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Portable barbecues are handy because they can be easily transported to a variety of events, like birthday parties, family gathering, picnics, camping trips and much more. The disadvantage is that they need some sort of a stand to sit on to make them comfortable to use, but often there is a picnic table or something similar handy to use. Unless ... you want a dedicated stand for them, then you either need to purchase the accessory or make your own, which is what I did.
Initially I was a bit concerned about having a portable barbecue sitting on a wooden surface, but after using my own, on a wooden surface for 2 years not seeing any sign of even paint discoloring, I am pretty confident that wood works fine for my barbecue, others may not, so before you build your own, that will be something you will want to check. Regardless whether or not you use the table for a barbecue or not, it is still a great, solid little table that would be fine as a serving table to hold any number of food and drink items, or what-have-yous.
I started off with the legs, I wanted them to be at least 1" thick, just because a table looks more substantial with stronger legs. All the cross members are 3/4" material.
I made my table about 30" high, about the standard height for a table or desk. I wanted the legs to have a taper to them so they looked strong but also had a bit of style to them. They were 3' - 1/2" at the top and tapering down to 2" at the bottom.
After the legs were flattened and planed to thickness, next they needed to go on to my adjustable tapering jig to cut tapers. I needed to drill a small hole in the bottom of the legs to secure them to the bottom end of the jig, then adjusted them for width and re-set the table saw fence to give me the cut I wanted. I also left the very top of legs all parallel, ie - no taper. This was partially for looks and partially to give me a nice square starting point for the tables apron sides to be connected to.
This table is an out door furniture item and for that, I prefer to use pocket hole technology. Dowels would probably work fine with out-door glue, but I felt that in case there was wood movement that would eventually loosen the screws, I could go back in later and tighten them back down, or even easily replace a part if needed.
You can watch the video for the methodology of the build and how I did the "reveal" between the legs and the cross member parts to help give the table a bit more of a three dimensional look. It's this kind of detail that really adds to the look of furniture no matte what it is.
For the shelf, I happened to find a couple cedar boards left over from another build that fit perfectly on there and I even cut them in strips to that any water or snow that might land on them over the winter will easily drain.
The top of the table I made from some left over construction grade 3/4" plywood I had on hand. Normally I would not put plywood on a table of this kind that is being used and stored out side, but in this case, the table is going to be covered with a thick plastic table top material for easier cleaning, and ... as it happens, it will also protect the top from any rain or snow that may happen to fall on it, even though it is stored in a well protected area, it is still open to some of the weather elements.
I attached the top using pocket holes. Normally I would not do this but because the top was thick plywood, and there is some flex in the aprons that would easily absorb any wood movement, I felt quite confident that pocket holes technology would work fine for this.
So in the end, the bistro table gets a new lease on life after a 2 year stint as a BBQ stand, I get to use up some lumber that has been laying around and everyone is happy with the new addition ...
Copyright - Colin Knecht