Of Tables, Teak and Concrete.

Definitely time for an update on the progress of the teak outdoor dining table and its associated four benches. The last post on this contained some nervous musings on the adequacy of the framing to support the weight of the concrete panels. I haven't actually worried about this for a bit, after increasing the depth of the rails, as well as using the ledger pieces that support the panels as structural reinforcement.
The framing work was completed about a week ago, and any finishing work postponed until the concrete forms had been completed and the exposed aggregate panels successfully poured.


This shows the completed table framing (as well as a couple of benches). The six panel wells with supporting ledgers for the concrete are all prepared; note that the top of the legs has been kept at the level of the lower surface of the concrete panels. The difficulty of adequately bracing the legs without conventional morticed rails is one of the reasons for the deep rails. The  corner joint is reinforced with epoxy resin glue and long sturdy screws. Perhaps not traditional joinery, but certainly strong and weatherproof.
Since concrete can't be planed to fit, I made accurately fitted plywood templates for each of the ten panels. These were then used to make the concrete forms. It seems to me that if the ply panel fits, then the concrete panel will too. The alternative is too horrid to contemplate.


First I made a sample form for Jesse to take away and bring back in a few days so that we could see the probable finished surface, as well as confirm the basic construction of the form.
The final moulds retained this simple construction, other than the addition of small triangular fillets in the bottom corners  to provide a chamfered edge to the base of the panels (to ensure that the final assembly with the closely fitted concrete would not damage the wood surround). A minor addition was the provision of a small stapled plywood cap over each screw-head securing the removable mould side.*
As visible in the later photographs, these moulds were mounted on rigid 2x4 frames, allowing them to be leveled.


After not hearing from Jesse for a day or so, he dropped the finished panel off at the shop, with this note chalked on the board by the door. (The remaining bits of the compass rose with its enigmatic directions have been there for at least a year or more. Daughter Norah left them for me before leaving to work in Scotland. I've renewed the chalk several times, but Jesse's overwritten note indicates that it's time they went.)

"Hi Iltyd
Please be careful w/cement just poured today Sorry 4 Jumble 
Wife in labor

Griffin arrived a few days later, and Jesse returned to organize the full pour.


All the forms are in place, leveled, and half-inch rebar laid in place; plastic sheet should protect the wall and deck.
The forms are oiled with raw linseed oil; the local building supply store suggested diesel.

This was taken last Thursday. The concrete truck from Ganges was due the next morning at ten.

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This sort of thing makes me nervous, and who needs a nervous onlooker pacing around asking "Can I help? Is everything OK?" every few minutes. Much better to go up and have a quiet cuppa.

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But all was well. Jesse sprayed the finished surfaces with retarder and returned later in the day to wash off the top cement layer:


Thank you Jesse!

*The little plywood squares covering the screws mean that I won't have to spend a very frustrating hour trying to dig hardened cement out of the Robertson screw-head sockets with an ice-pick before abandoning futility for a wrecking bar, with probably unfortunate results. Sometimes (rarely) I surprise myself.