Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Revising and Outdoor Metal and Tile Table

My parents have an outdoor metal table in which they attached some decorative tiles to.  The image below shows the metal table, but I photoshopped the tiles on.

Underneath the tiles was plywood.

Now there is only a metal frame.

After about 10 years the metal began rusting and the wood all but deteriorated.  My parents removed the tile and put it aside.

They kindly asked if I could fix it up, and I can't say no to my beloved parents. So I brought the metal table back home to my workshop.

I also brought one of the tiles to help me figure out the correct thickness for the wood underneath.

My first task will be to remove all the old grout from the sides.

For this I used a hammer and my trusty chisel.

I used my Clamping Bench Dogs to hold the metal table down to my work table so I can easily hammer away.

After each side was clear of grout, I sanded to make sure all the old material was gone.

Then I flipped the metal table and worked on the next edge.

After each side I would sharpen my chisel to make my job easier.

And after an hour or so all the grout was gone.

Next I removed all the hex bolts that held the table together.

These bolts are very rusty.  If I can't clean them up I'll have to buy replacements.

With the table disassembled...

...I placed the top on my worktable to determine the size of the wood that should go underneath.

I tested a few thicknesses of plywood with the one tile I have.

1/4" thick plywood is the winner.

With that done I began sanding each piece of the metal table to clear out the dirt, sand and rust.

When all the pieces were thoroughly sanded I used a damp (not wet) cloth to clean up each piece.

Then I decided to measure the whole thing.  I'll let you know why shortly.


With all the pieces cleaned up I prepped them all for painting.

I coated all the pieces with a matte black spray paint which is made for furniture outdoors.

While that dried I was able to clean up the bolts with some sandpaper.  

Then to prevent them from rusting again I painted them as well.

While I let everything dry I used the measurements I took earlier to draw the table frame in 3D.  My mother is expecting the same table...

...with the wood underneath...

...and then the tile.

But I'm thinking of adding to it

I'm going to add some 1x6 wood boards underneath.  This will do 2 things: 1) it will look nice in the rectangular shapes on the sides of the table.

and 2) it will also add some strength to the very thin wood underneath.  
So while I waited for the paint to fully dry I went to the store to pick up the wood I needed.  Once the paint had fully dried I reassembled the table.

It may be hard to see the difference from the pictures, but up-close the difference is night and day.

Then I went out and bought the wood I needed.

The plywood was cut at the table saw.

Despite how the picture looks below, the fit is perfect.  The plywood is just warped - but I'll straighten it out later.

For the wood supports and sides, I cut them out on the miter saw.

Holding up a piece of the wood on the side underneath the metal frame I could tell that this was going to look good.

But before I begin fitting all the wood together I need to deal with some of the metal supports that exist on the table.

I'll need to trim away some wood so that the sides are flush to the bottom of the plywood top.

So I made some marks on the board where those metal beams are...

...and then set up my cross-cut sled on the table saw with the blade just barely peaking out.

I then proceeded to cut out a small dado in the wood sides.

This dado will fit the metal beams.

I repeated the process on the shorter sides which has an eye hole for screws.

Next I began making pocket holes on the shorter boards.

Using clamps to hold the sides in place, I screwed in pocket screws.

And then the supports.

The whole frame fits nicely inside with all the dadoes securely against the metal beams and eye holes.

At this point it was getting dark and I called it a night.  The next morning I started by attaching the wood frame to the metal table by using the eye holes and some screws.

Next I placed the plywood top on, and drilled some holes with countersinks.

The screws sit beneath the surface of the plywood top and are anchored in the wood supports.

There are many screws in the top.  This will keep the board from warping.

One last test to make sure the tile is at a good height - which it is.

Before I assemble everything for good I want to 'weatherproof' the plywood.  There are many products out there that do this, but mostly for a larger scale - such as a wood patio or porch.  As such, these products are expensive.  So after a bit of research I found a cheaper alternative - Plastidip!

This stuff is heat and moisture resistant, so it should make a good weatherproofing for the plywood.  So I applied a few generous layers.

While that dried I sanded the wood frame.

I want this wood to have a little protection as well.  So once the plastidip on the plywood was dry I move it and put the frame on the drop cloth.  Then I applied some Danish Oil.

Once that dried I attached the wood frame to the metal table, and then attached the plywood to the wood frame.  I'm done!

The tiles still need to be added, but that is a task my parents want to do.

The wood on black metal look is actually pretty nice.  I may have to do something similar in the future.

I let the table air out for a few days before bringing it over to my parents house.  They eventually got around to adding the tile...but haven't yet added the grout by the time of this writing.

Once the grout is in place I'm sure this table will look great,and I'll be sure to post the finished pictures here.

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