Bulletproof exposed outdoor dining table... but weatherproof?

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Project by Dom Dudkiewicz posted 03-16-2017 10:27 AM 6237 views 4 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is an outdoor table I finished just after Christmas after missing the “outdoor table for Christmas lunch” deadline. Lucky for me it was too hot to sit outside on Christmas day in any case!

The table is 3.0m x 1.2m or 10 feet x 4 feet. Weight is around 200kg / 440lb. It’s made of Blackbutt sourced from NSW Australia.

It’s located outside in a fully exposed location aside from some retractable Shade awnings. For the most part it is exposed to full sun and rain. Thus I designed it to hopefully deal with a lot of expansion and contraction each season.

To cope with expansion and contraction and to resist warping the individual pieces are secured in a way to allow them to expand whilst still preventing cupping and each piece can “float” individually as well as float as am entire top. I used wooden cleats in oversized slots to secure the top structure to the frame. The breadboard ends are secured at the center and outer boards with full size tenons and and are drawbored whilst the remaining slats use floating tenons in oversized mortises to allow for movement as well.

The frame is full mortise and tenon construction and drawbored together with rived blackbutt dowels.

The finish is several applications of teak oil.

Fingers crossed it hold up to the weather. Still need to make some seats!

This is also my first large furniture piece and was a great learning experience for me.

Thanks, Dom.

-- Dom

16 comments so far

View recycle1943's profile (online now)


6178 posts in 2955 days

#1 posted 03-16-2017 11:54 AM

beautiful table and @440lbs. you don’t have to worry about the wind knocking it over, or anything else for that matter lol

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1110 posts in 5140 days

#2 posted 03-16-2017 12:04 PM

Awesome build . . . many years of happiness around your masterpiece . . .

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View BB1's profile


2813 posts in 2181 days

#3 posted 03-16-2017 02:32 PM

Wow. That is a beautiful table!

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3676 days

#4 posted 03-17-2017 02:50 PM

looks grea6t

View Gwhiz's profile


20 posts in 2465 days

#5 posted 03-18-2017 02:26 AM

Nice job! I can’t wait to see the seating!

View Dom Dudkiewicz's profile

Dom Dudkiewicz

49 posts in 1780 days

#6 posted 03-18-2017 08:11 AM

Thanks guys,

I forgot to mention that I also applied expoxy to the end grain of the legs and attached nylon feet under each leg to minimize moisture from being wicked up from the deck after / during rain. Hopefully this will prevent the laminated legs from de-laminating.

I also selectively cut saw kerfs along the center of many of the boards underneath to help minimize cupping over time (I varied the cuts depending on the grain of the individual pieces).

There are a few additional things that are difficult to describe without pictures; all intended to minimize cupping, bowing and warping but not constraining the timber from expanding and contracting; like lateral pieces attached across the boards underneath to prevent bowing of the boards (and ensure alignment between them) and also to minimize cupping of individual boards, however oversize holes were drilled for each coach screw used to allow individual boards to expand and contract.

-- Dom

View robscastle's profile


8348 posts in 3537 days

#7 posted 03-18-2017 09:07 AM

Blackbutt ….and your concerned about the weather! relax. its not only bullet proof it is also bush fire proof!

1. Now is that a bananna plant I see in the surrounding garden?
2. Nice pizza oven even nicer pizza plates ….whats with the knife and fork?
3. Good job on the creative coffees.

Did you spend much time resharpening all your tools?

A totally impressive build!!

-- Regards Rob

View Dom Dudkiewicz's profile

Dom Dudkiewicz

49 posts in 1780 days

#8 posted 03-18-2017 09:47 AM

Hi Rob,


There is a bananna plant in the far corner near the pizza oven and if you noticed that I take my hat off to you, but the larger plants that look kind of like bananna are in fact “Bird of Paradise”.

The plates are actually place-mats and we were about to eat breakfast out there on the table for the first time; hence the cutlery and coffees!

The blackbutt is fairly hard, and after planing enough to fill three 150 litre bins in the dust collector I think the thicknesser carbide blades need to be rotated. My chisels and hand planes actually held up reasonably well but I needed to sharpen my shoulder plane a couple of times whilst trimming tenon shoulders. Not sure it’s all that abrasive really.

