Making a table, on a balcony. #1: Getting started, the plan and the wood.

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Blog entry by shaunmza posted 09-21-2017 04:42 PM 1249 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Making a table, on a balcony. series Part 2: End of day 1, planks cut to length. »

I enjoy making stuff.

I think it is the creative process of having something in your mind, then taking action and bit by bit, seeing it come to life.

As a teenager I shied away from wood, as it was to me a very unforgiving medium, if you don’t cut very straight it’s there for you to see, every time you look at it.
Steel on the other hand, was more forgiving, as I could weld up holes. I used a bead of welding to cover up my inability to cut in and straight more than once!

A few years ago I found wood again, watching videos on YouTube, about people making all sorts of things from old pallets. Wood, for free! I was hooked ;)

My first haul was loaded into the boot / trunk of our car at the time, the long suffering Ford Ikon

But I digress, it was then that I learnt a greater appreciation for wood, even the low quality stuff that other people throw away!

Why make a table?

In short because I can!

Seriously though, I used to tinker outside a lot when we lived in South Africa, it calmed me and allowed me to create something real, physical, that I could see, touch, smell…

Living in an apartment here in Portugal I feel stifled, we had to buy all our furniture. NEW!
So we bought the minimum we needed. Hoping to meet our future needs with used items.

Unfortunately no such luck, the used stuff for sale is no cheaper than new goods from IKEA.

My wife let me know a few weeks back, that we should look at getting our eldest a table, where he can do his homework / drawing.

BUY … ANOTHER … TABLE?!? No. Something had to be done!

I would make it!
But where, no garage, no workshop…

We do have a balcony, awww yeah!!

A plan was hatched, measurements taken, it would fit! It’s gong to be a squeeze, but I can definitely build the table in the space we have on the balcony.

The plan

Generally I just grab tools and wood and start cutting, gluing and hammering.

Seeing as I had few tool and no wood, only time, I decided to try and draw my idea.

It’s going to be a very simple table, rustic looking, with a shelf at the top as well (this was my wife’s idea)

I decided to buy lengths of wood, rectangular section for the legs and base of the table and planks for the table top.
I would cut the planks down to length, then glue them together, to for a single piece for the top.

Welcome to the workshop!

The space I have to work in is, limited. But it is outside, meaning I can swing longish lengths around without hitting too much, if I am careful.

This is the wood I purchased, I would have loved to repurpose pallets or anything else, but transport is an issue as I only have a small car. That being said, I could but this wood BECAUSE I own a car

-- Shaun, South African living in Portugal

2 comments so far

View robscastle's profile


6675 posts in 2811 days

#1 posted 09-22-2017 08:03 AM

Nice work Shaun,

I know of Oporto home of Port If I lived there no work would be done but a lot of fun would be had!

Back to the table what is the timber you are using?

I see you would like to use Pallet timber, I guess I should let you see the curved door I made from pallet timber.

-- Regards Rob

View shaunmza's profile


11 posts in 855 days

#2 posted 09-22-2017 08:28 AM

That door looks amazing!

Yeah I collected a fair amount of pallet wood when I lived in South Africa, only to get rid of it all when we moved here to Portugal :(

I think it is a mixture of wood, as it has no markings, and nothing was specified on the price in the store. In fact it may even have said its a random mix of wood types.

I basically got the cheapest wood I could. Took some time picking out the least warped lengths.

There is more to Porto than the wine! Having said that, there are many many places where you can do wine tasting and have a tour. It’s a really beautiful place.

-- Shaun, South African living in Portugal

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