Outdoor Coffee Table – The Plan

Outdoor Coffee Table – The Plan

New table build! It’s an exciting time out here in Denver, as I get to build another table! Nothing like a good excuse to put to use every lesson learned from my first table build. I finished up the outdoor sectional, and it needs a place for my near constant stream of lattes. So, new outdoor coffee table build time!

Unlike the sectional build, where I used free plans from Real Cedar, the table required an original design. First step in any design is figuring out the final size of the product. To help Allyson and I get a picture of the size options, I brought out the small coffee table we have in our living room for reference.

Death, taxes, and badly lit photos on this blog.

Now obviously the table will not normally have leftover wood slats on it. Even with the clutter, it was a good way to get a feel for the outdoor coffee table size requirements. We also broke out a couple tape measures and laid them down as two sides to a rectangle. That way we could quickly adjust the length and width of the proposed table. After that, it was pretty easy to come up with our final design size: 3’6”L x 2’2¾”W x 1’5½”H.

That slightly strange width measurement was initially 2’3”, but after modeling the table in SketchUp, 2’ 2¾” fell out naturally from the slat widths and spacing that I designed between them. Speaking of SketchUp, here’s the model!

A really straightforward design, but with some elements that help me practice my woodworking skills. First, the legs will have mitered corners, so I’ll get practice on cutting and assembling a clean joint. Second, the slats will be attached to the legs via mortise and tenon joints. This is something that I spoke of extensively during the dining table build. Both of these features should help me improve my skills, while also giving the finished product a clean look.

The best part of this build is that it’s all free! Well, “free”. When I bought the wood for the sectional, the lumber yard didn’t have all of the lengths I ordered when I picked them up. So they gave me longer lengths of a lot of wood for the same prices as the shorter lengths. Definitely a great deal for me, especially in the middle of really high prices on wood! Next week I’ll start talking about turning the SketchUp design into a real coffee table!   

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