I made my decking with blackbutt as well, and some of the boards have shrunk nearly 6mm in 120mm, despite the boards coming “kiln dried” so it definitely moves a bit. Although as you say, it is fire-resistant and is also a durability class 1 timber that is resistant to termites/parasites etc so will definitely survive quite well. I was more worried about movement as this was my first outdoor furniture piece.

-- Dom

View kipibenkipod's profile


71 posts in 2657 days

#9 posted 03-18-2017 10:18 AM

This is a beautiful table.
200kg?! This timber is very heavy.

View Paintress's profile


2 posts in 1768 days

#10 posted 03-18-2017 10:52 AM

This is a very common wood in the costal forests of So Wales. & a very beautiful species. Very excellent choice for the exterior as well. When researching on line you will find quitea bit of information on oil’s though they don’t offer as much protective benefits as newer technology as European coating’s do. You won’t find much information on line in regards to these products which is sad because they will sustainanility sustain the lifespan of your wood products far longer. As for their technology its years ahead of the US,though we would deny this.
Care is needed in drying to inhibit its tendency to surface check on the tangential surface. Reconditioning is seldom advisable because of its effect in widening any surface checks
It is a poor base for paint because of its tendency to surface check but stain finishes can be used satisfactorily.
Lyctid susceptible sapwood: Only the sapwood of some hardwoods is susceptible to lyctid borer attack. No softwoods are susceptible to attack.

Natural durability ratings: The natural durability rating of a timber species is a rating of the timber’s resistance to attack by wood destroying fungi and wood destroying insects. The sapwood of all timber species has poor resistance and so the natural durability rating applies only to the heartwood of a timber species. The rating is based on the testing of stakes and poles embedded in the ground and on expert opinion of historical performance. There are 2 sets of ratings: one for above ground use and one for in-ground contact use. The lower the number the higher the performance in terms of durability. This information is useful for specifying material for external or exposed applications
All woods have pros and cons of some sort each being more beneficial for one type of use over another as well. The beauty of wood.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30660 posts in 3671 days

#11 posted 03-18-2017 11:12 AM

Very beautiful piece

Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View gsimon's profile


1332 posts in 3446 days

#12 posted 03-18-2017 11:06 PM

Beautiful table and nice attention to detail
Welcome aboard!

-- Greg Simon

View robscastle's profile


8348 posts in 3537 days

#13 posted 03-19-2017 02:07 AM

Banana Plant, yep thats the one I was surprised that it wound grow in your area.
Your BOP may grow to a stage you have to remove them as they secete black gunge everywhere when they get bigger, and you would not want any of it on the table or deck area.

-- Regards Rob

View Belg1960's profile


1161 posts in 4398 days

#14 posted 06-12-2017 09:21 AM

I’m about to build an outdoor table out of redwood, could you perhaps show some more pics of the bottom to help me understand fully all the measures you took to help stop twist and cupping?
How is the finish holding up? Thanks much, Pat

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Dom Dudkiewicz's profile

Dom Dudkiewicz

49 posts in 1780 days

#15 posted 06-12-2017 10:12 AM

Hi Pat,

Thank-you. I don’t have too many pics and it’s dark here at the moment so can’t take any for you until tomorrow at least, but here’s what I do have on hand;

The cross-members have coach screws attached through to the under-side of the table top boards, two screws per board. These coach-screws have washers and are in over-sized holes in the cross-members so that the individual boards can expand and contract. These cross-members help to minimize cupping as well as keeping the boards from bowing in relation to each other. The members could be made thicker if you like. The cross-members are not attached to the table frame at all.

The middle breadboard is attached to the table frame with three large 14g wood screws from beneath along the centreline of the breadboard. This can be done because expansion and contraction will occur from the centre out / in and therefore this middle-line can be constrained. Other than this, the table top is only affixed to the frame using the wooden cleats that also allow for expansion and contraction in both the lateral and longitudinal directions. The slots are cut oversize in both length and depth to allow this.

You’ll also notice that I cut slots along the centre of many of the boards to help prevent cupping, particularly for those boards that displayed a grain pattern that increased the likelihood of this happening.

Hope that helps. Let me know if I can be of any more help.

The finish appears to be holding up well. I did buy a cover for the table and as I’ve been away on holidays and it’s winter here now I actually haven’t had a look for a while. Coincidentally I was planning on taking a look at what’s happening underneath tomorrow.



-- Dom

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