This was by far my biggest woodworking project. I've assembled plenty of IKEA furniture, but hadn't built anything from plans I made since ninth grade woodshop when I made a bread box. My younger brother is quite handy – he created this Lego table (i.imgur.com/TpdY593.jpg) as a gift for my son, going off of pictures he found online. I asked him if he'd come visit and help me build my table – he lives in Nebraska, I'm in St. Louis – and so he loaded up his wife, their five kids and our mom and spend a long weekend helping me build this table. He also brought a trailer load of tools, as my only power tools are a cordless drill and an orbital sander. The only power tools we used for the project were a miter saw, the sander, the drill, a jigsaw and a shop vac for cleanup. The build itself took about 18 hours with the two of us and cost just under $200.
The large BGE was a gift from my father-in-law several years ago, when he was still a BGE dealer. The side tables (made with cutting boards) had seen better days. We moved a year ago, so I had a nice deck space that was perfect for a table for the grill.
I decided I wanted a corner table and began to search online for some possibilities. I found this photo and liked the design, but couldn't find any plans. I sent the picture to my brother and he was pretty sure we could figure it out.
I tried to roughly figure out measurements for the top so I'd know how much lumber I'd need to buy. I actually was pretty close.
I had an idea of how big I wanted the table to be, and I knew I had to have a 21" hole for the grill to fit, so I tried to work off the inspiration photo to figure out other measurements. The actual table was pretty close to this. The only difference is the total height, which ended up being 36".
My FIL had given me some cedar he had left over from a previous project and I knew I wanted to use some of that. I had four 6' long 2x6s and six 2x4s that were all about 40" long. I decided to use the 2×6 for the table top, and figured I'd have enough for the side shelves. With a $200-$250 budget in mind, I knew there was no way I'd be able to make the entire table out of cedar, so I opted for white fir. I picked up eight 8' long 2x6s and ten 8' long 2x4s. In my feeble attempt to figure out measurements, I was pretty sure I'd have one 2×4 left over, but ended up using all of them. I did manage to only use seven of the 2x6s, though. Still, only needed to make one trip to Lowe's for lumber.
No turning back now!
We spent quite a bit of time early on just working out measurements for the frame. Part of the reason I used all of the 2x4s was because we incorrectly cut a piece or two. The whole thing was assembled with 2" deck screws and in a few places 3" screws.
I drew a circle on the garage floor to get an approximate size of the hole I'd need to cut in the top. We used that to figure out placement for the additional underside support pieces we added to the frame.
We put a single cross piece to help distribute the weight of the grill.
We cut the cedar for the sides and put those pieces on first so we could figure out what we needed to cut for the center. You may also notice my brother's choice of safe footwear.
There was quite a bit of time measuring and re-measuring the pieces to get a good fit. You can see we still didn't end up with completely perfect angles, but since most of these pieces will be cut for the hole in the center, we knew we could readjust them. (Lowe's was all out of board stretchers) Also in this photo, I'm measuring to figure out where exactly I'll place the hole. It couldn't be centered in the table, or it would be too far from the front.
I needed a 21" hole, so I stuck a screw in the center of where I wanted the hole and used a wire and a pencil to draw the circle. Why wire? The only other option I could find was some of my wife's knitting yarn, which was way too stretchy. The wire worked great.
Fast forward to a completed hole. I used the jigsaw to cut it out. My brother's jigsaw blade didn't like to stay square, so the hole is slightly flared, but not too bad. At this point, all of the top pieces have been screwed in. You can also see where we had to add some additional 2×4 lengths (another reason I ran out) because we didn't have anything to screw the center of the table in along the edges.
This was probably one of the biggest pains in the ass for the entire project. The legs go through the bottom shelf, so I had to cut holes to slide the legs through. I measured and drew out the location of the pocket, drilled some pilot holes and then used the jigsaw. Remember when I said it'd did't cut 100% square? This was when that came back to bite me in the ass. This part of the build required all of my concentration and most of my profanity.
