Table with a cooler

Cooler table
A lot of people have seen this table online and I thought I could make one.. so I did. I followed the plans because I thought the idea was good and after glancing over the math it appeared to be right. It wasn’t so I am here to help out the next person that wants to build this plus add a little mod to it. Also I used cedar for a different color scheme.

I will try and highlight the problems that I ran across and give you another run down and a more versatile way or ideas of how you to can build this project.

First off it is an great project, you just need the right tools and materials. The cost was about right and the information was 90% right on.  The problems I ran into were simple fixes and could not figure out why he did this so I made it with a little twist.. Let me just say for posting it online and giving out the plans for free, along with describing every steep and taking pictures who ever made this table and did this THANK YOU. These are just problems I found.

First off

  • The Math on the the 2 – 6X2 @ 5′ 9-1/4″ (top long board) ( Wood cut List )  should be 5′ 10-1/2 if not the middle 2×8 sticks out and you are debating if you should cut the other pieces down to match or take .75 out of both side or stripe the 2X8 to match or so on.
  • Using the K Jig make sure you only enter the board – DO NOT Drill past that point. The weight of the boards and the design make it appear seamless. If you enter the board to far you will pull through the wood and waste wood.
  • You must use the clamp to drill the wood table slates together, Yes he does say this but since must of use do not have a planner to make absolute perfect, uniformed wood , you will be buy wood from a store and then assembling this on a concrete pad working upside down. USE THE CLAMPS.
  • After you glue and screw the first 2×6 to the 2×8 flip it on its side and work with the clamp looking to make sure your are even on the true top of the table. Should have someone else there if you can for this point and make sure your jig holes are pre-drilled
  • I wonder if Biscuits would have worked better if you have a clamp large enough? That is just a random thought I had
  • On the planters you use for the coolers. I choose to make the cage underneath 1″ bigger and the surface (Table top) 1/2″ smaller. For this reason in the plans you have the planter that is recessed in the table so you can add boards on top to make a level table.. Very cool but how do you get the coolers out when they break or to drain or even to fill. It is easier for me to bring the planters in the house and fill them there then it is to fill a cooler, then bring it out to fill my cooler. Beside with the way I made it is if I wanted to I could shove them down there and force it to be lower and still add the level table tops later.
  • The cage on the bottom – you don’t need 6 bottom support when 3 will do on a 24 ” planter saving you 1  1×2 if you wanted.

So that is the run down – Again great job on the table and I would not have built it if I did not see it so for that Thank You again

Here is the article with Notes:

Really, what is better than a patio table with a built in cooler! Who really wants to get up to get another beer?

Almost everyone has seen this picture of the wine cooler patio table ether on Pinterest or Reddit.

This picture was taken at Medlock Ames’ tasting room. Picture source:
Right after my husband saw this he asked me to make it happen. I was already in the process of designing a patio table so I decided to take a stab at it.  I wanted to make a table that was more than just a table with a cooler in the center all the time. I wanted to have to option of covering it when not in use so we can do full meals on it too. I pulled up SolidWorks and started playing around with the idea. Here is what I came up with:
Patio Table with built in Beer/Wine Cooler with Lids
Like in my farmhouse table post I am going to be breaking the instructions into two parts. The first will be the construction of the table and the second will be the finishing instructions. 
Part 1: Table Construction
Materials needed:

  1. Wood (We used Spruce, see cut list)
  2. Wood glue
  3. Wood filler 
  4. Wood screws (1-1/4″)
  5. Wood screws (2-1/2″)
  6. Sandpaper (110 grit)
  7. Two plastic planter boxes (denoted pb throughout the instructions)
Tools needed:

  1. Sander
  2. Kreg Jig
  3. Square
  4. Clamps
  5. Electric Screwdriver
  6. 1/8” counter bore drill bit
  7. 1-1/2″ hole saw bit
  8. T-square (could also use a ruler or measuring tape)
  9. Pencil
Cost of Materials:

