I had this old outdoor table with a cracked and weathered top. It was time to replace it or throw it away, so I decided to put a cypress top on it!
I started out with two 10 foot boards from my local hardwood dealer. These boards come S3S, which mean they have 3 smooth and square sides. Now it is not 100 percent necessary, but I like to run my boards over my jointer and then head to the table saw to rip the board to width. If it was required to thin the boards, I would use the “skip planing” technique. This is when you run it through the planer multiple times while flipping the board each time you put it through the machine.
Once the boards where S4S, I was able to arrange them for the most aesthetically pleasing grain match, as well as, the best grain orientation for a long flat life. The key to this is to alternate the rings of the boards. Alternating smiley face and frown face.
I decided to use biscuits to help align the boards during the glue up. The biscuits don’t offer any additional major strength, I just use them to align the boards to minimize the need for hand planing and sanding after the top is dried.
Once the glue and biscuits were all in place, I put 7 clamps on the glue up. 4 on the bottom and 3 on top. It is important to have additional clamps on the top to prevent the bottom clamps from introducing a bow into the table top.
Once the top had dried, I used my jig saw to cut out the blank. Then I went to the router table and applied a 45 degree chamfer to the top edge of the table. This detail really adds a nice touch to the table top. It should be noted that I used the “climb cutting” technique at the router table. This technique is most often frowned upon because it can cause kickback. The table top was heavy enough, my hands had a secure hold, my hands were not near the bit, and the amount of material I was removing was minimal. For these reasons, I felt very comfortable using this technique on this project.
After the decorative chamfer was put on the top, I sanded both sides to 150 grit. After sanding I applied a few coats of Teak Oil to the top, bottom, and the circumference of the top according to the manufacturer’s direction. Teak Oil is great for outdoor projects because it cures inside the pores of the wood and not on top.
Once the finish dried, I screwed it to the bottom. I think it looks great!