Gardening is a messy process that requires storage for gloves, tools, seed, left-over compost – the list goes on and on. Frequently, these are grubby items that are better stored outdoors than in. Since space and storage are almost always problems for apartment gardeners, if you can get double duty from furnishings, that's a good thing.
I have a small collection of Chinese pots accumulated over many years and they have been put to work in different ways. I wrote in an earlier blog about my water fountain made from a medium-size pot.
For another larger pot, I built a slatted top to create a storage table which holds gardening paraphernalia inside and supports beer and sandwich on top. Here's how.
The top is made of 1 x 4 cedar. Cedar is durable for outdoor use, easy to cut with hand tools and not too heavy to manage. Choose lumber with a smooth surface for painting. The top was designed to create a small overhang, but not too much - space is tight.
Using a handsaw and a mitre box, I cut a 45° angle into the corner pieces to prevent bruises from sharp corners. I attached these corner pieces to the supports underneath to prevent the top from shifting or being accidentally knocked off by a clumsy thigh (guess whose?)
Before assembling the pieces, I painted all sides, using the dining-room table, covered with a painter's drop cloth, as a workbench. I chose a favourite eco-friendly milk paint - colour basil - which is available at Faveri’s.
The top was assembled with screws from the underside, using a 1.5 inch, number 8 wood screws or, to generalize, screws long enough to penetrate two thicknesses of wood securely, but not long enough to penetrate the top surface.
To level the finished tabletop and keep it from rocking, I attached small adhesive bumper pads to the rim of the pot wherever it dipped. These are the same ones that might be attached to the corner of a cupboard door to keep the door from smacking the frame of the cupboard each time it is closed. They come on a sheet and are available at building centres.
This type of top could be constructed for any large attractive pot. You might find that other dimensions of lumber, such as 1 x 3 or 1 x 5, will produce better results for the pot you are working with. In my experience, cedar stock at building centres varies. The Cedar Shop offers a good selection.
Monday: DIY books on outdoor furniture from the collection.