Posted: June 12, 2017
Editor’s note: This post is part of an occasional series featuring guest bloggers who are Simpson Strong-Tie brand ambassadors. Today’s post is by Elisha Albretsen from Pneumatic Addict. She is a mom of twin boys and describes herself as an independent former hairstylist who loves to build. She built a beautiful custom DIY Outdoor Table with our new Outdoor Accents® decorative hardware line. Thank you, Elisha, for this post.
Isn’t outdoor entertaining this time of year the best? Hanging out in the backyard is a comfortable way to spend a beautiful evening. After building my rolling grill island last year, we’ve been spending a lot more time outside — so I decided I needed to build us a cool outdoor dining table.
When looking for inspiration, I found all sorts of gorgeous DIY tables, but many of them were too large for my small patio and too rustic for my style. Then, while walking through the building materials section of Home Depot, I spotted tempered glass deck railing panels and came up with a design that matches my patio style. I built a glass-topped dining table and accented it with some gorgeous Outdoor Accents® decorative hardware from Simpson Strong-Tie. I love how it turned out!
Get the FREE building plans for this project HERE.
(2) 4 x 4 x 96″ redwood posts
(3) 2 x 4 x 96″ redwood boards
(4) 2 x 2 x 96″ redwood posts
(1) 43″ x 36-5/16″ x 1/4″ tempered glass panel
(8) Simpson Strong-Tie® Outdoor Accents APA4 90° angles
(16) Simpson Strong-Tie Outdoor Accents hex-head washers
(8) 3-1/2″ Simpson Strong-Tie Outdoor Accents structural wood screws
(8) #10 x 1-1/2″ Simpson Strong-Tie Outdoor Accents connector screws
(8) #10 flat washers
2-1/2″ pocket-hole screws
- Miter saw or circular saw
- Table saw
- Power drill
- Pocket-hole jig
- 3/8″ drill bit
- 3/16″ drill bit
- 1/8″ drill bit
- Wood glue
(4) 4 x 4 post @ 28-1/2
(2) 2 x 4 board @ 31-15/16″
(2) 2 x 4 board @ 37-9/16″
(1) 2 x 4 board @ 41 9-16″
(2) 2 x 4 board @ 17-1/4″
(2) 2 x 2 post @ 42-1/8″
(2) 2 x 2 post @ 39-7/16″
(2) 2 x 2 post ripped to 1-1/4″ x 1-1/2″ @ 42-1/8″
(2) 2 x 2 post ripped to 1-1/4″ x 1-1/2″ @ 33-7/16″
1. Use a miter saw or circular saw to cut four 28-1/2″ legs from 4 x 4 posts.
- Cut two, 2 x 4 x 31-15/16″ aprons and drill two 1-1/2″ pocket holes on each end. Connect leg pairs together with aprons flush to the top and outside edges of the legs. Secure through pocket holes, using wood glue and 2-1/2″ pocket-hole screws.
- Attach 37-9/16″ aprons between panels. Secure in place using wood glue and 2-1/2″ screws driven through 1-1/2″ pocket holes.
- Drill two 1-1/2″ pocket holes on either end of the 2 x 4 x 41-9/16″ cross support. Find the center of the 37-9/16″ aprons. Align the cross support and secure in place using wood glue and 2-1/2″ pocket-hole screws.
- Center cross support sides on cross support. Attach using wood glue and 2-1/2″ screws, driven through 1-1/2″ pocket holes.
- Now assemble to top frame. Since the glass panel cannot be cut smaller, make sure to double check your measurements before cutting the frame pieces. If anything, err on the side of too large instead of too small.
Cut two 2 x 2 x 42-1/8″ posts and two 2 x 2 x 39-7/16″ posts. Attach longer frame pieces to shorter frame pieces through 1-1/2″ pocket holes, using wood glue and 2-1/2″ screws.
