Friday, April 22, 2011

DIY concrete outdoor table

     I haven't posted here in this blog in a while but life just gets that way sometimes.  I am much more on top of my other blog posts at my other home improvement blog
     As many of you know my husband and I built a gazebo in our back yard last year and since then I've wanted some small outdoor end tables and just wasn't willing to spend the money for the crappy tables I found at various stores.  Sometime in the middle of this past winter I read about making concrete table tops in my favorite magazine, The Family Handyman (maybe one day they'll change the title), and have been thinking about it since then. 
     The weather has finally cooperated and I was able to start the project.  However, like with so many of the projects we decide to try on our own the instructions make it seem so much easier than it is.  Here is a description of the project so far and comments about what I ended up doing differently so far.  The table top is still in the garage curing at this time so you won't see the finished product for a few more days.
I wanted to use the Quikrete counter top mix but couldn't find it anywhere locally.  My friends at Ace Hardware - Alameda Station put in a special order for me but the product won't be here for a few weeks. I did some research on line and this was the product other's had used so I decided to do some experimenting with this.  I want to make 4 tables and if this product doesn't work I will use it to make some stepping stones for our garden.
I know I swore I'd never again make something with eight sides after all of the measuring and cutting we had to do for the gazebo but I just couldn't have square tables in an octagonal gazebo. I guess I have a little bit of OCD going on but this cutting and measuring was much easier.  This is a picture of the form I will be using for the table tops. The instructions recommended using melamine (the white laminated shelving stuff) but I thought it was too expensive.

I painted the inside surfaces of the form to provide some protection for the wood to minimize the concrete sticking and to allow me to reuse the forms for additional table tops.  I also caulked all the of seams so I would have smoother edges and with the hope it will make it easier to remove the forms when I am done.
If you are interested in details on how I made the forms, feel free to comment and I'll get those details to you.
I filled the form with the concrete mix, made sure the form was sitting on a level surface, covered it with plastic and left it to set up in the garage.
I forgot to add the colorant into the water before I mixed so this table top won't be black like I wanted.  This is just an experiment so I'm not too upset. 
The instructions showed a mix that was very runny. I know enough about concrete to know that too much water is a bad thing.  I'm assuming the countertop mix may be different.  So the consistency I used was more like chunky peanut butter.
I will be posting the pictures of how the table top turned out and, if successful, how to make and attach the legs.
I'm thinking of having a class or clinic on making stepping stones or small table tops like this.  If you are interested please comment on this blog post or send me an email and I'll let you know what I'm planning.
Judy Browne
home improvement classes for women
mail@workshopforwomen.com

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