of the boards. Since I wanted a more rectangular table, I only used three sides of the sandbox for the top. (The other side might turn into a bench on a later project)
After the table top boards were cut, I designed my frame. I already had two 2×4’s at 28.5 inches, so I cut one more that size. My 2×4’s were all used, so I used a 1×3 for the remainder of the frame. The length of my board determined the length of the frame- I simply cut it in half. I used the 2×4’s where the table would need more support at the cross sections, and the 1x3s help hold it together.
I wouldn’t normally choose to mix different sizes of wood like this, but the object was to use what I had available, and this is what was there!
The key in putting the frame together was to make sure the top of the frame was flush and level so that the table top would be level. It’s a good idea to find a flat, level surface to do this. A framing square could come in handy as well, if you have one available. (I didn’t, so I just eyeballed it)
Next is the fun part- screw the table top boards into the frame. I put the middle one on first and measured to make sure it was centered. I found that for this thickness of wood, 2.5 inch screws worked best. I actually ran out of that size mid-project and found some 2.25 inch screws, but I would have preferred the 2.5 inch for added stability and security.
Once the table top is secure, the last step is to add the legs! Because my screws were a little shorter than I’d like, I used four screws per leg. Two on the front, one on the back, and one coming in the side.
Once the legs were on, it was time to sand. I focused my efforts on the top of the table and the ends of the boards where I made my cuts, and lightly roughed up the legs and frame a little.
Next is the fun part- stain! My patio is not covered, so my table will be exposed to direct weather. I chose a stain I had in my garage, which is a stain and polyurethane combo. It is probably the best choice for a project like this. I applied the stain very liberally on the table top, letting it drip into cracks and crevices. Two thick coats on the table top were sufficient, and one coat on the rest of the table with a little touching up should be fine. I chose to stain the entire table, even parts that were not visible, because the wood I used is not ideal for the outdoors and I wanted to protect and preserve it.
The end result was a great table for my patio at an awesome price- FREE!
Here is the end result along with two benches I created. Find the instructions on my other posts.