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Thread: Outdoors work table pointers

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Fairbanks AK
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    Outdoors work table pointers

    I have been named the BBQ pitmaster at my church. May 2019 I made food for 120 hungry people, 80 people showed up (the preacher said "plan for 50"), I had zero left overs.

    It was like locusts. I have never seen a 17 pound brisket just evaporate before. Poof. It was gone. So now I have two assistants, I am scaling my operation, but I need some outdoor tables.

    What I need is an outdoor capable work surface, 18-20-22-24 inches wide, 48 inches long, roughly kitchen counter top height. They need to be uniform so I (we, my team) can use them as sawhorses when we need to process a whole cooked pig.

    I am leaning towards building the saw bench in the back of Chris Schwarz's workbench book, only taller with the lower braces pushed down to about 12" off the ground, then a bread board of 3 parallel 2x6s above, all of that in pressure treated, with a 20 x 48 piece of plywood on top as a sacrificial tip top work surface. I also have the Paul Sellers artisan course book, but that chair side table looks like a lot of work considering I need three of them yesterday.

    I have a pretty high quality RAS and can bang out 15 degree splay x 15 degree spread table legs pretty easy and get them half lapped in nothing flat.

    What else should I consider?

    Attached photo is what my 15 year old assist came up with after one "class" and two test cooks. He claimed he could barely make himself oatmeal before the first class. He needs a horizontal surface near the grill to set down his spatula.

    Butterfky.jpg

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't use plywood for a chopping surface. I've seen indoor breadboards made from plywood, and they get pretty ugly. The show laminate gets all beat up, and starts producing splinters. Once it gets splintery, you can't clean it because the rag gets stuck on the splinters. Instead, I'd use hardwood lumber. You can use 4/4 lumber to make the chopping surface, and rest it on those 2x6s for strength. Or you can use "butcher block", which is thicker hardwood already glued up into a counter top. You can find it in many species. Here's one four-foot example -- https://www.homedepot.com/p/Hardwood...2550/300688696

  3. #3
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    Not intended as a chopping surface, good points though.

    These are going to be outdoors in the weather uncovered year round. We will use cutting boards when we want to chop on them. Just looking for a place to set down a tray of uncooked food, some pegs on the side for spatula and tongs, enough area to wrap a brisket in tinfoil when using the Texas crutch, a low shelf to hold stuff like a rib rack or the charcoal chimney once it is cooled off.

    My thinking is to replace the sacrificial plywood top every year or two, part of its job will be to protect the underlying pressure treated structure from snow fall and meat juices.

    You know what - I am thinking of it as the rest of the work bench. If the grill is my face vise, I am looking to build an outdoor table, an assembly table really, that is the "rest of" the bench that goes with the vise. Maybe I will try to draw something.

  4. #4
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    Outdoors year-round— in Alaska?! Okay, I’ve got no experience to offer...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    Outdoors year-round— in Alaska?! Okay, I’ve got no experience to offer...
    Well, fair enough. The trouble is exposed end grain in spring and fall when we have daily freeze/ thaw cycles and lots of water stored above ground.

    This is a foot on an outdoor saw horse. It was old when we bought the house in 2004. I think it is plain old construction grade lumber, no treatment no paint, nothing, just bare wood.

    20190626_203348.jpg

    I built a saw buck in 08. Nothing special, just a bunch of 2x4s shaped like a comb. All I did to that was paint exposed end grain, top and bottom, anytime I had a paint brush wet in my hand. All kinds of different colors, interior, exterior, whatever, just seal the end grain. I gave it to a buddy of mine and then his wife got the house in the divorce, I haven't seen it in a couple years but it was looking good in 2015.

  6. #6
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    I read up quite a bit on gluing PT lumber. My nearest dealer of KDAT (kiln dried after treatment) is 360 miles, one way. So I bought some construction grade lumber, settled on 10 degrees for my slope and made some half lap joints, then got the end pieces glued and screwed tonight.

    If I ever buy a timber slick I am very likely to name it "Lickety", cause this went pretty fast with a circular saw and 1.5" framing chisel with a square edge for a slick. So therefore Lickety Slick

    4x4 legs, a rectangle of 2x4 bearers around the top, a rectangle of 2x4 stretchers around the base. I am planning three side by side 2x6s for the top framing, all attached to the short bearers only, then a scrap of plywood to cover.

    Anyway, I got the ends done. Tomorrow I need to make the long bearers, the long stretchers, glue and screw that together and then put a top and shelf on it. With three of the corners lined up i am 1/4" out at the fourth. Not ideal, but likely plenty good enough. And I need to make two more of these. Total for sticks at my local Borg was $40.26, plywood scrap and wet paint brushes I got.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
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    There's nothing like stainless steel for sanitary food processing and cleaning up, but maybe not if you have to chop, don't know. I like the roll-around tables I get at Sams with stainless top with nicely rolled edges - I use several in my shop. The will come apart, but if I wanted portable tables I'd probably use just the top and put it on sawhorses.

    Here are two I use for my sharpening station, side by side, the grinders fastened to the plywood sitting on the top. You can see how the edges of the top are made. If you are in a huge hurry you could put tables like these into service this afternoon.

    tormek_A.jpg

    The shelf underneath and the legs don't look like stainless but are probably plated steel, looks like chrome to me. Don't know how they would hold up in the rain in the long term but could be painted or even powder coated.

