Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Design This - Replace Kettle Grill Accessory Table

Many, many years ago we purchased a wood table for our kettle grill that hooked to the side of the grill. As the weather took its toll on the table, we shored it up but finally this year it was too far gone and pretty much fell apart. I figured I should be able to build a new one using the old pieces as a template.

I decided to use cedar because it is more weather resistant than pine. The top was still in good enough shape that I felt confident in my measurements, the base, not so much. I decided to make the top and figure out the base later. After cutting all of the pieces to length, I used my router to round over all four edges. I hand sanded the boards before applying finish. I used a natural cedar stain and after that was completely dry I applied a sealer. When assembling the top I used tile spacers to get consistent spacing between my boards. It turned out that one board was just a tad too long so I had to use my chop saw to take off a tiny ammount. That meant I had a fresh end that needed to be stained and sealed. (two steps forward, one step back) After taking care of that I clamped everything up so I could drill pilot holes for my screws before placing them. Finally I had to cut the curve on one end of the table top so the table would hug the grill. These fresh ends had to be stained and sealed too.

My process is easy to describe but due to drying times, the stain and the sealer shouldn't be applied the same day. I also fit this project in here and there so the time from start to finish was considerable.

Now I turned my attention to the legs. They had weathered in such a way that they were not the same length so I had to make an educated guess of the length for the new ones. There was a nifty bit of hardware that attached the legs to the top and I was pleased to find out that I would be able to reuse them after hitting them with some WD-40. The hardware makes a sturdier attachment than just using screws. I was also able to reuse the hooks that go on the end of the table top opposite the legs to hook onto the edge of the grill as well as some hooks I had added to the underside of the original table to hang accessories from. After cutting the legs and the cross brace, I went through the same steps of routing, sanding, staining and sealing.

Finally, I could put the last pieces together. After putting on the legs I added the hooks to hang the table on the edge of the grill then took it outside to see how it worked. It was great, except that one hook did not rest on the edge of the grill, it was too high. This was perplexing. I moved the grill and table around in case my patio was causing the issue. When that did not work, I took the table back inside to try to figure out what was causing the unevenness. I knew the table top was flat and not warped. The hooks for hanging on the grill had the same profile. I finally found the problem. When attaching the last screw on the last hanging hook, it caused a knot hole to pop loose that caused the unevenness. I glued the knot hole back in place then clamped it up while the glue dried. Finally I was able to reattach the hook and
you can see from the photos, the table works like it should now.

When I was cleaning up between making the top and the legs, I noticed a small cutoff that had a very interesting and unusual grain pattern. I decided to round over its edges and finish it when I finished the legs of the table. The stain really enhanced the grain so that it gave me the impression of a landscape. I enhanced that impression by adding a tree charm so that the image now was of a tree growing by the side of a lake. It is currently sitting in my display case until someone wants it for a small accent piece in their home.

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