Monday, July 7, 2014

DIY Patio Table Top Tutorial

Once upon a time, a beautiful mother gifted her daughter and family with a stunning patio set. The table was loved and enjoyed by the mother and family for years. Even so, it was in perfect condition with six matching chairs, super comfy cushions and an umbrella.  And then a big, bad storm came.

Replacing the glass seemed like an obvious solution, but since it was late Fall in the Midwest, the daughter was in no hurry to replace it... that would be a Spring project. Finally, Spring rolled around and the glass place quoted $350 for the tempered glass replacement. Whoa. At that price, she might as well buy a new table that ISN'T glass! Except she couldn't find one for that price (or less) that she liked. And now she REALLY needed a table. Boo. She searched high and low for a second-hand table that she could work with, but alas, came up with zilch-o. 

For weeks, she stared at the empty aluminum frame and cursed herself for leaving the umbrella up. She started to get a little crazy with delusions of salvaging the table. In an attempt to stop crazy, her young son leaned the aluminum frame against the brick wall adjacent to their deck, arranged the cushy chairs into a circle and declared "The deck is FINE without a table!" ...But the daughter  would have none of this. She had a plan.  And as the story goes, you can't stop crazy.

The Plan? Use the aluminum frame as the base for a plank-style table. Armed with the table measurements, she drove to Lowe's and bought the following:

5 1x10x8" pine planks cut to size (5 @ $10 each) $50
1 qt. Olympic Stain with Sealant in Espresso @ $15
1 package  1 1/2 inch screws $5
1 2 1/4" drill bit  for the umbrella hole @ $17

Next, she got to work staining the planks. The stain suggests one thin coat is sufficient, but she used two to be safe. She stained the "top" and edges of the planks, placed them in a shaded area to dry and left for a couple of hours. And then... another big, bad storm came, soaking the newly stained planks. True story.

The daughter fully expected her project to be ruined -  but upon her return, found the water beading up on the stained side of the planks. Whew! Hurray for Olympic Maximum Stain and Sealant! 

Unfortunately, the wood was too wet to apply stain to the other side, but having a party to host, the desperate daughter moved forward with assembly knowing she'd stain the underside later. She knew this was not ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

After the planks dried(ish), she laid the planks out and pushed them tightly together.  Using some some scrap lumber from her garage,  she connected and "braced" the planks to create one even plane. Working from what would be the "bottom" of the table,  she placed two "braces" at either end of the tabletop and drilled into each plank.
Next, she centered the aluminum frame upside down on the table and began drilling into the planks. This was fairly simple since there were pre-drilled holes for the clips that held the glass-top in place.

Finally, the daughter and her young son flipped the table over  and marked the center for the umbrella hole. The new drillbit worked like a charm.

Minutes later, the table was umbrella-ready....

They carried the salvaged table frame with her strong, espresso top to the back deck where she was reunited with her chairs and umbrella...and they all lived happily ever after. 

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