  1. $75 from local lumber yard 
  2. $5 from Home Depot
  3. $7.50 from Home Depot 
  4. About $10
  5. About $10
  6. $8 from Home Depot
  7. $24 from Home Depot or Amazon
Total Cost for construction: $139.50
Wood cut list:
2 – 6X2 @ 5′ 9-1/4″ (top long board) * 5’10-1/2
3 – 8X2 @ 1′ 9″ (top side and middle board)
12 – 2X4 @ 1′ 11-3/4″ (top center board)
4 – 2X4 @ 2′ 5-1/4″ (legs)
2 – 1X4 @ 5′ 2-1/4″ (outer long skirt)
2 – 1X4 @ 5′ 6-1/4″ (inside long skirt)
2 – 1X4 @ 2′ 5″ (short skirt)
4 – 1X4 @ 2′ 3-1/2″ (cross beam)
4 – 1X4 @ 2′ 1-1/4″ (box supports)
4 – 1X6 @ 1′ 11-3/4″ (long box side)
4 – 1X6 @ 8-3/4″ (short box side)
10 – 1X2 @ 7-1/4″ (bottom box) * just cut 6
A little more about the design:
The first thing I did after having the initial concept sketched out in SoildWorks was go out and find the perfect cooler insert. We first looked into getting gutters but they come in large pieces and didn’t seem like they would work well for our design. Next we contemplated using sheet metal and bending it to shape we were looking for.  At this point we were still planning on installing a drain at the bottom to let the melted ice out. After walking up and down the aisles at Home Depot we came to the gardening department. The idea clicked, why not use planter boxes and instead of having one long one, having 2 short coolers?

View of the table top. I have one lid on and the other is transparent.
Going back to the drawing board, I played around with the design to incorporate the two planter boxes. We decided to have the planter boxes be removable instead of installing a drain. This was much simpler and now we have the option of replacing the boxes if for some reason they break during the years of future use without having to do construction on the table.  The planter boxes also have a nice rim on the outside for the lids to sit on, another added bonus.

View of the bottom of the table. I only drew the planter box supports on one side. It is the same thing copied over to the other side.
After the designs were done was head to our local lumber yard to get our cut list made. At the time, we didn’t have a way to cut wood accurately enough to do our own so we had the lumber yard do this for us (for a small fee).

The first step after getting home with all the boards is to sand all of them. Alex jumped in and did this for me again; I think he secretly loves sanding.
Using the Kreg Jig we put pocket holes in both ends of eight of the top center boards (2X4 @ 1′ 11-3/4″), the other four are going to be used for the lid and do not need these holes. On a side note, this was my first time using theKreg Jig and absolutely love it! It is super easy to set up and use. I used this website to walk me through the set up and how to use it.


Arrange all the top boards on the ground, face down (pocket holes up). Put the planter boxes (PB) into place upside down (hole side down). This was to made sure we left enough space so the PB could lift out from in between the boards.
Stop drilling once it looks like this Do not enter the wood (Drill should enter the jig maybe 1″)


Next apply wood glue to the ends of the now Kreg Jigged top center boards.  Using the 2-1/2″ wood screws, attach the top center boards to the middle board through the pocket holes.  Make sure to hold both the boards down when doing this. I actually stood on both the boards while Alex screwed them in.
urn the boards on their side to line them up better

After the eight boards are attached to the middle board, repeat the same thing for the two side boards attaching them to the center boards.
The Kreg Jig was used again to make holes down the top long boards. Using a pencil, mark off points where the side and middle boards make contact with the long board (two spots at each junction were pocket holes will be made). Six pocket holes are made on each top long board.

Attach the long side board through the pocket holes using 2-1/2″ screws after applying wood glue.

The next step is to make the boxes to go around the PBs. The first step to do this is screwing together the sides of the box. This is done by first counter boring holes then adding wood glue between the attaching surfaces.  Make sure to use a square to make everything line up before using 1-1/4″ screws to attach them together..

Then, using a pencil and counter bore bit, mark off and counter bore five even-ish spaced holes on both long sides of the box. The only thing that is important about this step is to get the cross holes to line up enough to be able to screw the bottom supports together.

