Handmade Porch Table

My porch is long. One side looks nice, ive put a lot of work into it recently.

But the other side is barren apart from a grill. So I stared at it for a while, and finally decided I wanted a little food prep table next to the grill.

Looking online for ideas this pic caught my eye:

And I thought rather hopefully, “I can make that!” I have made a few small things before, but I am totally a novice, learning as I go.

So I went to Lowe’s and got some treated lumber. Just kinda guessing what I might need. It was about $50 πŸ’Έ.

And I let it dry outside in the sun for a day. Probably should have let it go longer but I’m impatient.

The finished table is kinda like a Stonehenge, two thick legs and a slab on top. For the legs I figured I’d take two smaller pieces and join them in the middle. Also if you look at each leg in the pic they have a piece attached to their edge to give them extra dimension and stability. I started by trimming the legs to length, cutting of the sides so they were flat, and then gluing and nailing those strips to the side.

Each half of a leg looks like this:

You can see that they are not joined very precisely. I’m not sure how to improve this. But for my purposes this is ok.

This was the end of day 1.

Saturday I went and bought a biscuit hole cutter from Harbor Freight. In woodworking you use a buscuit joint is when you want to join two boards on the side. The cutter cuts a lil sliver out of each side, then you put a “biscuit” in there and glue it all up.

I didn’t take any pics of joining the sides but it looks like this:

This is the biscuit hole cutter I got. With the 20% off coupon plus buying biscuits it was about $64 πŸ’Έ. It worked great!

I waited for the biscuit joints to dry. This is what an assembled leg looks like:

I had to buy more clamps for this. Jimminy Christmas clamps are expensive. I hate the Harbor Freight ones, so I spent $75 πŸ’Έ on more gosh dang clamps. πŸ’©

Did one side on Saturday, and the other Sunday morning.

While that was drying I cut my table top. I’m mad now because I wish I’d made it a little longer. But it’s ok.

I decided to try setting up my Stonehenge. It was precarious, but I got it standing. Looks like a table!

Next I used my router to round over the edges of the table, and sanded everything smooth.

Purdy! But there were some holes in the table top. Neat looking, but not great for a table top.

So I decided to fill them in with resin. I have never used resin before, but it was pretty easy – just mix, pour, and let dry. Another $15 πŸ’Έ or so for that.

Right about then I became distressed that I hadn’t seen my baby birds’ momma in a while, so I tried to feed them some worms, but they just walked to the other side of their house lol. Rude.

Luckily their mom did return, so all is well. Phew! Back to work.

But first, more birds.



I had stain left over from a previous project, but my brush was not cleaned properly and was now fossilized. So I threw it away and went and got a new brush, $10 πŸ’Έ, and stained the finished leg.

Convinced I would not kill another brush I tried to clean it off with water and rubbed it all over with my hand. Water does nothing to polyurethane – I did not know this. Now my hand and my brush were covered in stain. 😱

I began to imagine that my hand would start burning any second, and be reduced to a bloody stump within minutes, but luckily the internet told me to rub coconut oil on it, and that worked great, removed the stain, and left me smelling like coconuts. 🏝😎

But for the brush I had to go back to Lowe’s and get some paint thinner, acetone, and gloves $30 πŸ’Έ.  I was able to save it but I also learned that acetone will eat through a plastic cup in about 15 seconds ☠️. Be careful with that stuff!

That was it for Sunday.

Monday after work finished sanding the tabletop so nice and smooth, and stained it.

Above you can see where I added the resin. Looks bootyful. Still wet in these pics, it won’t be that shiny when it’s done.

I did make a mistake cutting the sides for the legs so I had to shim them all a little bit.

Sanding those down to the right height on the belt sander was kinda scary. Also, I almost air-nailed my finger attaching them, but I was able to make it out unscathed this time.

I decided I better start working on the little side shelves, so I tried cutting them out. They needed little notches in the sides so I tried doing them on the table saw, but it wasn’t working out. And that was all the excuse I needed to buy something I’ve been wanting for a long time – a band saw ($140πŸ’Έ)!

This worked great to make the little notches I needed.

Obviously this is not a precision operation here. Not exactly a tight ship we’re running. To be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing. 😎

After the first coat of clear polyurethane the directions said to sand it, which I did, and immediately though I ruined it – see the left side of the pic. But after wiping it down and applying another coat it looks super nice.

I’m particularly happy with how good the resin looks and feels in there.

In all I did 5 coats of poly on the tabletop since it’ll bear the brunt of the abuse. For the last coat I used a heat gun to get rid of any bubbles.

Once that dried I attached brackets to the legs and tabletop to see it stand on its own without fear of it falling for the first time!

But I did not take a picture. In fact I didn’t have my phone so there’s a gap in pics here, sorry, but then I attached the shelves on the sides. All of this involved much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And then I did take a picture.

Still, it was super wobbly, so fearing for the safety of my table and of nearby children (but mostly of my table) I added some more supports.

Now it was nice and stable ☺️ so I masked it off and stained the remaining unstained parts. And with that we were very, very close 😳

Ok, drumroll please!



Too bad the weather’s a little crummy. But I’m really happy with this!

Oh, almost forgot the finishing touch!

Sweet bottle opener.

I put some planters in front of it with some petunias and some mint for draaaanks.

So to recap I wanted 1 nice table. Maybe I could have bought a solid wood one for $300 maaaybe. Instead I made it myself and paid $370.

What I actually ended up with for my $370:

  • 1 nice table
  • A bunch of clamps
  • A biscuit jointer and biscuits
  • Resin, paint thinner, acetone
  • 1 paint brush
  • A bunch of plastic gloves and paper towels
  • A band saw 😎
  • The experience of building a table

I’m happy with that.

Side note: my baby birds got all grow’d up and left.


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