DIY Cedar Patio Table Plans

Free DIY Cedar Patio Table Woodworking Plans
Inpsired by the Pottery Barn Chatham Rectangular Dining Table

See the finished table here


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.

Here’s the link to the Sketchup model of you want to see the full 3D and/or modify it.

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.


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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.

cedar patio table underside

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.table_04_legs


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.

65 thoughts on “DIY Cedar Patio Table Plans

  1. Pingback: Bryan's Site | The Finished DIY Cedar Patio Table

  2. How about a router with a straight-edge? I think I would try this first if you have a router available. Take a look at this video to get you started. If you don’t have a good straight edge, try using a length of SuperStrut. This can be found at Home Depot in the Electrical selection and is very affordable. You could also try a circular saw with either a straight edge or with a shoe to do the rip cut. I would practice on some cheap boards with either of these methods, though. Good luck!

  3. Nimo, here’s one other thought for you if you cannot rip boards to get a sharp edge: Just use the dimensional cedar boards, such as a 1×4 or 1×6 (3/4″ actual thickness) for this. I noticed that they have much sharper corners than the 5/4 decking boards. If you go with this, I might throw another couple braces underneath on the apron to make the table a bit stiffer, but it should be fairly easy.

  4. Hi Bryan. Awesome write up. I am fairly handy and I plan on tackling this project as my first woodworking project. I will need to pick up a table saw and would like to seek some advice on what kind to get. Do you think I can get by with a big box portable 10″ table saw? Do you also have a recommendation for a pocket hole template set? Just wondering if the smaller pocket hole jig will do or if I will need the ‘Master System.’ Thanks

  5. @StinkyPete1211 – I have the Kreg R3 Jr. Pocket Hole Jig System. I think it is sufficient for the DIYer, although some of the other jigs might save you more time if you’re building a ton of stuff. Regarding the table saw, I’m no expert. I did a lot of Googling on recommendations and nearly went with the Bosch GTS1031 10-Inch Portable Jobsite Table Saw, but I found my Ryobi BT3000 on Craigslist for less than $150. I always like saving space, but saving money is also important. I would recommend looking through lots of forums and reviews on your table saw, as it is a very important tool if you’re going to be doing much woodworking. Have fun!

  6. Great walkthrough of your process! Where did you buy the cedar wood? I stopped by Home Depot this morning and all I found was redwood (not in all the correct sizes) and doug fir. There were some boards labeled “furring” and “exposed patio” which looked like the wood in your pictures but I don’t think they were cedar. Once I find the wood I’m going to attempt to build a square table based on your design.

    • Hi Jon, I got the cedar decking at Lowes and Home Depot both. I found that Lowes had a lot better selection of ‘good’ boards in stock than HD, so I bought most of them there. Redwood would be a great choice for this table as well as cedar. I think both would look great.

  7. I noticed your material list calls for 12 bolts – did you put 3 in each leg? If so did you put 2 on one side and 1 on the other side?

    Also are you worried about water penetration on the faces that are butted to other faces? Just wondering if these should be sealed prior to construction.

    Great work! I will be building this over the winter!

    • You got it – 2 in one side, 1 in the other for attaching the legs. It seems to be plenty sturdy like this. I didn’t do anything to seal the butted faces, but that would be an added way to ensure longer life. I look forward to seeing your success!

      • Sorry, did you mean to put each bolt through the apron and through the 4″ leg and lock the bolt end with a nut? 2 on one side and 1 on the other side?!? Thanks.

  8. I just finished building the table top with the same decking you used from Lowes and ripped it down to 5″. It seems like the biggest problem on projects is that the boards are never perfectly flat. There was a slight cupping that made it hard to get the table top completely flat. I’m sure it will be OK after some work with the belt sander, but are home project stores the best place to buy lumber? Would I get better quality at a lumber yard? It seems like even if you buy premium or select quality you still have to deal with wood problems.

    • Possibly. Cupping of wood is a perpetual problem. I just spent a lot of time trying to find the right lumber.

    • You caught me. After designing both, I decided to go with butted joints instead. What can I say, I’m indecisive.

  9. Hey, Bryon. Your great set of instructions and pictures inspired this amateur to attempt this table. Just one thing, you show five inside boards in your computer generated photo, you say you’ll need 10 of these boards (2 x 5). But the photo shows you using 6 boards and the shopping list suggests cutting 12 of of them ( cutting 3 boards each from 4 – 8′ boards; 3 x 4=12). Five boards + 2 perimeter boards plus quarter inch gaps comes to 36.5″. Six boards plus perimeters plus gaps comes to 40.75″. Neither of these is the 3′ length mentioned in the plan. Can you help me out here?

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  12. I know this has been out there for a while, but it’s a great post. With the 1/4″ gap you left between boards, is there a downside to NOT ripping the decking? I don’t have a good way to rip the boards and am trying to decide if I want to use the decking or go with 1×6 dimensional lumber.

    • No downside, it’s just the look I was going for. I prefer the 1″ actual thickness of decking as well. Again, it’s all personal preference.

    • Any boards without squared corners (so basically any dimensional lumber or anything not appearance grade) are going to look funny at the perpendicular seams, where the square corner of the end of one board butts up against the rounded edge of another board. I am about to make this table as well (just bought the lumber today), and I spent a while trying to figure out how to get around ripping the boards, but I think that would make for much less of a clean, finished look. So I am borrowing a table saw.

    • Consider using a trim router with a roundover bit (bottom bushing) on the top edges (or top and bottom on the exterior boards!) This will give you a nice beaded look to the top, and you will not have to rip the boards. CAUTION: You will have to adjust the size of the top or the spacing of the boards!

