A Wild and Crazy Deck Dining Table.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I honestly did not think I'd ever get this to work.

I had a harebrained idea, see.

What?  Me?  Not a shocking revelation, I know.  Right, and that's where the trouble always begins.

Based on my vague kooky idea, I stopped by Twitchy's place to see what he had.  And lo, I found some funky stuff:  end cuts that were sorta saw-scalded, mismatched lumps of wrecked wood with rusty bent nails, shards, random awesome stuff.  Sweet!  Thumbs up!

Twitchy's joint.
Scurry home fiendishly with all my little irregular pallet chunks and pieces and parts, spread them out.  Part of the idea, and the main reason I went to the Chicago Habitat ReStore last fall when they were having a planter sale, was to do that trough idea similar to this.

Which ok, isn't entirely necessary since I did move the mini fridge to the garage, but hey, why not.  Right?  Sure.

Well so all right!  Yes!  Arrange arrange, it was laid out.  Ok.  Cool!  Yes!

Now what?

How do I....can...will it...um.  Hm.  How....What have I done to myself?!  Again?!

Won't this be awesome?!?!?!...........   .....  ... ..?  ....................
I pondered ways to make this whack-a-doodlie-do thing happen with my cool woodworking pal Scott over several weeks, hemmed, hawed, paced, hovered, paced.  Hemmed, hawed, probably drove him nuts with my berserk-o texts.

Bar top resin?  Obvious choice and my initial thought.  Turns out a.) it wouldn't work in reverse (i.e. build a mould, lay the pieces face down, pour resin), b.) even if it did work that way, I'd have to spend at minimum three hundred bucks in resin (um, no), and c.) bar top resin is not UV rated, it does not take well to exterior nor humid conditions.  Weirdly.

So that was out.

Other resins like marine or epoxies?  Oh hey, Juliana's boyfriend Al is a boat fixer guy, I'll ask him, yeah!  He said it wouldn't work the way I wanted.  Hm.  Rats.  Ok.

Lay backer strips across and screw together?  It seemed like the underside of the table would heh, get so thick with backing layers plus the gaps between pieces would be covered over....it didn't seem viable.

Sheet goods underneath?  Like exterior ply?  Again with the gaps being covered, I'd still need shim up chunks and/or layers, water would pool.  Nope.

Or acrylic on top?  The only sheet acrylic that was not too violently expensive was far too flopsy-daisy.  Besides, seeing adhesive between the wood and acrylic?  No thanks.

Gorilla glue* everything together?  Omg, that's insane and would take four summers to assemble.  Not to mention the inability to clamp such erratic and peculiarly shaped hunks together.  Not to mention I am larger sized clamp-less.....


Needless to say I was rather discouraged with myself for coming up with a meritorious idea but the technology didn't seemingly exist for me to execute it in a not-too-difficult, DIY budget-friendly manner.


Really, I about gave up but as I am not good at taking "you cannot" for an answer, I kept exploring. 

Then somehow I ended up on a boat repair chat group question thingie and someone mentioned DAP Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue.*  Huh.  It implied the magic potion I was seeking.  Hmmmmm.....

"Makes joints stronger than wood itself!"  Hefty claim!
I inquired about how far one pound of powder would go.  Heh, problem there is folks assumed I was using it as directed.  Psssshht, nah, as directed?!  Please.  When I do ever do that?

So I bought the 4.5 pound bucket and wow, I really really really over-bought.  Really.

I guess that means I need to invent projects just to use up the glue as it does expire.  Ack!!  Right?!

So how the heck on earth did I do this?

Day 1:  Half the table went out to the garage, our warmest and level-est locale.  I laid it out face down on a tarp on the floor.  Mix glue, which is persnickety in its exactness and working temp, so of course I goofed on both.  Too viscous I made it, it was 68 degrees out, the coolest allowable working temp but surely it was warmer in the garage.

Mixed up glue.  Wear gloves.  Trust me.
Slobber glue onto edges with a mixing stick.  Smush together.  Dribble glue into seams.  Yeah, no clamps.  Step back slowly, take deep breath, exit garage, sleep restlessly.

Fingers crossed.  Fingers crossed.  Omg, what am I doing...
Omg, what a mess, omg!  I've ruined everything!!
Day 2:  Sneak out to the garage, tilt up the table half.  Lo and behold and to my complete and utter shock, all the pieces were stuck together.  Stupefied, I dashed inside, collected the rest, assembled on the garage floor.

This time I mixed extra powder to water hoping to thicken up the glue, keep it from oozing darn everywhere.  Didn't seem to make a difference.  Hm.  Ah well, I did my best to keep the mess to a minimum.  I tried anyway.

Day 3:  Sneak out to the garage, tilt up the whole table.  The entire table top.  Holy crap, the whole thing was one.  One!  No way.  No freakin' way.   This sh*t sticks, that's for sure.  Damn.

Holy sh*tballs.  It stuck.  Un.Be.Liev.Able.
It's interesting stuff, this glue.  It's like a cross between super glue and Gorilla glue but it doesn't expand.  It chips and snaps like plastic, looks like a creepy milk chocolate epoxy.

Anywhooo.  Glue seeped onto the front and the only way to get it off was to chisel.  Ugh.  I opted not to sand as much like the pantry floor, I wanted to keep the wood patina and surfaces as-found, intact.

Double oops.
After chiseling away at the glue, a few tenuous, not-well-glued areas busted apart soooo, back out to the garage.

