Good things come in threes: Make an outdoor side table, coffee table, and serving table using one basic design.
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To make assembly of the outdoor tables a snap, we’ve provided three animations that will help you visualize the steps. Watch the videos for some easy to follow assembly instructions.
Start by building the base. Wood can vary in thickness depending on the species of wood you purchase. Cedar boards are typically thicker than pine or pressure-treated boards, so use the wood (instead of measuring) when you need to create offsets of interlocking parts like in these tables.
Cedar boards often come with one smooth and one rough face. Turn the rough surface to the inside so the side of the boards you touch will be smooth and splinter-free.
From 1"×6" cedar boards, cut the legs (A), stretchers (B), and fillers (C) to length (Project Diagram & Cutting List). Sand the boards with 120-grit sandpaper and assemble two legs and two stretchers (Project Diagram, Drawing 1) using glue and 2" screws. Locate the bottom stretcher 1-1/2" (the thickness of two pieces of cedar) off your work surface (Photo 1), and the top 3/4" (the thickness of one cedar board) down from the top of the legs.
Secure the two remaining legs to a stretcher to create the second leg frame. Place the stretcher flush with the top of the legs. Secure with glue and screws.
Cut a 45-degree angle on each end of the two top fillers (Project Diagram, Drawing 2) and set in position on the top stretcher of the completed leg frame. Slide the second leg assembly onto the leg assembly between the top fillers and secure the parts using glue and screws (Photo 2).
Slip the last stretcher into the assembly and position on the bottom stretcher. Secure using glue and screws (Photo 3).
Place the top slats on your work surface spaced 1/4" apart with the ends aligned. Flip the table base upside down and center it on the top slats; secure the top to the table using 1-1/4" screws (Project Diagram, Drawing 3).
Turn the table upright and use a beam compass to draw a circle with a radius of 11-1/4" on the top (Photo 4).
Cut the top to shape with a jigsaw (Photo 5).
Finish it up by removing the slats from the table and sanding the cut edges and all remaining surfaces smooth with 100-grit sandpaper.
Apply the finish. For cedar, apply your choice of stain -- we used a natural cedar transparent deck stain applied with a foam roller. For the pine, apply an exterior stain-blocking primer and two coats of semigloss exterior paint. Finish the tables in your choice of stain or paint (using different colors on the slats gives the tables extra flair).
When the finish has cured (see manufacturer's instructions), reinstall the slats on the table.
The coffee table and serving table are built using the same basic steps as the side table. First, prepare the legs (E), short stretchers (F), and long stretchers (G) for the coffee table (Cutting List and Diagram). Cut the parts to length, sand, and assemble two leg assemblies -- parts (E) and (F) -- using glue and screws (Project Diagram, Drawing 4).
Add the long stretchers and remaining legs to the two leg assemblies to complete the coffee table base using glue and screws.
Make the top by securing the remaining short stretcher to the center of the top long stretcher (Project Diagram, Drawing 4). Cut four 1"×6" boards to length for the top slats (H) (Cutting List and Diagram).
Place the top slats on a flat work surface spaced 1/4" apart with the ends aligned. Center the table base on the top slats and attach using 1-1/4" screws (Project Diagram, Drawing 5).
Flip the table upright, and use a beam compass to draw an 11-3/8" radius on the ends of the top slats (Project Diagram, Drawing 6); cut with a jigsaw.
Remove the top slats, sand, and apply the same finish used for the side table base. When the finish has cured, reinstall the slats. Mix up colors for the top slats to add a punch of color.
First build the base by preparing the legs (I), short stretchers (J), and long stretchers (K) for the server (Cutting List and Diagram). Cut the parts to length, sand, and assemble two leg assemblies -- parts (I) and (J) -- using glue and screws (Project Diagram, Drawing 7).
Note that the stretchers are slightly longer than those used with the other two tables, and this table includes a middle shelf. To set the middle shelf perfectly level, cut two scraps 16" long and stand them on end on the bottom stretcher, set the middle stretcher in position resting on the scraps, and attach the stretcher to the legs with screws; remove the scraps.
Add the long stretchers and two remaining legs to the assembly using glue and screws to complete the server base.
Make the top by securing the two remaining stretchers (J) to the center of the middle and top long stretchers (K) (Project Diagram, Drawing 7). Cut whitewood boards (pine) to length for the shelf slats (L) and top slats (M) (Cutting List and Diagram).
Lay out and cut the 2" radii using a compass and a jigsaw on each end of the front shelf slat (Project Diagram, Drawing 8). Set the remaining shelf slats into the table and secure to the middle stretchers (J) (Project Diagram, Drawing 9).
Place the top slats on a flat work surface spaced 1/4" apart with the ends aligned. Center the server base on the top slats and attach using 1-1/4" screws.
Stand the table upright. Use a beam compass to draw an 11-3/8" radius on the ends of the top slats (Project Diagram, Drawing 10). Cut the front boards with a jigsaw.
Remove the top slats, sand, and apply a finish. When the finish has cured, reinstall the slats.