DIY and Crafts

How to turn an inexpensive chopping board into a table

Take an inexpensive chopping board and turn it into a sturdy outdoor table that will keep all your essentials within easy reach.


What you will need

– Tenon saw
– Square
– Screwdriver
– Sand block
– Paintbrush

Step 1

For vertical pieces: measure your chair and cut 2 lengths of pine to your desired height measurement (in our case, 650mm). For side pieces: cut 4 x 320mm lengths. Mitre (cut a 45° angle) 1 end of each. For front pieces: cut 2 x 430mm lengths. Mitre both ends of each, making sure 1 side still measures the full 430mm.

Step 2

Glue 2 side pieces either side of 1 front piece, joining at mitred ends. Secure with a 32mm screw through each mitre. You should now have two u-shaped frames.

Step 3

Get 1 frame and lie it on floor. From above, it looks like football goalposts. You need to cut a rectangle 40x10x40mm out of the foot of each ‘goalpost’, on the inside; in other words you are creating 2 notched ends that are only 10mm thick, not 20mm; use tenon saw to cut. Repeat on other frame.

Get your vertical pieces and cut the same notches at BOTH ends (notches to be on the same side). In the next step, these notches will fit together to form a right-angled join; see corner in photo in Step 5.


Step 4

Now attach vertical pieces to side pieces, slotting notches over each other at right angles. Use glue and 16mm screws to secure. Leave to dry. You should now have a complete frame minus the chopping board.

Step 5

Once glue is dry, slot chopping board into top of frame, trimming it a little if necessary. Keep it flush to top. Screw a 32mm screw through each side and into the board. Measure and cut a piece of pine (should be about 390mm) to finish the frame around the board and glue and screw into place. On the top, fill gaps in the corners with glue and let dry.


Step 6

Sand all over then paint with three coats of paint, drying in between. Or apply clear varnish to protect wood from the elements.


Top tips

  • To ensure this is suitable for outdoor use make sure to use treated wood, stainless-steel screws and exterior paint. When it inevitably weathers, just give it a light sand and a fresh coat of paint or varnish.
  • Leave the timber unpainted if you prefer a natural look; just give it a coat of varnish to protect the wood.
  • Measure and cut your side table to suit the height of your chair.

Get the look

Pot and plant, $165, from The Botanist; Gidon Bing mug, $40, from Simon James; YH&G Missona cushion, $69.99, and YH&G Aspen throw, $79.99, from Farmers; chair, part of outdoor sofa setting, $1249, from Bunnings. Wall in Resene ‘Paris White’.

Created by: Catherine Wilkinson and Martin Laidlaw. Photography by: Melanie Jenkins and Wendy Fenwick.

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