Tables from solid wood are pretty expensive ( I really don't know why, because they are really easy to built even without power tools), so I decided to make one as my garden furniture. Of course, some people have such tables at homes it is quite fashionable now.
Anyway, I want to show You how I've made the pretty long (3 meters) oaken table with almost only hand tools (almost, becouse I've finally gave up and use sander and chainsaw to make work faster)
Step 1: Wood - Oak
I have a pretty thick piece of oak, because it has more than 6 cm. Such wood is perfect for outdoor projects. Oak is very dense, hard so very durable even if You don't put any protecting layer on it.
You can see on the picture that the raw oak doesn't look so good, because it has bumps, bark smudgest etc. We have to get rid of all of that (apart from bark, because I will preserve it and it will be visible in the table)
Step 2: Hand Planer
First thing You have to do is to remowe bumps and make the surface of the table really flat. You can use (as I did) hand planer, but I have to warn You it is very hard work with that tool.
First, You have to have very sharp knife.
Second, don't work acros the grain. I've noticed that the best effect is not along the grain but at 45 degrees to grain
Third, start with 1mm-2mm knife and it the end end with 0,2-0,5mm
If You do like I've said You will end with flat sufrace but with many scratches. You will have to use sand paper to remove them. I recomend electric sander-the work will be much faster. Papers from 120 up to 400 grit.
Step 3: The Edges
The edges of the table have can be cutted using handsaw - as on the first picture, but I prefer chainsaw - as on the third picture - it is much faster.
After cutting the edge You have to sand the surface to make it smooth as the table top.
Step 4: Legs and Screws
Legs for the table can be easly bought on internet. They are plenty of them in various prices. I recommend to dig a little in internet shops, because prices are veery spread. You can find same leg type for 20USD and 200 USD. Strange.
To attach legs, mark the spot and then scrwe the leg to the table. Don't use the black screws. They are very week and will definitely broke. Use the golden one with pretty big diameter.
Step 5: Legs - It's Not the End
Legs attached only with screws will be pretty wabble and such construction will broke pretty soon. You have to make reinforcement, especially when You are building very long table with preatty heavy top.
I've use the 5x3x80cm pieces of metal to do the reinforcement. I've cutt it, then bend to the triangular shape (as on picture) using just my muscles and in the end I've drill the holes for screws in the metal. It's pretty easy think to do, really.
I've used 12mm in diameter screws to attach the metal to legs and to the table. They will definitely hold the weight now.
Step 6: Painting the Legs and Preserving the Bark
Legs attached, so they are ready to be painted. Use good rustoleum for that. Iron legs can get rust very quickly if they are not covered with good protection layer.
I've decided to leave the bark on the table. It will look better, more natural. I have to glue the bark at some places. To do that, very good is a poliurethane glue which is waterproof and very durable even outdoor.
Step 7: Laquering the Table Top
Laquering is something which is not easy as You would think.
First remove the dust. I recommend the vacum cleaner for that task.
Then wait an hour and.. remove the dust again.
Now use the paintroller (not the paintbrush) to paint the table top.
Use the brush to put the laquer at the bark. Put a lot of laquer on the bark.
After first layer will dry, take the sandpaper (400grit) and sand the surface.
Now remove the dust once again
Paint the second coat of laquer.
Retry last three steps one or two times more.
Step 8: That's All
That's all. The table is ready. In my opinion, very easy project, but giving awesome effects.
As You can see, the table top stands still on the reinforced legs, the reinforcement isn't very visible and the top looks awesome - flat, natural and with bark. Great!