- To create a 1/4″ groove for the glass panel to sit in, the 2 x 2 sub-frame pieces need to be cut down lengthwise or “ripped” to 1-1/4″ x 1-1/2″. Cut two 42-1/8″-long pieces and two 33-7/16″-long pieces.
Align longer sub-frame pieces inside the tabletop frame. Use a 1/8″ drill bit to predrill holes every 8″ horizontally through the sub-frame and into the outer frame. Secure the sub-frame in place using wood glue and 2-1/2″ screws.
- Place the top frame on the table base and allow a 1/4″ overhang on each side. Countersink three 3/8″ x 2″ holes on the bottom side of each apron. Predrill into the underside of the top frame, using a 1/8″ drill bit. Secure top in place using 2-1/2″ screws.
At this point, apply any stain or finish you plan on using. Although redwood holds up extremely well outdoors, I highly recommend using an oil-based paint or clear coat to protect the wood from the elements.
- Align an Outdoor AccentsAPA4 90° angle on each inside corner of where cross supports meet. Predrill through each hole, using a 1/8″ drill bit. Attach APA4s using #10 x 1-1/2″ Outdoor Accents connector screws, #10 washers and Outdoor Accents® hex-head washers.
The holes of the APA4s are in different locations on each side, so make sure to alternate their orientation so the screws on adjoining sides don’t hit each other.
- Align an Outdoor Accents APA4 90° angle on the outside of each leg, directly below the tabletop. Predrill through each hole, using a 3/16″ drill bit.
For each hole, slide an Outdoor Accents structural wood screw through an Outdoor Accents hex-head washer and drive the screws till snug.
- Carefully lower the tempered glass panel into the groove of the top frame.
That’s it! I placed my new outdoor table on the patio beneath my DIY solar chandelier, and I’m ready to entertain in style.
The view through the glass panel is definitely my favorite. The interesting supports and Outdoor Accents decorative hardware pieces look so cool in the center!
The smooth glass top also makes cleaning up spills a piece of cake; a pretty handy quality in a home with two messy boys.
The APA4 angles and hex-head washers are absolutely stunning! They are substantial and give my table a finished look. I used them decoratively for this project, but they are actually heavy-duty connectors and fasteners. They are a perfect solution for creating beautiful outdoor structures.
I love our new glass-top table and I’m excited to spend our summer evenings outside!
Posted: April 11, 2016
Notching wood is a pretty common task for a DIYer, particularly when building shelves and cabinets. But when you are just starting out, it can take time to learn the tricks and shortcuts that make this task go faster.
The DIY Done Right video series is perfect if you are new to DIY or want to progress a little faster. The videos offer quick tips on how to build and work with wood. As part of a series of four basic “how to” videos, host and general contractor Jamie Schmitt shows you an easy trick for notching wood that saves time and effort. Using a scrap piece of 2×4 – or whatever size wood you used for your vertical posts – is a fast and easy way to mark the corner cuts needed so the shelves in a DIY shelving unit fit neatly inside the posts. You can learn more about how to build a heavy-duty shelving unit here.
Notching wood can be done with a table saw or circular saw, or even by hand. When notching wood, we recommend using a jigsaw to notch the wood for speed and accuracy. Since a jigsaw is typically a tool used for making curved cuts, it may help new DIYers to use a straight edge to guide the saw such as a speed square. This allows you to keep the saw base straight. In this video, Jamie made his cut without a guide since he marked off his cut and is experienced using a jigsaw.
What DIY tips and tricks would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below.
Posted: March 7, 2016
With spring and summer around the corner, you’ll soon be spending some long-anticipated quality time on your backyard deck. But before you host your first barbecue with family and friends, it’s a good idea to make sure your deck is safe.
The National Deck and Railing Association estimates that there are more than 50 million decks in the United States and Canada that are over 20 years old. Given that the average life expectancy of a wood deck is 10 to 15 years, it’s likely that many decks are in need of repair or need to be rebuilt.
