How to make a garden table in a day

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Don't pay astronomical prices for garden furniture, make a solid outdoor table in a day with this guide.

How to make a garden table in a day

From 2019 to 2021, the price of garden furniture has soared by more than 155% and retailers have blamed rising shipping, freight and raw material costs for the astronomical increases in the prices over that period.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has also contributed to the price hike because an overwhelming number of consumers have been investing in their outdoor space.

The bad news is when prices jump, it's very unlikely they will return to normal, especially because there seems to be no end to the pandemic insight and supply issues due to Brexit are still a major problem for retailers.

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The Good news is you don't have to get caught up in the stress of finding the right garden furniture for your needs and then coughing up vast amounts of money to make the purchase, only to then wait for an unlimited amount of time for it to finally arrive at your door. There is a much cheaper and exciting solution... Make your own!

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The great thing about making your own garden furniture is that you get to create the exact size of furniture for your garden/outdoor space. You don't have to settle for generic sizes or styles that are not a good fit for your surroundings.

We're not saying this is going to be easy but it's a job that can be done by one person in a single day (excluding painting & drying time) as long as you have all the materials and tools required to complete the job.

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Image 1
6 galvanised steel tubes in 48mm diameter are easily screwed on and off the wall plate fitting which are attached to the underside of the table top. Pipe Clamp Store can cut the legs to your specific size.

List of materials to make a garden table

The following materials are what you need at a minimum to create the tabletop and the legs. The wood is easily sourced from any decent DIY store such as Wickes, while the galvanised steel pipes and fittings can be ordered and cut to size from Pipe Clamp Store.

  • Sawn Construction Timber (you can choose sixes that suit you)
  • Good quality wood screws
  • 48mm Galvanised steel tubes (4 or 6, depending on the length of the table)
  • 48mm Wall Plate Fitting for galvanised steel tubes (4 or 6 depending how many legs ordered)
  • 48mm Plastic End Caps (4 or 6, depending how many legs ordered)

The thing that makes this project so doable in just one day is the fact that the legs of the table (usually the most difficult to get right) is made from galvanised pipes and clamps which just screw on and can also be screwed off so that you can stow the tabletop away when you need to reclaim your space.

When choosing the wood, we recommend you buy timber that has already been treated, otherwise you will have to treat it yourself, which will add an extra day to the finishing of the project.

Tools needed for the job

You will only need two tools to complete this job of making this garden table. Ideally, you want to have a power drill, unless you have forearms like Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you have a compound mitre saw or a circular saw it will speed things up a lot but you can equally use a simple hand saw because there really isn't much sawing to do for this project. Plus, a hand saw will give the sawn ends a nice rustic handmade finish.

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  7. Rattan Patio Garden Table and Chairs

Image 2
Wickes has a very large variety of sawn constructions timber (treated and untreated) to choose from. Select the sizes that best suit your needs.

Making the table top

Now that you have all your materials and tools at the ready, all you need to do is get busy and start making the table top. We don't need to worry about making the legs because they just need screwing in at the end.

First thing you need to do is determine the length and width of the table you want to make. Really, you need to have decided on this before actually purchasing the timber and the galvanised steel legs.

The most important thing to know before making a table is the height of the table top from the floor. If you don't get that right, the whole project will be a waste of time because it's not pleasant to eat at a table that is either too high or too low.

The standard height of a table is between 74cm and 75cm

In terms of the length and width, that really is up to you but when ordering the galvanised steel legs you must work out where on the underside of the table you will be screwing the wall plates that hold the legs in place.

If the wood you are using is 4.5cm thick, then you should order the galvanised steel pipes to be cut to 70cm. The total height of the entire structure shouldn't exceed 75cm high.

For the sake of this 'How To' we are going to stick to the table pictured in the image at the top of this page. It's designed to comfortably seat 12 people but is quite heavy.

To make the table pictured above you will need 12 planks of Treated Kiln Dried C16 Timber - 45 x 95 x 2.4m - The total cost of the wood is around £150.

