In midwinter, we purchased a portable barbecue and would, by summer, need some kind of table to
support it. The table was to be located in an old English garden setting.We wanted a compact,
all-weather structure that could be permanently affixed just off the edge of a patio, blend into the
surroundings, complement a nearby picnic table, conceal a 20 lb LP gas container, and outlast a
long succession of barbecue grills.
Our table design was completed by early spring. Recently retired Gougeon technical advisor, Brian
Knight, agreed to build it as an example of high-quality, all weather construction using treated lumber
and WEST SYSTEM® epoxy.-Grant Urband
The wood selected for this project was pressure
treated 4"x4",2"x4", 5/4"x6", and ½"
Medium Density Overlay (MDO) plywood.
The solid wood was Copper Azol treated lumber-one of the lumber treatments approved
as a replacement for CCA which was banned
recently. MDO plywood has a phenolic paper
applied to both surfaces of fir plywood. It is
used for surfaces that will be painted, such as
signs. The phenolic covering provides a nice,
flat, stable surface for paint. Epoxy adheres
very well to the phenolic covering without any
surface preparation, so glue joints are easy.
I let the treated wood dry in my heated shop
for a week or so before beginning work on the
project. Treated wood is usually very wet
when purchased, and I wanted to get the
moisture content down to a manageable level.
The problem with trying to glue-up wet wood
is not so much the adhesion of the glue, but
the shrinkage that occurs as the wood dries.
The 4"x4" lumber was left over from another project and had been in my shop for a year of
so. It was pretty dry, but it had split a little as
it dried. I filled the splits with thickened epoxy
and sanded each surface and rounded the
edges before it was assembled to the box.
Assembling the wood flat panels
The necessary 5
4" wood pieces that would
make up the flat panels of the box were cut
slightly oversize and trimmed to exact size after
gluing them together. I examined growth
rings at the ends of each board and organized
them so when the panel was glued together,
the growth rings alternated-one up and the
next one down, etc. This helped to keep the
A combination of plate joining biscuits and epoxy
was used to assemble the panels. All the
5/4"x6" lumber panels were glued-up using biscuits,
which were located about 4" apart. To
glue the biscuits in place, I used a slightly
thickened mixture of WEST SYSTEM epoxy
and 406 Colloidal Silica Filler. The wood biscuits
don't swell when using epoxy so the
clamps have to remain in place longer than
with water-based glue. While this slows the
construction process somewhat, the completed
product will hold up to exterior use much
When clamping these panels, I alternated the
bar clamps with one on top of the panel, the
next below the panel and so on (Figure 1).
Also note the clamps at the end of each panel.
These were used to clamp a straight scrap of
wood to the bottom of each panel. This scrap
held the panel flat while the epoxy cured. The
scraps of wood had poly plastic stapled to
them so they wouldn't stick to the bottom of
||Figure 1-Alternating bar clamps and clamps at the end of the panel to keep it flat while the epoxy cures.|
When all the flat panels were complete, I assemble
them to make the box that would hold
the LPG tank (Figure 2). Fillets on the inside
corners added extra surface area to each joint
(Figure 3). The fillet material was WEST
SYSTEM 105/205 thickened with 406 Colloidal
Silica to peanut butter consistency. This
combination produces a high-strength fillet.
|Figure 2-Assembling the LPG box.||Figure 3-The inside of the LPG box showing the epoxy/Colloidal Silica fillets that add additional surface area to reinforce the joints.|
The plywood apron
The print showed an apron with sides sloped
at 37° (Figure 4). To make this assembly, the
wood strips making up the apron had to have
a compound miter. The blade tilt was set to
34° and the miter gauge was set to an angle of
31.5°. The corner joints were tacked together
using a few brads and each inside corner was
|Figure 4-The almost completed stand showing the MDO apron as well as the supporting 2x4's and 4x4's.||Figure 5-The finished parts of the table after painting before installation.|
Brian finished the table later this spring. After I
added screened vent holes and applied three
coats of paint,we placed the table on duty in
our garden, confident of many years of service.
The table came out true to its design and was
constructed better than one could have hoped.
|Figure 6-The table was secured in the earth with four 30"x4"x4" METPOST™ fence supports. The back-reaching legs, held down by the clamping collars of the fence supports, produced stability for the forward extended table top.|