    Outside the barn I simply use a white freezer door on sawhorses for cleaning and fixing things but it's not pretty enough for your high-end use. Easy to clean though.

    JKJ

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the pointers John. It was decided yesterday my team will be doing a whole pig ~120# on August 24. I have a little time, l but I don't have a lot of time. My current plan is to chop the cooked pig on a temporary surface slung over a couple tables like the one under construction now.

    Having slept on it I think I should have made the sort bearers much longer with through laps instead of 14" long with laps on the end like they are.

  9. #9
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    I changed out the short bearers today, from 14" 2x4 to 24 inch 2x6. And I made all the long pieces, and I got it all glued up. I am thinking tomorrow I will bore it and glue in pegs before I take the ratchet straps down.

    Corners of the top frame are at 35 1/2 x 23 5/16. About 90 x 59 cm.

    I have to get some chores done around the house before LOML gets too terribly antsy, but I will have several opportunities to get end grain sealed up before the top goes on.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    I got all my joints pegged this afternoon and all the metal fasteners out. I bored to 1.5 inches since all the laps were 0.75, no point in going deeper. Got started priming tall exposed end grain too.

    My plan is to cut most of the pegs flush, install a few more as tool hangers, prime all the end grain and then put the item into service Monday afternoon. Then make two more depending on how it does at the pit crew meeting Monday evening.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
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    Scott,
    It might be a bit late for this table, but your description of what you need makes me think Moravian: https://woodandshop.com/moravianworkbench/

    Check out the Neanderthal sub-forum and look for Ken Hatch's posts (e.g., https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....an-Bench-build) - he built a small Moravian that he uses as a set-up-use-as-buffet-table-then-take-down-and-store piece of furniture; that could be a perfect solution to your need to keep it safe from the weather.

    Patrick

  12. #12
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    Fairbanks AK
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    Yah, I have been keeping an eye on Ken's build.

    I am not really looking for take down. I cook outdoors right up to the Christmas turkey and maybe don't cook much until the Valentine's Day ribeyes, but the other 46 weeks of the year i am out there cooking at least once a week. Often 3-4 times a week in the summer months.

    My current idea is to grab a damaged tub surround and use pieces of that held down with construction adhesive to make a pretty waterproof surface, probably requires a router bit I don't own yet.. I am going round and round on protecting the feet, for now I am thinking four scraps all the same thickness to get the feet off the dirt and multiple coats of primer and paint on the endgrain to protect them when they are wet.

    Second one is in primer but not yet in paint, once it is painted I need to go g]trade it out to bring the first one back here for total paint coverage.

  13. #13
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    couple pics.

    The second one went together almost an inch out of square. I drug it back indoors while the glue was still wet, it took 7 of the 8 ratchet strap I own to get it square against my bench top. I'll look it over carefully when I can slow down, or before I build the third one for sure. I thought I had all the pieces s4s, but it went together pretty quick, I doubt the wood dried significantly between checking before layout and assembly with glue. I am confident I missed something, but I had enough clamps to get away with it.

    Other pic is number one ready to use. I have two 22" Weber kettles, generally one set up for indirect and the other for direct. Then table number one, my double decker UDS and then the two red drums that will become flat top Ugly Drum Smokers for my crew members after I am done building tables.

    This is a super handy table for me. My crew members are liking it too, for now they are just using kettles. They got their squirt bottles this week to manage flare ups while cooking hamburgers and leg of lamb.

    clampsandpegs.jpgnumberone.jpg

  14. #14
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    It looks like one of the 4x4s I got two legs out of twisted up between having laps cut into it and assembly. Now I know why so many of you rough cut to width and thickness - and length- a couple days before you really get going. Parts for the third table were rough cut to width, thickness and length this evening.

    I guess I am in some kind of club now.

    For now I am sticking with sacrificial bare plywood top surface. I have been looking for water proof, heat proof and cheap, seems like i can pick any two. Bare plywood is at least cheap and relatively heat proof. I mean like pulling a metal grate out of a smoker at 225dF so I can wrap the meat in tinfoil heatproof. That plywood can handle.

    Vinyl flooring on a 12 foot wide roll is about $1.25 sqft local, but I am not sure it would hold up to having a metal grate at 225dF set down on it.

  15. #15
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    May not not help but I take pieces of 1/8” or 1/4” plastic marine board and screw to the bottom of my wood legs that sit on concrete or other outdoor surfaces. It gets them off the floor/ground and helps prevent water wicking. I’ve even used a small cut off of trex deck board before. Seems to help the wood not do what is shown in your picture and it doesn’t affect the level of the bench since the marine board is uniform thickness.



    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    Well, fair enough. The trouble is exposed end grain in spring and fall when we have daily freeze/ thaw cycles and lots of water stored above ground.

    This is a foot on an outdoor saw horse. It was old when we bought the house in 2004. I think it is plain old construction grade lumber, no treatment no paint, nothing, just bare wood.

    20190626_203348.jpg

    I built a saw buck in 08. Nothing special, just a bunch of 2x4s shaped like a comb. All I did to that was paint exposed end grain, top and bottom, anytime I had a paint brush wet in my hand. All kinds of different colors, interior, exterior, whatever, just seal the end grain. I gave it to a buddy of mine and then his wife got the house in the divorce, I haven't seen it in a couple years but it was looking good in 2015.

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