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For a lot of us, DIY should be a four-letter word. So when people talk about putting up their own shelves, or – as we discover here, making your own braai table – we nod politely but resolve to buy them pre-made from Mr. Price Home. Janice Anderssen points out, it's really not higher grade work.

Braaing is a truly South African experience, bringing out all of our best qualities. It is also a good place to be if you want to hear the best of our local expletives. What else is there to say when you’ve overcooked the meat or picked up a scalding hot potjie pot that “Jislaaik” or one of several less publishable alternatives wouldn’t express your frustrations immediately?

A lot of the swearing has to do with not having a place to put things next to the fire. Indeed, a braai table is as crucial to the perfect braai experience as cold beer. Unfortunately, making beer is slightly complicated, but you can make your own table with relative ease by following our steps.

You will need:

Wood

[12] Top slats - 480 x 90 x 19mm
[2] Long side pieces - 1060 x 90 x 19mm
[2] Short side pieces - 400 x 90 x 19mm
[4] Leg - 730 x 90 x 19mm
[2] Leg stretchers - 400 x 90 x 19mm
[2] Leg spacers - 200 x 90 x 19mm
[4] Leg stop blocks - 110 x 90 x 19mm
Wood screws
M10 x 60 cup head bolts, washers and wing nuts

Tools
Jigsaw, Drill/Driver, screwdriver, drill and countersink bits, clamps.

The legs of the table tuck under the top for easy storage, and a handle attached to the front makes it portable. The table is made from 90 x 19mm Meranti - you can also use Pine - sealed with a Woodoc exterior finish.

Here’s how:
1. Use a jigsaw or handsaw and a square to cut the boards for the top and the frame. Assemble the frame, drilling two holes at the ends of the longer frame boards and adding a countersink hole for the screwheads to nestle into. Avoid sawing off fingers at all costs – you are going to need them.

2. Clamp the leg boards together (rough side in) and cut them at the same time to ensure identical pieces. Before unclamping, drill the 10mm bolt hole in the upper end.

3. Place the slats top-side up on a flat surface, leaving 2mm gaps between each. Centre the supporting frame on top, leaving a 20mm overhang on all sides. Trace the frame shape on the slats with a pencil to make it easier to drill holes. Accuracy is paramount here – so we encourage sobriety.

4. Remove the frame and drill two holes on each top board end with a countersink bit, using the traced lines as a guide. Screw the slats to the frame using a nail as a spacer between the boards. End slats should overhang by 20mm to match the side overhang.

5. Allow yourself a brief moment of pride at having got halfway with your thumbs attached, then flip the tabletop upside down and screw a pair of angled leg stop blocks in one end of the frame. Butt rounded ends of the legs against the blocks. Drill through the frame and bolt on legs with M10 x 60 cup head bolts, washers and wing nuts.

6. Screw spacer blocks in the other end of the frame to allow the other pair of legs to nest inside the first. Drill and bolt on the leg stop blocks and the second pair of legs using the longer M10 x 90 cup head bolts.

7. With the legs flat on the underside of the table, measure the length of the stretchers. Cut, drill and fasten them across each pair of legs. If at this point your table resembles a makeshift skateboard, go back to step 1.

8. Test the fit of the legs by pulling the legs up from the frame. Lift the wider spaced pair first so the second can be raised without catching on the stretcher of the first pair. If the legs bind and scrape, sand the sides for a smoother fit. Punch the air like a Wimbledon winner, then open a beer.

Finishing
Sand the table with 120-grit sandpaper. Slightly round the top edges of the slats. Brush away any dust and apply a finish. We used three coats of a Woodoc 50 to finish off the table and provide sufficient protection for outdoor use.

To use the table, simply pull out the legs, tighten the wing nuts and get ready for a braai!

TIP: Add a handle to make it easy to carry, and screw on some hooks to hang barbecue tools.

For a step-by-step diagram, visit
http://www.home-dzine.co.za/diy/diy-bbq-table.htm


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