One of my most successful DIY projects

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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
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This is one of my favorite DIY projects. This was an old table someone had slapped together out of this and that. It found its way into my back yard, undoubtedly put there by one of my housemates. It seemed like every year or two I had to renovate it, put on new plywood, paint it, etc. or it would just look miserable and be rotting. Most people would have trashed it, the idea of saving it seemed absurd until I got the idea that I could make it weather proof by utilizing a technique I had learned some years ago, being fiberglass.

For my let's-do-this-right renovation, I cut off the big central "leg" so it didn't reach the bottom (it was rotting at the bottom), put on new legs of my own design, made from 2x4's and 1-by's, and bought some casters for it so I can roll it around on my concrete patio.

I applied new plywood over the old semi-rotten (but dried) plywood, fiberglassed the whole thing, adding UV protectant tint to the fiberglass resin. I used a couple cut-off plastic 1 gallon water jugs to mix the resin, catalyst and UV protectant/tint (they are a pretty shade of blue, still have them!). I painted everything below the top (which doesn't need paint because it's fiberglass, like they use on boats).

The table before renovation, 2004:
oldTable.jpg


Pre-renovation:
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Central "leg" cut off at bottom, where it was rotting, new legs and casters applied, new plywood and salvaged paneling (sides of tabletop) applied, awaiting fiberglassing:
pre-glass.jpg


First layer of catalyzed and tinted polyester resin applied over the fiberglass, legs primed:
HYVHH6g6L1NxjiNizZ2Z32KKtaAmm85R9LOEo3AU21A=w1071-h803-no


Closeup of fiberglassed corner before applying finish coat:
P-BAXhwRiQvBkde-4Cza07gkMSVBUMA20yTLuIUiBPA=w1071-h803-no


I did the fiberglass work in my garage:
i1uAoM1TODhbeliqcFlTGOcghBk1U8weuC6RUUQBG1c=w1157-h803-no


Just finished table, 2004:
table2.jpg


After.jpg


This lets me do projects outside in my patio, like this:
The%2BTable%2Bwith%2Btools.JPG


Here's the table today, more than ten years later. I may have touched up the legs with some paint at some point, I wash it once in a while or wipe down the legs, that's it so far:
hpRyGvuTRoSUqeVDf3CeSKYGHY73ghnejOlPx6cnwbI=w1005-h803-no
 
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waffleironhead

Diamond Member
Aug 10, 2005
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The effort you put into that table is amazing. It really looks good. I'd have probably smashed it with a sledgehammer and burned it myself.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
37,248
7,972
136
The effort you put into that table is amazing. It really looks good. I'd have probably smashed it with a sledgehammer and burned it myself.
Yeah, most people would have smashed it and thrown the remnants in their trash, I realized that. One day I just got to thinking and dreamed up a way to fix it in such a way that it would stay fixed. I think I have a picture of it somewhere where it was in even worse shape, just a broken down mess lying a kilter on the concrete.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
37,248
7,972
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I like the color choice. 50s kitsch :^)
I'm partially colorblind. I think someone helped me on the color of the legs. I picked out the blue for the top, put in the maximum recommended tint/UV-protectant additive.
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
37,248
7,972
136
The effort you put into that table is amazing. It really looks good. I'd have probably smashed it with a sledgehammer and burned it myself.
It was a lot of work but I was pretty confident in the project, although it was ambitious considering the table's condition. The project was successful beyond what I dared hope for, not exaggerating -- I've used that table over 1000 times since I finished its wholesale renovation. The fiberglassed top is impervious to the weather here and it shelters the legs, which are well painted, in any case.
 

slashbinslashbash

Golden Member
Feb 29, 2004
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Thanks for sharing, I'm pondering an outdoor table build soon and hadn't thought about fiberglass to protect the wood from the elements. Seems like a great option.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
37,248
7,972
136
Thanks for sharing, I'm pondering an outdoor table build soon and hadn't thought about fiberglass to protect the wood from the elements. Seems like a great option.
It really was a great decision. Before going through with it I got some help from a guy in an internet newsgroup. We had an interchange there, he gave me a few tips. I already had some experience with fiberglassing when I built and fiberglassed a wooden rowboat back in 1972, over 30 years before I fiberglassed this table. However, even if you've had no experience with fiberglass I think you can do it. The techniques aren't difficult, you just have to be willing and able to follow directions. The results are very rewarding. It's been 10 years now and that table is still in great shape!

Fiberglassing has been a major manufacturing and treatment technique for many years. All the surfboard guys, from shops to surfers who do any of their own repairs are well versed in the techniques, which are not difficult. Most boats and yachts are mainly fiberglass. You can buy the materials readily, I just went into a shop down the street, asked what they had and bought what they recommended (cloth, resin, catalyst, tint/UV protectant). I used the maximum recommended tint, which is also a UV protectant. I wanted maximum UV protection because that table gets a lot of sun. It's stood up really well to that. Of course, boats get a lot of sun, so UV protection is paramount, as well as the polyester-fiberglass base being impervious to moisture, of course.
 
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