DIY improvisation of a patio table

This table was built out of a form I made to fiberglass up a new shower pan, hence the curious shape. The table top is therefore an exact copy of our shower—in case you were curious, now you know. The legs are from a potato tower. They are mortised together with 1x1s, also from the potato tower.

The tools used to build this was my big saw, a dovetail saw, a mortising chisel, a mallet, a square, 6 clamps, and a block plane.

The shower pan was very much laid out in the “standardized parts” way as it had to match the dimensions of the shower pan exactly. All the angles are 45 degrees. It was quite challenging to glue together. The plywood was then cut out a little bit too big form the bottom/top and planed to match.

The shower pan (inverted) rests on a frame. The frame is built with top tenons. I clamped the legs to the pan and connected the legs with top tenons in a half-assed way simply by laying out the 1×1 on top of the legs, making some pencil marks are sawing to those. This is the “organic” way when pieces are fitted to each other one after the other rather than cutting everything first and assembling everything later. In this way any mistakes can usually be corrected in the next step. After gluing the frame together, the shower pan was moved from the bottom (where it supported the legs) to the top. Done!

It’s a nice sturdy little table. (The chair is from freecycle.)

What’s the point of this post?

  1. The total cost was low—but not as low as getting a free table on craigslist or freecycle.
  2. I repurposed things I already had making the cost even lower—no shopping was required to build this table.
  3. I have taught myself everything I know about woodworking over the past year—while I can’t build pretty stuff (yet), I can build rather solid stuff. And so can you.

Frugal doesn’t mean not having a table and sitting on the ground. (I think that’s what being minimalist means ;-P … just kidding!) It means not buying a $89.95 table on a furniture sale at 0% interest for the next 36 months.

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Originally posted 2011-08-28 12:31:43.