Outdoor table question

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Forum topic by Kaleb the Swede posted 04-26-2014 02:59 PM 1133 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Kaleb the Swede

1888 posts in 2240 days

04-26-2014 02:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question maple

Hi there,

I am going to build an outdoor table. This is just a question regarding the legs. I have 4×4s that came from pallets. They are ambrosia maple; I was wondering if I painted them would they hold up well if I used a good enamel paint? I know maple isn’t a good outdoor wood, but if I painted them, would that help control the rot that maple would get outside? They are from pallets, and in pretty rough shape, so it’s not as if I paid anything for them. Or should I just go and buy cedar or some other outdoor 4×4 wood for the legs? I am trying not to keep the cost way down for this, and the maple is just sitting there in my shop so I figured it would be a good time to use it.


The Swede

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

7 replies so far

View Ted's profile


2875 posts in 2482 days

#1 posted 04-26-2014 04:52 PM

The best thing you can do is seal the end grain and get them off the ground. Either one would make a big difference, but doing both would make a huge difference. I’d suggest thinning down some shellac and mopping it on heavy, let it soak deep into the grain. Not sure the best way to get them off the ground… I’m thinking those metal casters that you tap into the the bottom, but I’m sure there’s better ways.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1888 posts in 2240 days

#2 posted 04-26-2014 05:15 PM

Thanks ted. I am having it on a deck, does that matter? I was planning on soaking the bottom of the legs before I paint them. Just want to know if I’m not peeing in the wind here

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2848 days

#3 posted 04-26-2014 05:23 PM

Coat the bottom of the legs with epoxy.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2961 days

#4 posted 04-27-2014 12:28 AM

You might glue some thin “pads of Ipe or some other rot resistant wood to the bottom of the legs. I did this on my daughter’s patio set which sits on concrete and flagstone. 5 years and holding up well (the set is reclaimed Doug Fir). My Ipe pads were 3/8” thick.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1888 posts in 2240 days

#5 posted 04-27-2014 12:46 AM

That’s a good idea Mr. Andy, thanks. I have some of those scraps.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 2296 days

#6 posted 04-27-2014 01:02 AM

I have made several outdoor tables from maple stringers. To me the biggest thing was to get the wood up off the ground. I use a rubber foot, seems like just a little bit of air under the end of the leg does wonders for the drying process. I sand glassy smooth and go heavy on the sealer before installing the feet. also predrill the hole and fill it with silicone caulk before putting the screw in. My grandfather used to cut pieces of locust to make pads for picnic tables and such. My Mom still has a picnic table that grandpa made well before I was born. Damn near 60 year old picnic table that has been outside since 1950 something. It does have 3 or 400 coats of paint on it though :)

-- atta boy Clarence!

View a1Jim's profile


117468 posts in 3848 days

#7 posted 04-27-2014 01:19 AM

I hate to disagree with Ted but shellac is not very water resistant ,I would take some TiteBond III and rub it into the end grain before painting it. If you keep the paint maintained paying particular attention to the end grain touching the ground it will last a long time.I agree with gfadvm about putting a more water resistant wood on the feet,Ipe’s a great choice.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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