So day 4:  Spot healing.

Which included shims in gaps to connect pieces more better-ish, yeah.  Nice English.
Day 5?  Again with the chiseling and I was kinda bummed.  Of course my goal was to keep the good side clean but now here I'm making a mess of it.  I mean, I guess it isn't horrible but it's not an ideal scenario.

After the first round of gluing.  Not too bad here but other spots were worse.
Day, well, more days, more chiseling then I spurted Gorilla glue into some areas, just for giggles.  Why not.

Foamy foamy Gorilla glue.  My largest clamp.  Sad, I know.
Quite the grand experiment all right.

I think Mike, who kept walking past this strange concoction at various stages in the garage, in the basement, thought I had finally and completely lost my marbles.  To the extent where I could tell he was curious but also, too afraid to ask.

Chiseling got to a point where eh, ok, just time to move on.  Let's get those legs on.

Now the legs, those legs, they came from Pretty Pegs.  They came all the way from Stockholm! so it was exciting to track the FedEx progress, jealous of their travels.

Stockholm, Charles De Gaulle airport, Memphis, well Hillside not as exciting no offense, then here.
Thanks to you kind folk voting for my pallet wood pantry floor on Instructables, I won a gift certificate towards swanky legs.  So thank you very very very much!!

Right, they are indoor legs so, yeah.

Pretty Peg leg in a spiffy shade of my favorite!
I hadn't gotten so far as to figure out if we'll eternally have to disassemble, bring the table in (way sucky idea) or if I seal up the legs, add some kind of feeties to avoid water damage, if that'll be good enough.

Anywhooo.....I attached the metal bracket thingies,

The included brackets which magically fit in these spots only.
tightened the legs in, got all excited, flipped it over and.....

The Inspector arrived.

Wind out of sails.  Wow, that was sad.

So I tried to reinforce the table top with on-hand longer pallet slats which of course was tricky due to the varying heights under there.

Heh, this was an adventure all right.
Gorilla glued and screwed those on, attached the metal bracket thingies, tightened in the legs, got all excited, flipped it over and.....


Not as wobbly, but wibbly.  Sigh.  Is it me?  Is it the floor?  Is it the table top?  Is it the legs?  What if I pop the planter in, would that steady things?  (No.)

Ta da!  Wibbly!  Yay!  No, boo.
Whatever, I said to myself, avoidance.  Slap on some semi-gloss poly* instead, ponder the issue later.

Slapped on some a' that exterior UV poly and whoa, the wood, wow, damn cool, it came alive.  Alive, I tell ya!  The saw-scarred end cuts, yes, way neat!  Buoyed, I had a snack and water.

Splopped on a second then third coat and I'm sure loving the way all the wood looks.  Check wiggle?  Damn it!  Sigh.

Check.It.Out.  Fist pump is right.
I ended up snagging some exterior Helmsman* spray in satin for the legs, then lil' white vinyl feetie caps.*

Horrible photo.  Not sure why I'm even including it.
Mike, being Mr. Smarty Pants, I can tell when he thinks "she can do anything" as he casually drops ideas as ain't no thang.  This time:  find a way to make the legs fold up.  After I'm done.

Which I had indeed hoped and/or intended to do but somehow forgot as I was perma-gluing the underside slats.  So it could be that I'm stuck disassembling all the time which suuuuucks.

Or, maybe it's not too late.

The true test was taking it out of doors, out onto the deck, to unite with its anticipant yellow dining chairs.  Oh yeah, I was totally holding my breath.

So is it perfect?  No.  Pfffffff, hell no.  Did it result as I envisioned?  Quite nearly.  If it weren't for all the glue seepage and the wiggling....well, so it is.  But I am dumbfounded that this glue worked.

Some wood detail for ya.
And that we can finally chow down at a table out on the deck.  Maybe not a steak dinner where we're sawing away but I'll see what I can do about the wibbling.  I think it's a combo of the table top not being solid solid and the legs being a wee closer together than maybe normal.

More wood detail for ya.
Heh, as an art piece, yes, it's perfect!  

By the way, that Estimake website is up and running, go check it out (it's not anymore).  They're still working on it so not everything is exactly how they want it yet but I entered a project there.  It's a cool way to plan projects, keep track of them, shop for products, keep a record of what you did, and more.  It's neat and handy!

It's rough, it's scratchy, a little dangerous, snaggy and sharp.  Ya know, the way I always do things.
Next week is a full week of Patriot* work then our first Phish shows since, well, that weekend almost two years ago when we lost Hailey.  That'll be hard.

But hopefully I can squeeze in something else for you this week.

*The Gorilla glue, DAP Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue, Varathane, Helmsman, feetie caps, and Patriot are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. This is just a suggestion, but underneath could you use a Kreg jig and some pocket hole screws to make sure the whole thing stays together along with the glue? I don't know about the wibble thing, but the top might be more permanently solid. Amazing!

    1. Great suggestion, thank you! Looks like I'd get to go tool shopping then, yay! :) Thank you!

  2. Love the look and have pallets. But what kept the glue from seeping through and sticking the whole thing to the tarp underneath? What am I missing?

    1. I'm sorry if it wasn't clear but the glue did indeed seep through. I had to chisel it off the face, the good side. The glue stuck to the tarp a little bit but because they're both plastic in nature, the glue peeled right off the tarp. Thanks!


Please no spam or links, thanks!