YellaWood® Outdoor Building Project Plans

Build a Cocktail Side Table

Estimated Cost: $$$$


Total: 3 – 4 hours

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This handy little cocktail table features simple joinery that yields a classic appearance with no visible fasteners. Easy to build, you could make several of these in one weekend for a complete set to complement your outdoor seating. You can also easily adjust the dimensions and fashion a coffee table or even a picnic table, resulting in an entire suite of outdoor tables.

The pocket-hole screws are simple to use and when combined with waterproof exterior glue, result in a very strong joint that you can't see unless you're looking from underneath. The tabletop slats are spaced ¼" apart from each other for drainage, and you can dress up this design by routing chamfers or roundovers on some or all of the slats.

Before you get started, please read our info on safety, fasteners and building tips.

Before building, please consult our Terms of Use.

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  • (1) 1 x 8 x 8' YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine
  • (1) 2 x 4 x 4' YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine
  • (4) exterior-grade 1 ½" L brackets and screws
  • Exterior-grade pan head screws (suitable for pocket-hole joinery)
  • (4) nylon glides
  • Waterproof wood glue
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  • A. (5) ¾ x 2 x 11 ½"
  • B. (2) ¾ x 3 ¼ x 18"
  • C. (2) ¾ x 3 ¼ x 11 ½"
  • D. (4) 1 ½ x 1 ½ x 17 ¼"
  • E. (4) ¾ x 2 x 13 ¼"
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Table saw
Table saw
Miter, hand, or circular saw
Miter, hand, or circular saw
Pocket Hole Jig with bit
Pocket Hole Jig with bit
Drill bit
Drill bit
24" bar clamps
24" bar clamps
Damp rag to wipe up excess glue
Damp rag to wipe up excess glue
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arrow arrow arrowSteps 1-3

  1. 1

    From your 1 x 8 stock, rip both a 2" wide and a 3 ¼" wide piece to cut slats and apron pieces (A, B, C and E). After you have cut slats B and C, you can rip the remaining piece of 3 ¼" stock to finish cutting the 2" wide pieces.

  2. 2

    Rip the 2 x 4 stock in half and cut the legs (D) according to dimensions.

  3. 3

    Gather all the slats and apron pieces together and choose the best-looking sides that will be exposed, then lightly mark the back sides with an “X.”

arrow arrow arrowSteps 4-6

  1. 4

    Drill pocket holes in both ends of the back sides of all the middle slats (A), long end slats (B) and aprons (E).

  2. 5

    Rip several ¼" spacers from scrap material.

  3. 6

    Lay out the middle slats (A) and short end slats (C) face down (pocket holes facing up) on your assembly table with ¼" spacer blocks between them.

arrow arrow arrowSteps 7-9

  1. 7

    Apply glue to both end edges of all middle slats, as well as both end edges of short end slats. Position long end slats in place (see diagram).

  2. 8

    Clamp the assembly together, making sure all edges and faces are flush. Allow to dry.

  3. 9

    Drive pan head screws into all pocket holes, making sure edges “suck in” tight and remain flush. Drive screws carefully so as not to go completely through your pocket holes. Remove clamps when all screws are driven.

arrow arrow arrowSteps 10-12

  1. 10

    Glue and screw apron pieces (E) to the legs (D), keeping top edge of aprons flush with top ends of legs. You can keep the aprons flush with the inside or outside face of the legs if you wish, but in this example, we used ¼" spacers to set them back from the inside face.

  2. 11

    Place table top assembly face down and center leg/apron assembly upside down on the bottom of the table top, leaving a 7/8" overhang from table edges to outside faces of legs on all four sides.

  3. 12

    Mark locations for “L” bracket placement and drill 1/8" pilot holes ¼" deep in the corresponding holes. Drive screws, making sure the leg/apron assembly draws in tight and remains centered.

arrow arrow arrowSteps 13-14

  1. 13

    Mark center location on the bottoms of all four legs and drill a 1/16" pilot hole about ¼" deep. Hammer in nylon glides, which will prevent the legs from wicking up moisture from the ground or deck.

  2. 14

    Break all edges with sandpaper or rout a roundover around the table top. Finish with a waterproofing finish according to manufacturer directions.