Free DIY Cedar Patio Table Woodworking Plans
Inpsired by the Pottery Barn Chatham Rectangular Dining Table
These plans are a guide to build a simple DIY cedar patio table. Using cedar, this outdoor table will age beautifully. This is the first project I have completely designed in Sketchup before building. I will be posting pictures of the actual build in addition to CAD pictures from Sketchup.
Start by building the top. Specifically, start with the perimeter mitered pieces. I chose to design this table with a mitered perimeter, but the Pottery Barn Chatham uses simple butt joints for the perimeter pieces. Both look nice, so make it whichever way you want. The actual dimensions I chose for the butted table build are a bit bigger than shown.
The table top is made from 5/4×6 cedar decking boards that have been ripped down to 5” wide in order to get nice sharp corners. The overall dimensions of this table are 6’ long by 3’ wide. Screw these pieces together using pocket hole screws from the bottom. Make sure the frame is square before continuing.
Once the perimeter of the table top is in place, cut the rest of the internal boards for the top. These boards will be 28.5” long, and you will need 10 of them. These are also made from a 5/4×6 piece of cedar decking that has been ripped down to 5” wide in order to get sharp, square edges. Since you will be cutting 10 of these and you want them to be exactly the same length, it might help to set up a workstop on your table saw crosscut sled or on you miter table stand. Note that there is a ¼” gap between each of the boards. This will allow rain to drain through the table rather than to pool on top. This will also help the table to look great over time, even if the boards shrink.
Once the table top is finished, start working on the apron. This will give the table top its stiffness. The apron is made from cedar 1x4s and is centered on the perimeter boards of the table top. This will give a 2.125” overhang of the table top relative to the apron. The apron should be pocket hole screwed together first, then it should be screwed to the table top using pocket hole screws.
Here’s a picture of the underside of the table as the apron is being installed. Notice the pocket hole screws holding everything together.
You can now cut the legs and the leg braces. The legs are cut from a cedar 4×4 and should be 29” long each. The leg braces are cut from the same 1×4 used for the apron. Cut these 8” long. They are simply there to help stiffen the legs. Screw these leg braces into the apron from behind so the screws are hidden. Butt them up snugly to each leg before clamping and screwing in place.
As a last step, attach the legs. I chose to bolt the legs in place using 5” long stainless steel carriage bolts. I did this to make it easy to remove the legs from the table for winter storage. Other methods for attaching the legs could be used if you want to hide the fasteners.
Since this table is made from cedar, it can be used outdoors for many years without a finish. Or, you could choose to use a deck finishing product such as Sikkens Cetol to give it extra protection.
The materials, excluding stain and sealer, should cost about $150 (before tax) to build this table in cedar. This can be easily built in 1 day, and when compared to buying the Pottery Barn Chatham fixed table for $550, this is a bargain! Here is a quick cost breakdown & shopping list.
For an intermediate update, check out my Not All Finishes End Up Perfect page. It shows you the dangers of using cheap paint brushes when finishing projects.