So some completion happened to be in the cards for me this week. The finishing details have been put on the gazebo table and it has finally reached its resting place inside the summer structure. I have to say that I am happy with the finished product. I think the whole leaf concept worked out well and the visual is great.
The final steps that needed the attention included the support base, paint, installation, and the finishing touches on the leaves. Starting with the support base I decided to implement the same method the city uses to install their lamp posts and larger street signs. It is simply a system that would allow me to support the table on 4 threaded rods that will allow for solid installation and leveling. I needed a base plate to bolt to the wooden gazebo floor joists. I used a 3/8” thick steel plate and plasma cut it into a hex to match the hole I left in my gazebo floor. Then I drilled nine 5/16” holes in the plate to allow me to bolt it solid to the floor joists using 2” lag bolts. I cut 4 studs from a section of 5/8” threaded rod, machined the threads off the bottom sections of the studs, inset, and welded them into the base plate.
I still needed a way to attach the table to the support plate. My solution was neither pretty nor graceful but it is functional. I used four sections of 2” angle iron and drilled a 5/8” hole in each of them. They got welded to the inside of the center table pedestal. The angle iron is what will actually allow me to bolt the table to the base plate. Just look at the pictures, you’ll figure out what I am talking about.
Next up is paint. Okay…I learned a lesson here but first I need to provide some history. I have always struggled with putting the final finishing touches on projects. I am not a very competent painter plus I believe that there are a lot of complexities involved when applying a proper finish especially if that finish involves paint. I lack proper resources and proper knowledge. As time goes on I think more seriously about building a modular paint booth in my garage. I would like a booth that is collapsible, will allow for some ventilation, and allow me to use a HVLP gun and therefore get a good proper finish. I’ll add that to the list of projects. Usually I just use the brush on Tremclad oil based paint. I think it is the best bang you can get for your buck. The stuff is thick, it covers great, the flow in is fantastic, and the durability is better then any spray bomb you can find. The only down side is that it takes over a week to dry properly, for me that is not a big deal. Anyway…this is where the lesson comes in. Tremclad has added a new line to their paint products. It is a water based paint that you can get mixed in a multiple of Tremclad’s custom colors. I needed a very specific brown for the gazebo table and none of Tremclad’s stock oil based colors would work. They did have a custom color so I decided to go for it. First problem; apparently Tremclad screwed up when producing this paint. When the pigment is added to the base tint someone, at Tremclad, got the ratios off. The can does not have enough volume to allow for the pigment addition therefore the pigment overflows from the can when it is added. This is not a problem for me but it is for the store mixing the paint. So…what I think Tremclad did was they modified the pigment ratios to try and prevent the addition of too much pigment by volume. This does not work. The colors that are advertised now do not match the actual custom color. Eventually, after a couple of tries, I (actually the wife) just accepted the color brown that the paint turned out to be. Next lesson was how the water based Tremclad actually performed. I followed the instructions on the can and applied a Tremclad base primer coat. I then proceeded with the top color coat. This stuff covers horribly. Some of my steel was marked with a felt pen and even after 3 coats (1 primer and 2 top coats) the felt pen was still visible and bleeding through. The table eventually got a total of 4 coats and could have used 1 more. In the end the water based Tremclad does not provide the coverage, provide the flow, nor does it have the durability of the oil based product. I will never use this paint again. If I need to Tremclad something it is going to have to be whatever color is available in the oil based product line up. I spent a weeks worth of time painting only to achieve a substandard finish.
Let’s move on shall we? The time had come to move the table from the workshop into the gazebo. I am unsure what I was happier about; seeing the table installed or freeing up my workspace. The base plate was bolted down to the floor joists and the table settled onto the threaded studs beautifully. Leveling was a piece of cake and the table is now situated solid with no wobble.
Onto the finishing touches, in my original table build blog post I had mentioned that I was mulling over a few different ideas on how to finish the table off. After coming up with some ridiculous ideas I finally settled on something practical. I made a trip down to a local aquarium supply store and obtained 3 bags of aquarium gravel. My plan was to fill the leaves with natural looking stones and then install a glass top. I was able to find 3 different shades of gravel that fell into line with nature’s colors. Next was trying to track down a glass top for it. I started by getting an estimate for a custom cut piece of 6mm tempered glass, 49 inch diameter, with a polished edge. $425!!!!!! Forget that. So I started hunting for cheap patio table that would have the right sized glass. Couldn’t find anything. I jumped online to the IKEA catalog and found what I needed…almost. IKEA sells a 6mm tempered glass table top for $39. Awesome! Except…it is 46.5 inches in diameter which puts me at 2.5 inches short. Can I make it work? I brainstormed ideas but the only one I could come up with, that I would be able to live with, is redo the table to make it fit the IKEA glass top diameter. No way! Plan 2…started price shopping a custom glass top. The best I could find with $298 which is better the original $425 but still a long ways from Ikea’s $39. Deep breath…ok no choice…either rebuild the table or cough up the dough. Well let’s just say the dough was coughed. Custom table top it was. I did it, I don’t want to think about it anymore, I don’t want to talk about it.
Onto the final fun part of filling in the leaves. The most satisfying parts of the projects seem to always be so short lived. In about 20 minutes the leaves were filled and the glass top was installed. I still need to place some rubber support feet on the glass. In the end I think the table worked out very well, I’m quite pleased with the effect the natural stone has, it suites the atmosphere and is calming to sit by. It’s time to call this project complete and get ready to move on to more.