Put the pb inside the newly made pb support box. On a flat surface, place this assembly upside down. The plastic pb should be the only thing touching the surface.  Next take the box supports (1X4 @ 2′ 1-1/4″) and place them up against the wooden box so it is flush on both ends and also siting on the flat surface (the same as the plastic pb).

Using 1-1/4″ screws attach the box support boards to the wooden box. We did not counter bore these screw holes because they are not going to be visible at the end. We did add wood glue.

 used 3 supports only
Here comes a little bit of a tricky part. We need to attach two of the cross beam boards to the box assemblies before assembling the table skirt. This was done by measuring and making the centers of both the cross beam board and the short box side of the wooden box. Use a T-square to make nice straight lines at the proper lengths. I love putting my T-square from my freshman Engineering Graphics class to use.



After the cross beam board is lined up use a clamp to hold it in place. Don’t forget to put wood glue between before clamping,

Then using eight 1-1/4″ screws to attach the cross beam board to the wooden box (four screws in the box supports and four in the wooden box).
Next lay out the pb assemblies and table skirt boards on top of the facedown table top. Mark out the placement of the needed pocket holes to attach the skirt to the table top. Using the Kreg Jig make the pocket holes at the marks.


After making sure the pb box assemblies are completely center with the holes in table top, wood glue the table skirts and attach them to the table top via the pocket holes.
Next pull up the pb box assemblies, added wood glue on the areas that make contact with the table top and placed them back down making sure the holes are still lined up. To attach the cross beams to the table skirt drill two counter bored holes at each junction. Using 1-1/4″ screws attach all eight junctions together.


Next line up the legs (2×4 @ 2′ 5-1/4″) and the outer long skirt (1X4 @ 5′ 2-1/4″). The outer long skirt is just for on the long side of the table, it will cover all the holes made to attach the skirt to the cross beams. Attach the outer long skirt by first applying wood glue to the backside and screwing it together through the inside using 1-1/4″ wood screws.

I didn’t get a great picture of this step. The red arrows are pointing out the outer skirt. The purple arrow is pointing out one of the screws attaching the outer skirt with the normal skirt.
Raise the table up onto sawhorses to attach the legs (this just makes it nicer for your body to get in the correct angle).  Attach the legs by adding wood glue and using four 1-1/4″ wood screws in each corner. Use a clamp to help hold the boards together. We did the two holes closest to the corner then moved the clamp outwards for the second set of screws.

The table is now ready to be flipped over onto its legs. Used wood filler to cover the few counter bored holes that are showing. Don’t forget the ones on the towards the bottom of the side of the wooden box (we forgot and they do show). After the wood filler is dry the last step for the main table in to sand down every imperfect surface to prep for the finish.
The two lids are the final part to finish off the construction portion of the table. We made the lids by taking two of the center boards and attaching them together in four spots through pocket holes with 2-1/2″ wood screws and wood glue.  Use a clamp to help hold them together.

Using a 1-1/2″ hole saw bit, cut a hole through the lids so they can pull them up after they are covering the coolers.

The lid ends might need to be sanded down to help them slid in and out easier.
Section 2: Staining / finish 
Materials needed:

  1. Benite wood conditioner (1 quart)
  2. Wood stain (1 pint, Dalys’ 45 cherry)
  3. SeaFin Teak Oil (1 gallon)
  4. 3M Final Stripping Pads
  5. 110 grit sand paper
  6. Sponge brushes
  7. Rags/ old t-shirts
  8. Disposable cup (red solo cup)
Tools needed:

  • Electric sander
Cost of materials 

  1. $16.75 from Dalys 
  2. $10.45 from Dalys
  3. $53.95 from Dalys
  4. $2.41 from Dalys
  5. Accounted for in construction
  6. About $3
  7. Free
  8. Already had
Total finishing Cost: $86.50
Total Overall Cost: $226
If you want a more detailed explanation on the wood conditioner and stain please look at my farmhouse table post(this was our first table built). 
Using a sponge brush apply Benite wood conditioner to all the surfaces of the table, top and bottom. Really coat everything! This is really going to help protect the table while outside. After applying it to all the surfaces wipe what little excess is left on the top with a rag. Let the conditioner dry for 24 hours.