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Outdoor table and bench seating on deck in garden entertaining area.

Overview

If you've got an outdoor entertaining area, the right furniture can become the focal point for all your get-togethers. This merbau table with a built-in drinks cooler not only looks fantastic, it'll save you from having to leave the table to grab a drink.

Steps

1Have your timber pre-cut at Bunnings

To make building your table even easier, have your timber pre-cut at your local Bunnings. Our cut list for this project is as follows.

Tabletop frame

  • 45mm x 90mm x 2100mm merbau x 2
  • 45mm x 90mm x 840mm merbau x 2

Table frame (rebate depth)

  • 70mm x 19mm x 740mm merbau x 2
  • 70mm x 19mm x 2000mm merbau x 2

Tabletop

  • 140mm x 19mm x 1990mm merbau x 5

Braces

  • 70mm x 19mm x 660mm merbau x 5

Treated pine tabletop supports

  • 70mm x 35mm x 700mm treated pine x 4

Legs

  • 88mm x 88mm x 735mm merbau x 4
Many pieces of timber sitting on top of a table.

2Cut the rebates for the frame

Clamp your first piece of timber for the frame to the workbench. Set the guide on the circular saw to the depth you want. Our rebates were 35mm wide and 19mm deep. Cut 1 rebate, then turn the timber over to cut the other. Repeat this step for all 4 pieces of the frame.

Person using circular saw to cut piece of timber into two pieces.

3Cut 1 end of a frame to 45-degrees

Take 1 of the longer pieces of timber for the frame and use the mitre saw to cut it at a 45-degree angle. Repeat this for the other pieces of timber in the frame.

Person cutting timber frames out with circular saw.

4Measure, mark and cut the mitre

Measure and mark from the longest point on the mitre cut to the length you want the frame to be. Use the circular saw to cut the other ends of the frame to 45-degrees. Sand the edges to make them smooth.

Person using measuring tape and making a mark on piece of timber with pencil.

5Drill drainage holes

Because the table will be sitting outside in the rain, use a 5mm drill bit to drill 6 drainage holes in the rebate of each of the long sides of the frame and three along the shorter ends.

Person drilling into a thin bit of timber.

6Pre-drill holes into the frame

Clamp the 4 sides of the outer frame to the workbench so that their edges are flush. Use a 3mm drill bit to drill a hole right through the corners of the frame. Then re-drill the hole, using a 6mm bit as a countersink to hide the screws.

Person drilling into thin bit of timber frame.

7Join the frame

Apply glue to each joint, but not too much, you don't want it to stain the timber. Join the frame together, then reinforce using use the drill and 65mm screws.

Person drilling two bits of timber frame together.

8Staple the frame

Flip the frame over and staple where the rebate joints meet. We used 0.5 inch staples. Also use staples to join the 45-degree mitre joints underneath the frame making sure they won't be visible.

Person stapling corners of timber frame together.

9Pre-drill holes for the decking

Measure the positioning of the planks, then use the 5mm drill bit to pre-drill the holes that will secure them. Pre-drilling ensures the screws will be easier to insert and will help identify where they need to go.

Person drilling into a thin bit of timber.

10Place decking in the frame

Place the merbau decking into the frame. Use a 3mm packer between each plank to make sure they're evenly spaced.

Person laying pieces of timber into a table formation.

11Secure the decking

Use three 40mm screws to secure each plank of the decking from underneath. Once each piece of decking is secure, turn the tabletop over and insert the rest of the screws.

Person drilling into a wooden table that is upside down.

12Measure and mark bracing

Measure and mark where the five brace supports will go underneath the tabletop. Remember to leave enough space for your drinks cooler. Ours will be positioned at one end of the table, but place yours wherever you like.

Person using measuring tape and making a mark on piece of timber.

13Pre-drill holes and secure supports in place

Use the 3mm drill bit to pre-drill at least three holes, at the ends and in the middle of the five supports. Then use 40mm screws to attach the brace supports under the table. These will stop the timber from cupping in the winter.

Person drilling bits of timber together.

14Measure, mark and cut the support frame

Measure and mark the support frame for under the table. Make sure you measure from the longest point of the mitre cut. Our frame measured 740mm x 2000mm. Set the circular saw to 45-degrees. Cut the ends of the support frame to length.

Person using measuring tape and making a mark on piece of timber.

15Assemble the support frame

Lay out the support frame in its rectangular shape. Place the pieces of treated pine across the frame for support. Make sure the edges of the support frame are flush, then use a drill to screw the frame together.

Person laying piece of timber into a table frame formation.

16Pre-drill holes and secure pine supports

Use the 3mm drill bit to drill holes through the merbau frame and into the pine supports. Repeat this for each end of the pine. Use 50mm timber decking screws to attach the pine supports to the frame, making sure that the corners are flush.

Person drilling pieces of wooden table together.

17Pre-drill for the legs

Place 1 leg in each corner. Use the 3mm drill bit and then the 4mm drill bit to drill holes through the support frame and into the leg. Repeat this for the 3 other legs.

Person drilling timber table top and leg together.

18Attach the legs

Drill the 50mm timber decking screws into the legs via the outside of the support frame.

Two people working together to drill a wooden table leg and top together.

19Cut the pine for the braces

Set the circular saw to cut the four pine braces at a 45-degree angle. Measure and cut a 330mm long brace at a 45-degree angle. Repeat this step for the 3 other braces.

Person using circular saw to cut piece of timber into two pieces.

20Pre-drill holes and secure the braces

Place a pine brace as close as possible to the leg of the table. Use the 4mm drill bit and then 6mm drill bit to pre-drill two holes at both ends of the brace. The holes need to go through the pine and into the support frame. Repeat this for the three other braces then drill 75mm batten screws to secure each to the support frame.

Person drilling pieces of wooden table together.

21Centre the frame

Place the frame onto the underside of the tabletop. Make sure it's centred and the overhang is even on all sides.

Person measuring the end of a table that is upside down.

22Attach the frame to the tabletop

To attach the frame to the tabletop, screw the L-shaped angle brackets into place. The screws for this come in the same packet as the brackets. Use 2 brackets between the treated pine braces and at least 2 at each end.

Person drilling a small silver bracket into a timber table.

23Mark the hole for the drinks cooler

Place the drinks cooler upside down on the table where you want to it go. Make sure it's not above any of the supports underneath the table. Use a pencil to draw around the bucket. Mark 15mm inside the shape you've drawn and replicate the shape of the cooler bucket. This will stop the bucket falling through your table.
Person holding a bucket upside down on top of a table and a tracing around it with a pencil.

24Attach a timber offcut

Turn the table over. Place a timber offcut directly below where you will be cutting out the hole for the drinks cooler. Attach it with the drill and 40mm screws. This will hold the boards together when they are being cut out for the bucket.

Upside table with braces and other bits of timber in place.

25Cut out the hole

Use a jigsaw to cut the hole around the pencil line. Keep the timber you cut out, it can be used as a cover when your drinks cooler is not in use and you want a complete table.

Person using jigsaw to cut a large hole in table top.

26Sand the hole and table

Use 120-grit sandpaper to sand the edges of both the hole in the table and the timber you've just cut out. You can hand sand or use the orbital sander to do this job.

Person sanding around a circle cut out they have made in a table.

27Attach butterfly cleats

If you want to be able to remove the drinks cooler and make the table complete, attach at least 4 butterfly cleats under the table on the long side of the hole.

Person attaching butterfly cleat to part of a table where they have cut out a hole.

28The finishing touch

All you need now is a bag of ice, some good company and your favourite drinks.
Outdoor table and bench seating on deck in garden entertaining area.

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.