How to Build an Umbrella Table
For sunny-day gatherings all summer, build this sturdy, four-person redwood umbrella table.
Materials: 1 × 4 clear grade redwood and 2 × 4 construction heart-grade redwood stock; 2-inch 1 1/2-inch, and 2 1/2-inch #8 flathead brass wood screws; sandpaper; if desired, redwood oil or stain; patio umbrella with 1 1/2-inch shaft.
Time: about 4 to 6 hours.
To build the table, use 1 × 4 clear-grade redwood and 2 × 4 construction heart-grade redwood. First, construct the tabletop frame. Cut two 44-inch pieces of 1 × 4 redwood. Drill two 11/64-inch holes in each end of each piece, 3/8 inch back from the ends and 1 inch in from the edges. Cut two 42 1/2-inch pieces of 1 × 4.
Stand the four frame pieces on edge in a rectangle, with the shorter pieces butted between the longer ones and the corner joints aligned. Fasten the pieces together with two 2-inch #8 flathead brass wood screws at each joint, driven through the drilled holes. Because redwood is soft, it usually isn't necessary to drill pilot holes or countersink screws; set the screw heads flush with the wood surface.
To make the table legs, cut four 26 3/4-inch pieces of 2 × 4. Drill five 11/64-inch holes through the tabletop frame at each corner, as illustrated in the assembly diagram. Position a 2 × 4 leg at each inside corner of the tabletop frame. Secure each leg with three 1 1/2-inch #8 flathead brass wood screws driven through the holes and into the face of the leg, and two 2-inch #8 flathead brass wood screws driven through the holes and into the edges of the 1 × 4's.
Cut two 42 1/2-inch pieces of 2 × 4 for the table base. Drill two 11/64-inch holes in each end of each base piece, spaced 3/8 inch in from the end and 1 inch in from the edges. Turn the table upside down, and lay the two base pieces across the two pairs of legs. Align the joints, and secure the base pieces with two 2 1/2-inch #8 flathead brass wood screws driven through the holes at each joint.
Cut one 42 1/2-inch piece and one 35 1/2-inch piece of 2 × 4 for the stretcher assembly. Find the centerpoint of each of these pieces; draw a line across the 2 × 4 face at the halfway point, then measure to find the middle of the line. With an electric drill and a hole saw attachment, bore a 1 5/8-inch hole through the 42 1/2-inch piece, centered on the centerpoint. Drill just until the bit in the hole saw penetrates to the back of the 2 × 4; then turn the 2 × 4 over and complete the hole from the opposite side to prevent splintering the wood.
Bore a 1 5/8-inch hole in the 35 1/2-inch piece of 2 × 4, but only to a depth of approximately 1 1/8 inches. Do not bore all the way through the wood. Break splinters out of the hole with a small wood chisel.
In the 42 1/2-inch piece of the stretcher assembly, drill a series of 11/64-inch holes, as illustrated in the assembly diagram. Set the 42 1/2-inch piece on top of the 35 1/2-inch piece, with the long edges flush and the large center holes perfectly aligned. Fasten the pieces together with 2 1/2-inch # 8 flathead brass wood screws driven through the series of 11/64-inch holes.
With the table right side up, mark the midpoint -- halfway between the legs -- of the base pieces. Place the stretcher assembly between the two base pieces, centered on the marks; the shorter piece fits between the base pieces. Fasten the stretcher assembly to the base pieces with two 2½-inch #8 flathead brass wood screws driven through the drilled holes at each end.
Mark the centerline of the table frame on two opposite sides of the frame's top edge by measuring in 22 inches from each end of a side piece. Cut a 46 1/4 inch piece of 1 × 4 redwood for the center board of the tabletop. Find the centerpoint of this piece, and bore a 1 5/8-inch hole completely through it, centered on the center point. At each end of the piece, drill two 11/64-inch holes, 1 1/4 inches back from the end and 1 inch in from the sides. Position the piece at the center of the tabletop frame, centering it on the centerline marks, and adjust it so that it overhangs the frame by 1 1/8 inches on each end. Secure the board to the frame with two 1 1/4-inch #8 flathead brass wood screws at each end, driven through the drilled holes and into the frame edges.
To complete the table, cut 12 more 46 1/4-inch pieces of 1 × 4 redwood. For the ten inside boards of the tabletop, drill two holes in each end of each board, as above. For the two boards that will lie at the outside on each side of the table, drill screw holes the same way on the inside edge, but space the holes toward the outside edge 1 1/2 inches in and 2 1/4 inches back from the ends. Starting at the center board, set each interior 1 × 4 into position successively, aligned with the center board and spaced 1/16 inch apart. Secure each board with 1 1/4-inch #8 flathead brass wood screws, driven through the drilled holes. Finish the top of the table with the two specially drilled outside pieces, laid with their odd holes to the outside. The 1/16-inch spacing specified is based on a uniform board width of 3 1/2 inches. If your boards are slightly wider or narrower, reposition them to maintain even spacing across the tabletop.
To complete the table, round the upper edges and corners of all tabletop boards and smooth off the cut ends and any rough spots, using a fine-toothed flat file and sandpaper. If desired, apply redwood oil or stain to preserve the redwood's color. To use the table, slide the shaft of your patio umbrella down through the hole in the center of the tabletop and into the hole in the stretcher assembly.
Furnishing your patio doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Use the directions in this article to build handmade patio furniture you can be proud of.
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