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Sit a little

DIY Cement Table and Chairs

What you will Need for your DIY Cement Table and Chairs

  • Large wooden board to work on
  • 18 mm shutter-ply panels cut to size
  • Screws
  • Cooking oil
  • Paintbrush
  • Wooden support battens (±100 mm x 20 mm)
  • Scrap piece of wood as support (±846 mm x 150 mm)
  • Fine stone
  • Builder’s sand
  • PPC cement
  • Reinforcing rods

Cutting List

  • 1 x 1000 mm x 500 mm (tabletop)
  • 2 x 732 mm x 500 mm (outsides of table legs)
  • 1 x 850 mm x 500 mm (underside of table)
  • 2 x 657 mm x 500 mm (insides of table legs)
  • 2 x 75 mm x 500 mm (table leg ends)
  • 2 x 450 mm x 450 mm (tops of chair seats)
  • 4 x 432 mm x 450 mm (outsides of chair legs)
  • 2 x 350 mm x 450 mm (undersides of chair seats)
  • 4 x 382 mm x 450 mm (insides of chair legs)
  • 4 x 50 mm x 450 mm (chair leg ends)

Tools

Tape measure, drill, bucket, trowel, rubber mallet, screwdriver

Steps

  1. Place the wooden board in a level area where you can leave your DIY cement table and chairs to cure for a week. It is important that the surface and base you work on is completely level and large enough to hold all your items.
  1. Construct the box mould for the table by taking a piece of wood the size of your desired tabletop (in our case 1000 x 500 mm) and screwing on the outer leg pieces to make the outer edge of your box mould. Brush the inside of this with cooking oil so that the cement will release nicely after curing. Make a second ‘U’ shape 75 mm smaller than the outer wooden box, to be the inner side of the box. You can choose to make the tabletop and legs the same thickness or slightly different. Brush the inside of the mould with cooking oil to assist removal after curing. To complete the table box mould close the box at the foot of each leg with the cut table leg ends. Screw the pieces together so you can dismantle the box easily once the cement has cured.
diy cement table
diy cement table
  1. Place the box mould for the table on your level surface and attach three support battens to the mould. Secure them with wood screws, one at each corner of the feet of the table and one across the top of the box. Then put a larger piece of wood against the inside of the bottom of the tabletop and screw it to the base.
diy cement table
  1. Make two chairs in the same manner as the table by repeating steps 2 and 3, but after adjusting the sizes accordingly. Make sure you keep your table and chairs in proportion, as it will be important for the final effect of your garden furniture. Don’t forget to brush the inside of the mould with cooking oil before assembly.
  1. Mix together 2 parts fine stone, 2 parts builder’s sand and 1.5 parts PPC cement and then add enough water to make a cement mixture that will not run off a surface but will hold its shape while still being pourable. Use a fine grade of stone crush to ensure a smooth finish on the table and chairs. It is always best to prepare enough mixture for the whole set of table and chairs so you can finish the project without having to mix more. If you don’t do this cracks could appear in your final product. Pour the mixture into your table mould until it is approximately 200 mm from the bottom. Use a spare batten to push the mixture into the corners of the box mould and gently tap it to remove air bubbles.
  1. Bend two reinforcing bars or wire to the shape of the table and place one into the mould on the 200mm bed of concrete. Add another 100 mm of the concrete before placing the second reinforcing bar. If your table is wider than 500mm you will need to add a third reinforcing bar to maintain the table’s strength.
diy cement table
  1. Using a rubber mallet, tap the outside of the mould to release any air bubbles trapped in the mixture. You want to ensure a smooth surface throughout so tap the box mould diligently all over. The weight of the concrete can cause the wood to bulge, so check your mould. Should you notice any bulging, screw in additional supports. Float the top surface of the cement with a trowel to give it a smooth  finish.
diy cement table
  1. Follow the same procedure of filling the chair box moulds, placing at least one reinforcing bar at half way. Don’t forget to tap the mould to release the air bubbles, and support any bulging areas. Smooth of the edge.
  1. Leave the cement in the moulds to cure for seven days. It is best to leave it in the sun but under plastic. The longer the cement is left to cure, the stronger the finished pieces will be.
diy cement table
  1. Unbox the items as close to the final position as possible so that no damage is caused during re-positioning. Loosen the screws and remove each panel from the item. Once unveiled completely, sand down any rough bits or jagged edges on your DIY cement table and chairs.