How to Make a Hypertufa Table
This rugged stuff can weather spilled drinks, sticky hands, and even harsh winters. Use it to make a versatile outdoor table that will last for years
If you've never heard of hypertufa, let us explain why this concrete look-alike is the perfect material for an outdoor table. Made from a mix of cement, peat moss, and perlite, hypertufa has much of concrete's strength and durability, but it weighs a lot less, doesn't require sealing, and has a more textured, organic appearance. Senior technical editor Mark Powers cast a tabletop with a recess for adding easy-care sedum and designed a notched cedar base that can be taken apart and stored flat. Hypertufa requires a few weeks to cure, so get started now and you'll be able to show off your handsome new table before summer draws to a close.
Overview for Making a Hypertufa Table
1x2 legs: 4 @ 14 inches
1x2 upper support blocks: 4 @ 11 inches
1x2 lower support blocks: 4 @ 3 inches
1x4 form frame, short sides (scrap): 2 @ 28 inches
1x4 form frame, long sides (scrap): 2 @ 30 inches
1x4 reinforcement blocks: 4 @ 3 inches
¾-inch rigid-foam insulation: [email protected] 20 by 30 inches
¾-inch rigid-foam insulation: 2 @ 7 by 14 inches
1x4 lower crosspieces: 2 @ 10 inches
1x4 upper crosspieces: 2 @ 21 inches*
1x4 lower stretcher: 1 @ 31 inches*
1x4 upper stretchers 2 @ 31 inches*
*After they're cut to length, miter the ends of the upper crosspieces and all three stretchers at opposing 45-degree angles, and clip 1 inch off the long points of the ends. For each piece, the longer edge will be the top edge.
Notch cut instructions:
All notch cuts are ¾ inch wide and extend to half the width of the board, or 1¾ inches. Always measure the positions for the notches along the top (long) edge for each piece, no matter which edge the notches are cut on. See diagrams for positioning and sizing.
For each 1x4 lower crosspiece:
The notch should be centered on one edge of the board; the notched edge is the top edge and will face up during assembly.
For each 1x4 upper crosspiece:
Cut notches on the top (long) edge. Position the notches 3 inches from each end, measured along the top (long) edge. The notches will face up during assembly.
For the 1x4 lower stretcher:
Cut notches on the bottom (short) edge. Position the notches 4 inches from each end, measured along the top (long) edge. The notches will face down during assembly.
For each 1x4 upper stretcher:
Cut notches on the bottom (short) edge. Position the notches 3 inches from each end, measured along the top (long) edge. The notches will face down during assembly.
Prep Day: Cut and assemble the form (Steps 1 through 5).
Saturday: Make the hypertufa mix and cast the tabletop
(Steps 6 through 10). Wait a few weeks for the tabletop to cure.
Sunday: Assemble the base and set the tabletop on it (Steps 11 through 18).