  13. I noticed you have 3 bolts per leg (2 on one side and 1 on the other). Do you have all 3 bolts going through one 4×4 post? I’m afraid the leg will look like Swiss cheese and the bolts will intersect.

    • Yes, I do have 3 bolts per leg and it is working fine. You can try 2 if you want, see if it’s stable.

    • So far, so good. It’s been out in the weather for 2 full summers and winters and does not seem to have any problems yet. For looks, I have re-stained the top each summer. The UV does take its toll on any wood that is left outside full time.

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  15. What kind of cedar did you use? I have check with the big retail stores ( in Houston, TX) and no one seems to carry the 5/4 x 6 smooth cedar deck boards in stock, or any size for that matter, they only have the rough fence grade cedar. And after checking with lumber yards I have been getting some pretty ridiculous price quotes, no where near your supply list estimate. Any suggestions on where to look, or maybe a different type of wood that is more readily available?

  16. I like what I see in the pics and the plans and I will build one this spring. One question: did you sand or plane the top boards and whether you did or not, what would you recommend.

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  18. Beautiful table! I have an large outdoor table (4′ X 12′) that was built from reclaimed wood. Unfortunately due to wood movement cross grained joints, it hasn’t held up well. I am considering building a new top for this table using your design (I would reuse my tables trestle style legs). I would use 2×8 cedar ripped down to about 6.75 inches. The span between the legs is around 9 feet. Not sure if I should keep the mid board or let the field boards run long and span across the legs. Any thoughts or general concerns with the concept? Do you think the wider boards are more likely to have issues with expansion relative to the end boards? Thanks!

    • I think the wider the board is, the more likely you will see cupping or bowing over time. I have some small amount of cupping in one of my boards now after 3 years of weathering. On a long table like that, I would probably get rid of the center board and just have long runs of boards going the entire length for better structure/stiffness of the table top.

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  20. Hi, I plan on making this, quick question.. The computer image shows table 3′ wide (5 interior boards), but the pictures of your work show 6 interior boards, plus the 2 perimeters.. if you ripped all to 5″ that would total 8 boards x 5″ + 1″(4 gaps) = 41″ wide table top. Is it safe to say that your instructions / cut list match the computer images and I can follow that, and you just built your table 1 board wider? Thanks

  21. Pingback: Outdoor Dining Table Build- Pt 1- Shopping & Cuts..Wheelchair Life - ChefTronic

  22. Great project, can’t wait to make it, thank you! Have you had any issues with wood movement – expanding and contracting? Also have you been happy with how you fastened the legs?

  23. I’d really like to make this table but I’d like it to be 8′-0″ long. Any modifications you would suggest?

  24. Just built your table with a few modifications. I used 2×6 lumber for frame to make it a little stronger. I mitered the corners on the apron and I tapered the legs. Came out great. Also for those in upper mid-west Menards carries good quality cedar.

  25. Pingback: Bryan's Site | Refinishing the Cedar Table

  26. Hey Bryan!
    I have a bone to pick with you about this project. I recently made this table for my Dad for Father’s Day. I used cedar that he has had setting in a barn for 30 years.
    Your description of the project above made it sounds like this was a quick, easy, one day project. I was expecting it to take a 2-3 days tops. It was a LOT more time consuming and difficult than that. It took me almost 2 weeks of 10 hour days. It was a lot more of a pain in the butt than you made it sound like. Towards the end, I was wishing that I had gotten my Dad some slippers instead and was cussing out this project. In the end, the table looks awesome but you should say this is a 2 week project. It took me forever!

    • 2 weeks of 10 hours per day? What took so much time? Did you have a lot of issues with the table saw? Or was it assembly? I found that assembly was easiest with good clamping. I was able to build the table in a day, but finishing it took a few more days. I guess everyone works at their own speed. The important thing is to be safe and enjoy the build!

    • too much time consumed on other things I assume.
      I picked up wood on a Friday evening and delivered the table Saturday at around 7:30 pm

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  30. I am making this table only making it 11 1/2 feet long.noticed in your drawings table has 5 board width but in actual pics it has 6….made mine with the 5 wide but now after finishing it I wish I made it with 6….added another set of legs in the middle to support extra length…even with 5 board width still fits a chair but wish I had the extra 5 inches….the extra length however provides seating for ten and I included built in wine chiller buckets

  31. built this but made it 11 ft long so it seats 10….took only 2 days but now that its done wish I added the extra board width

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  34. What are you recommendations for stain? I saw you mentioned Sikkens Cetol, but which specific product do you prefer ? There are quite a few of them!

  35. Thank you for the plans. I built mine and it came out very nice. I did change the legs and aprons. for the legs I used a cedar 2×4 cut to a 2×2. I attached them using a traditional corner piece and bolt into the leg. For the apron, I used the same 5/4 cedar and ripped it down the middle for a 2 3/4 apron.
    Thanks again for the plans.

  36. I am a newbie going to try this. I would like to make this an extra 4″ longer (76″ length). Would there be any other things I need to change/consider other than increasing the length of all of the length dimensions by the appropriate amounts?

  37. I wish you had included pictures of the carriage bolts installed. I am a beginner, but just took a basic woodworking class. I don’t know how the carriage bolts would be installed without hitting each other and the apron is not all that wide.

  38. Just finished building my table this weekend and it turned out awesome. I painted the legs black and stained the top.

    For us, I don’t know if our chairs generally sit lower, or if the table is slightly too high. I know when I built my dining table, I made the legs around 27″. I might go back and trim the legs afterwards.

    I’d suggest adding a comment along those lines to your posting. Google suggests 26-29 for leg height so this is on the higher end.

    Thanks again for the plans!

    • Mike, I think you’re right on. The table height feels a bit high for the typical sling chairs I buy at Home Depot.

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