Deck safety is something that’s very important to us at Simpson Strong-Tie. Every spring, we make it a point to discuss the topic. This year we’re working to bring more awareness to deck safety by partnering with Mike Holmes, professional contractor and host and creator of the hit TV series Holmes on Holmes®. As Mike Holmes says in a recent article, “…a deck is a structure that’s part of your home, so its construction must be taken just as seriously as you would if you were taking down a wall in your house, or fixing the structure in your floors.”
There are many steps you can take to make sure your deck is safe and code-compliant. One of the most important things you can do is to inspect your deck each year. We have a spring checklist for deck safety that can help guide you. We’ve also included an infographic below that provides some deck safety tips, including the five warning signs of an unsafe deck and the critical deck connections.
The ledger connection – where your deck attaches to your house – is one of the most important connections to inspect. Nails alone are not enough; you need to use structural connectors and screws that are designed to carry the weight of the deck and people and objects placed on the deck. Simpson Strong-Tie offers a free Deck Connection and Fastening Guide that helps walk you through the key steps in building and repairing a deck.
If you find that your deck needs repair or if you want to build a deck, you can call a licensed professional or you can do it yourself. We encourage anyone repairing or building a deck to contact their local building department first to ensure building code requirements are met.
How safe is your deck? Let us know in the comments below.
Posted: February 1, 2016
Do you live in a home with a raised foundation that was built prior to 1979? Have you ever inspected your crawl space to see whether the cripple walls are anchored to the foundation or whether the cripple walls themselves have been reinforced? If not, chances are good that your home may be in need of a seismic retrofit, especially if you live in earthquake country.
Older homes with raised foundations have typically not fared well during large seismic events. These homes either slide off their foundation, or the cripple walls will rack from side to side as shown in the photo below. This failure is often due to the lack of anchor bolts connecting the cripple wall to the concrete foundation as well as inadequate strength and stiffness in the cripple wall itself. The result is considerable damage to the home, injuries and very costly repairs.
According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, an owner might expect to pay up to $400,000 to repair their home because they have to lift the house back up onto its foundation. For most people, this cost is too high.
The lower-cost solution that will mitigate your risk of damage is to retrofit your home. If you are one of the 1.2 million California homeowners who live in one of these vulnerable houses, you have access to a program that can help you with retrofitting your home.
The state of California has approved the continuation of an initiative known as Earthquake Brace and Bolt (EBB). Now in its second year, this program plans to give as many as 1,600 grants to homeowners, nearly three times the number provided in its inaugural year. The Earthquake Brace and Bolt grant program provides up to $3,000 to homeowners residing in more than 150 California zip codes. Check to see whether you live within one of these communities here.
Simpson Strong-Tie has several retrofit products and resources to assist you in mitigating earthquake risk. The free Seismic Retrofit Guide provides step-by-step information on how to retrofit your home. The Seismic Retrofit Details sheet provides various ways to retrofit the cripple wall system in your home. The photo below highlights the use of the Simpson Strong-Tie® UFP universal foundation plate to attach the sill plate of the cripple wall to the concrete stemwall, strengthening the connection. This simple step can prevent the house from sliding off its foundation.
The picture also reveals plywood sheathing used to strengthen a weak cripple wall system.
You can protect your home from earthquake damage. To learn more about the benefits of a seismic retrofit, click here to watch the story of a Napa business women who had purchased an old house with a raised foundation for her small business, and retrofitted it just prior to the 6.0 magnitude earthquake in Napa in 2014, which caused considerable damage to similar homes.
If you want to take advantage of the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program, you need to act soon. Registration for the retrofit grant ends February 20, 2016. To learn more about the program or to register, visit www.earthquakebracebolt.com. And whether you decide to retrofit your home yourself or hire a professional, we’d like to hear from you after your retrofit is complete. You can let us know how it went in the comments below.