I've been tasked with building an 8 seater outdoor dining table for my daughter, I have no specific experience with this beyond some general woodwork/ construction projects but have access to most required tools except a jointer. As this will be an outdoor table, actually on a covered deck, I had planned on leaving a 3mm gap between boards so won't need perfectly parallel edges.
Most online projects call for 25mm or 50mm planks but ideally I'd like to use merbau decking from Bunnings as it's a reasonable price and looks good IMO and I've just completed a deck reno using 90mm * 19mm merbau and have some leftovers I could repurpose.
Anyway I guess my question is is 19mm going to be too thin or should I look elsewhere for 25mm boards * 140mm boards? I realise thinness is an subjective concept but I'd like to make this setting look good not just functional.
I had considered Bunnings 140mm*19mm merbau but was concerned about cupping with a wide thin board.
Any ideas much appreciated?
Solved! See most helpful response
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. It's marvellous to have you join us, and thank you for sharing your question about using Merbau as a tabletop for an outdoor dining table.
I'm a big fan of Merbau timber and I think using it as a tabletop is ok. I've been meaning to make something similar but have not had the opportunity.
I suggest applying the same rules when building a deck. The table frame should have joists at 450mm intervals or less depending on the size of the frame. Use proper decking screws with the recommended distance. You can even get fancy by using hidden fixings so that there will be no screw holes on the surface of the table.
This is a great opportunity to get creative with the tabletop, you can incorporate decking layout styles on the table in order to make it stand out. A good example would be put a picture frame around it or add breaker boards to add even more variety to the surface. You can even add patterns if you've got the time to do custom work.
If the frame is built similarly to a decking frame, it should provide good support and will prevent the panels from twisting and warping. My best advice is to make sure to seal the top like you would a decking panel. This will protect it from the harsh weather and day to day use.
I've drawn up a sample sketch below to give you an idea of how you might be able to build it. Please note that the measurements are for reference only, make sure to adjust them to your needs.
Please remember to wear personal protection such as gloves, goggles and a mask when working on your dining table.
If you need further assistance, please let us know.
Thanks so much for the comprehensive reply, I hadn't considered breaker boards as one of the benefits of Bunnings merbau is you select lengths rather than a random pack from some timber merchants but considering the length of the table I think it would look better and help brealk up the palnky look of long boards.
I'll definitely do a picture frame border with rounded edges as I have to ustify buying routers track saws etc.
Any thoughts on 90mm vs 140mm?
Haven't really thought about leg design, I don't want it to be rustic or overly fancy, clean and simple, maybe slightly angled with appropriate scale would be ideal. I have quite a bit of left over hardwood joist material in 150mm* 50mm I was hoping to use.
Between the 90mm and 140mm decking, I prefer using the 90mm as it gives a compact appearance despite the fact that you are using more of the panels. It also gives the impression that its construction was more involved.
As for the legs, I suggest keeping it simple with like an inverted "T" with double supports and a moderately sized foot. This allows you to maximize the use of the table. You'll still be able to place a chair in front of the foot and use that area versus a leg that is close to the edge preventing you from placing a chair in that spot.
I've drawn a sample sketch below. Please have a look and tell me what you think.
If you have any other questions we can help with, please let us know.