One of the holes ended up too far away from the 2×4 support underneath and when I went to cut the hole back out, it was WAY too big. Thankfully, I had a enough of the cedar left to cut a new piece and start over.
In order for the grill to fit correctly, the top of the bottom shelf needed to be 15" below the top shelf. I marked one part of the leg as the top and then measured and drew lines to indicated where they would sit on the shelf. Technically, it should be 15" from top of the top to top of the bottom, but I screwed up and measured from bottom of the top to top of the bottom. Thankfully, it still worked out just fine.
The table has nine legs. Eight of them are near the side shelves, so my brother and I figured that was potentially a lot of weight on that back corner leg. We decided to double up the 2x4s for that corner.
I really like the two-toned look of the different woods.
We put two coats of varnish on the underside of the shelves before assembly. I used Minwax Pro Series Spar Urethane in a semi-gloss. I bought a quart to start. The wood soaked up quite a bit in the first couple of coats, so we had to pick up a second quart.
At this point, there were to coats on all of the bottom shelf and two coats on the underside of the top shelf, so it was time to move the whole thing onto the deck for assembly. The little blocks were in the original image, so we carried them over. Only one would really be needed for the wheels, but I opted for one on each side of the leg for the symmetry. Word to the wise: pre-drill holes for those little pieces. I had to cut three extras because I kept splitting the wood. You'd think I would've caught on sooner. :\
Were these necessary? I dunno, but they were in the original picture, so we added them. I had planned on using a 2×4 for those pieces, but because I ran out, I used some of the leftover 2×6 I had.
Maggie didn't really prove to be all that helpful. She mostly just wanted to lay in the sun. She is 13, though, so I guess I'll give her a pass.
Fast forward to the legs and wheels all getting installed. I put a locking wheel on the front outside corners. Shoutout to my wife who ran back to Lowes with my sister-in-law when I discovered I only purchased seven wheels for my nine legs. 😐 I'm an English teacher; math is hard…
We attached it through the legs from the underside.
The weekend was over and my brother and his family headed home. I still had to varnish the top shelf and apply a couple more coats to the bottom. Minwax recommended four coats for outdoor use, so that's what I did. Before applying any of the varnish, I sanded with 80, 150 and 180 grits. I sanded with 220 in between each coat. This took longer than I intended because the week after my brother left I started back at school, so I was worn out and didn't get more than one more coat. Then that next weekend, I drove up to Nebraska for my grandpa's funeral. The following week, it rained.
Finally, this past weekend the weather was beautiful and I was able to put on the remaining coats. I was so happy with how it looked at this point.
Placed and awaiting an egg.
My son (the one in the pic above) was gifted a Minimax from his grandpa, so I wanted to make sure the table had room for it as well. Since the height ended up at 36", I was a little worried about how high it would be, but it was perfect!
Until I purchase a dome cover, I was able to shove the original cover down through the table.
This nice little piece of 1×4 is the start of a mini-project for the table. Fair warning: I haven't finished this project yet, but feel free to continue reading.
I had this BGE bottle opener and decided to attempt to make a magnetic board to attach to the table.
I bought a 1 1/2" neodymium magnet for the bottle opener. My brother didn't have any forstner bits and I wasn't about to spend money on a bit I'd just use once, so we improvised. We drilled a few starter holes to take out most of the stock.
It's certainly not going to win any beauty awards, but we chiseled out the hole until the magnet fit.
I picked it up off of Amazon for $6 or $7.
I put a little bit of epoxy in the bottom of the hole and then stuck the magnet in.
I filled the hole with the rest of the epoxy and let it cure. After it was dry, I sanded and varnished it. I think I actually ended up putting six coats on the front side.
Apparently, we never actually measured this piece. Before added the opener, I decided to figure out where I wanted it on the table and discovered it was too tall. I haven't yet taken the time to cut it down, but once I do, I'll update and add the completed opener.