It’s a good feeling typing this post from one of my favorite DIY pieces ever. After I conquered my first substantial wood working project, I felt confident enough to tackle a patio table for our covered outdoor space.
I truly believe that designing and planning is the most difficult part of woodworking – at least for the skill level I’m at. To get started, I got my inspiration from West Elm’s simple yet beautiful Portside Patio table (which happens to retail for about $800). I sketched out some plans and headed to the lumber yard to get my building supplies.
At the most, you will need:
- Eleven 1x4s (for the perimeter and slats)
- Three 2x6s (for the legs and horizontal supports)
- One 2×4
- Two 2x2s
NOTE: I say “at the most” because I’ve rounded up my numbers. I always wind up making mistakes and then have to go back for more. So you could very well do this project with less materials. HOWEVER…Even with the extra trip, I spent less than $85 on materials.*
*Also take note and skip the big box store! I found a local lumber yard which is now my go-to because they easily save me anywhere from 20-75% on wood.
In addition, you will definitely need:
- A little over a pound of 2″ decking screws
- Kreg Jig 1 1/4″ and 2 1/2″ course screws
- Corner clamps
- Wood glue
- General purpose clamp
The first step is building a frame for the table top. Cut the following pieces:
- 3 x 69″ 2x2s
- 2 x 34.5″ 2x4s
- 2 x 27.5″ 2x6s
Drill pocket holes into the ends of each 2×2 and attach them to the 2x4s (Kreg Jig settings at 1 1/2″ and using 2 1/2″ screws). You will also need to drill pocket holes (settings at 3/4″) into each end of the 2x4s (see image below). It’s okay if they overlap a little. These pocket holes will be used to secure the framing 1x4s in the next step (I forgot forgot this step and had to go back and add them).
Next step is to determine where you want the legs. Notch the center 2×2 to a width of 5 1/2″. Then do the same for the 2×6 (notch it halfway down to a width of 1.5″). I notched the wood by setting up a circular saw to cut at a depth of 1 1/2″, and then ran it across multiple times and chiseled out the leftover pieces.
Note: I initially planned on using 2x4s for the legs, so the below pictures show a 2×4 as the horizontal supports. I created so many extra steps for myself by making this switch, so skip the mess and use 2x6s!
The legs on my table are inset 11 inches (measured from the end of the frame to the outside edge of the 2×6). With proper planning you can notch the pieces before assembling. However I wanted to be able to visualize the placement before deciding where the legs would be set.
After securing the horizontal supports, it was time to create the framework for the slats. For this step you will need to make the following cuts:
- 2 x 76″ from 1×4
- 2 x 36″ from 1×4
Lift the frame up off of smooth surface, using extra 1x4s as a guide. This will allow for the perfect inset for the horizontal slats on the top of the table (once it’s turned over!). Secure the 1×4 to the side of the 2×2 with the 2″ decking screws. Be careful not to screw them in too far! You can also add some wood glue to this step, if you’d like.
For the corners, use the previously drilled pocket holes and 1 1/4″ Kreg Jig course screws.
Now flip the table over and get ready to add the slats by making the following cuts:
- 21 x 34.5″ from 1×4
I thought I had calculated it out to have a 1/8″ gap between each slats (with the end slats flush against the frame). Buttttt the measurements didn’t quite pan out, so we improvised and used chopped paint sticks (which are 1/8″ thick) for the majority of the gaps, and four gaps had nickels (slightly thinner than the paint sticks).
Once you as happy with the spacing, use wood glue and the remainder of the decking screws to attach the slats to the frame (drill through the frame, from the bottom up). We put 6 screws in each slat to help combat any warping from the elements.
Final step in the build is the modern square legs. Make the following cuts:
- 2 x 22″ from 2x6s for the base pieces
- 4 x 28.5″ from 2x6s for the sides
Drill pocket holes into both ends of the base pieces (settings at 1 1/2″). You will also need to drill pocket holes into one end of the side legs (settings at 1 1/2″). Attach the base piece to the sides of the legs, with the holes facing down and inward. You can then attach the legs to the 2×6 on the frame.
Adding the legs to the table was a tad awkward for us (since I decided to swap out 4″ legs for 6″ legs after building the frame). We wound up having to notch out the 2×6 legs and use shims to secure it properly to the 2×4. Hopefully you get the idea and learn from my mistake!
Once the legs are attached you’re basically done (yayyyyy!!!). The finishing touch was sanding the top with 220 grit sandpaper and applying some stain. Stay tuned for my post on staining this backyard beauty! In the meantime, please share your own adventures with DIYing a patio table!
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