How to Build an Umbrella Table

This woodworking project will give you an umbrella table that is solid, stable and you can build it in a weekend!

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Here we'll show you how to build this umbrella table step-by-step. The tapered base may look like the work of a skilled craftsman, but the entire project—including the angled parts—is super simple. If you've tackled a few woodworking projects in the past, you can complete this one in a weekend. If you have only a little experience with woodworking tools and techniques, this is a good learning project.

Project step-by-step (10)

Step 1

Cut the Parts

  • Cut four side panels (A) from a 4 x 4-ft. piece of 5/16-in. ‘T1-11’ plywood.
    • Note: T1-11 is a common type of rough-sawn exterior-grade plywood available at most lumberyards.
    • Note: Your cuts don’t have to be perfect—they’ll be hidden behind the rails and stiles.

Cut the parts

Step 2

Build the Base

  • Screw the corner cleats (B) to two of the side panels with four screws along each edge.
  • Screw the other two side panels to the cleats to form the table base.
  • Cut the stiles to length, then glue and clamp them together.
  • Let the glue set for an hour.
  • Attach the stiles to the corners of the base with glue and 1-in. screws.
    • Pro tip: Use plenty of glue to ensure a strong bond with the rough plywood.

Build the base

Step 3

Cut the Stiles to Length

  • Clamp your miter saw and a stop to your workbench.
  • Set your saw to 10 degrees and cut the stiles.

Cut the stiles to length

Step 4

Assemble the Base

  • Set the base on 2x4s.
  • Glue and clamp the stiles (C and D) to each other.
  • Spread glue on the stiles and screw them to each corner from inside.

Base assembly

Step 5

Add Decorative Rails and Stiles

  • Tilt the table saw 15 degrees and rip a bevel the top along the top edges of the lower rails (E).
  • Bevel the top edges of the lower rails.
  • Cut the upper and lower rails to length, mitering the ends of the rails at 10 degrees.
  • Test-fit them, then glue and fasten them to the plywood with screws driven from inside.
  • Add the center stiles.
  • Cut a 15-degree bevel on one end of each center stile and make a square cut on the other end.
    • Note: Make each stile about 1/8 in. too long, check the fit and shave off a smidgen with your miter saw until it fits perfectly.

Add decorative rails and stiles

Step 6

Center the Stiles

  • Attach the rails (E and F) with glue and screws driven from inside.
  • Mark their centers, position the center stiles (G) and fasten them.

Center the stiles

Step 7

Assemble the Top

  • Cut the slats (H) using the stop you used to cut the corner stiles.
    • Pro tip: When you cut the short frame sides (J), don’t rely on the measurement (22 in.) given in the Cutting List. Slight variations in the widths of the slats can change this measurement. Instead, lay out the six slats with 1/8-in. spacers between them, measure the total width of the row of slats and add 1/4 in.
  • Cut the short frame sides.
  • Lay them in place and take a measurement for the long frame sides (K).
  • Lay out all the parts with their best side face down.
  • Mark the pocket hole side and then drill the pocket holes.

Assemble the top

Step 8

Pocket Screw Assembly

  • Join one corner with glue and pocket screws.
  • Position the slats (H) with 1/8-in. spacers and fasten them.
    • Pro tip: For flush joints, clamp the piece you’re screwing into. Then add the slats before attaching the other two frame sides.

Step 9

Fasten the Cleats

  • Center the base on the tabletop and screw 2×2 cleats (L) to the tabletop with 2-in. screws.
    • Note: Don’t overdrive the screws or they’ll poke through the top.
  • Drive screws through the upper rails (F) into the cleats.
  • Drill a 3/16-in. hole through each upper rail (F) and drive a 2-in. screw into each cleat.
    • Note: You can remove the tabletop simply by removing these four screws; this makes finishing, moving and storing the table easier.
  • Drill a hole through the center of the top with a hole saw.
  • Dab exterior wood glue on the end grain at the bottom of the legs.
  • Apply exterior oil finish, such as teak oil, to the inside and outside of the table.

Step 10

Anchor the Umbrella with a Heavy Base

    • Note: You can make a simple-but-stable base with a 5-gallon bucket, a 60-lb. bag of concrete mix and 2 ft. of PVC pipe. You’ll need 1-1/2- or 2-in. pipe, depending on the diameter of your umbrella pole.
  • Mix the concrete and water in the bucket.
  • Cover the bottom end of the pipe with duct tape to keep the concrete out.
  • Set the pipe into the concrete and push it all the way to the bottom of the bucket.
  • Hold a level against the pipe to make sure it’s standing straight up.
  • After the concrete hardens, drill a 3/8-in. hole through the pipe and pole.
  • Secure the pole by running a 1/4-in. eye bolt through the hole.
  • Drill a hole through the bucket at the level of the concrete so rainwater can drain.

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