First you need to cut three planks into 120cm each. These will be the rails onto which you will screw the table top stiles to. Now lie 10 full 2.4m planks side by side on the floor or on top of a table (if you have one big enough).

For the garden picnic table look you will need to space the 2.4m planks 1cm apart from each other. Use a hard object that measures no more then 1cm side as a guide to separate the planks.

Image 3
These galvanised steel wall plates fit 48mm galvanised steel poles, securely fastened with grub screws which are tightened with an allen key.

Now that all the planks are evenly spaced apart you can start to screw the rails into the planks you have evenly spaced out. For a table this size, you will need to use three support rails to cover the 2.4m planks. If your table is smaller (no more than 1.8m) you can get away with just two support rails.

Once you've screwed in all the support rails into all the spaced out planks, all you need to do is cut off the surplus wood from the rails. There shouldn't be more than 10 to 20cm to remove from each one. Now you give yourself a pat on the back because you've just finished making the table top. For a table this size, you can get this part of the job done in around 2-3 hours.

Attaching the table legs

Now it's time to attached the Wall Plate Fittings to the bottom of the table top. These wall plates will house the galvanised steel poles. It's best to place the wall plates onto the supporting rails so that when you screw them in, you can screw all the way through the supporting rail and into the table top for optimum strength.

Just remember that if you use this method, the actual legs will need to be cust to 65cm when you make your custom order. Two 4.5cm thick planks = 90cm. So for a table height of 74cm you will need to order the legs to be 74cm - 9cm = 65cm.

To buy six 48mm galvanised steel legs cut to 65cm each, plus the wall plates and plastic end caps, it will around £70.

Attaching the wall plates shouldn't take you more than 30 mins or so. Just make sure you use a screw that is long enough to penetrate both the supporting rail and the table top plank.

Job done? Now all you need to do is insert the legs into the wall plates and tighten using an Allen key, pop one the Plastic End Caps so that the galvanised steel poles have a soft surface that comes in contact with the floor and you're done.

Image 4
Cuprinol Garden Shades paints have been a huge hit with consumers looking to brighten up their garden sheds, fences and furniture. You can find these in most good DIY stores and garden centres.

Finishing off the table

If you used already treated wood, your garden table is good to go now, unless that is, you want to jazz things up with a bit of colour.

Cuprinol Garden Shades has been doing a roaring trade since launching because they have such a huge selection of colours to choose from. Plus, it's very easy to apply because it's very light and water based and can be applied using a brush, roller or spray. The colours don't just look great, they have been specially developed to also protect sheds, fences and other garden wood.

The colour used on the table pictured is Cuprinol Garden shades Fresh rosemary Matt Wood paint. A 2.5L can will set you back just over £20 and you can find these in most DIY/Homewares stores. You will need two coats and a 2.5L can is more than enough for the job. You will have some left over to apply a fresh coat in a year's time.

All in all the total cost of this huge table that seats 12 people and a load of food very comfortably, it will set you back around £250. For a similar sized table, you could be shelling out twice if not three times that amount.

If you made the table smaller, such as 180cm L x 90cm W x 75cm H, you could easily shave off £100 from the finished price because you won't need as much wood and you will only need 4 legs instead of 6.

Remember also that this table is super versatile because the legs can be removed, as they are secured on by grub screws, tightened with an Allen key.

How about garden chairs?

If you're really feeling full of yourself and fancy yourself as a DIY demigod after completing the table top, you can use the same principle to make benches for the table, but that's for another blog post. The short cut is to buy some Double Tube Aluminium Chairs like the ones pictured in this blog. A set of four costs around £140.

Alternative to making your own garden table

If making your own garden furniture is too much of a mission for you, and you're not in the position to splash out loads of cash on overpriced garden furniture from the garden centres, there is an alternative. You can get some really good deals on second hand garden furniture from and other sites such as Free Ads and other similar websites.

Be mindful when using second hand websites because sometimes individual sellers try and capitalise on the shortages on the high street but hiking their prices too. Just because you see something on a second hand website doesn't automatically mean it's great value for money. If you find something you like, do a search on a mainstream retailers website to see if the price is worth it.

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