Make a copper grill table

For this project, all you need is some copper pipe and an old barbecue grill

By Catherine DohertyCatherine Doherty

191_DavidBagosy_table

Photo by David Bagosy

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We love copper pipe at our cottage. We use it for curtain rods, to hang overhead lamps, and as a towel rack in the bathroom. After replacing our kitchen plumbing, we found ourselves once again with some extra lengths of copper pipe. Inspired by a project in the book Hardware Style, by Marthe Le Van, we paired the versatile material with an old barbecue grill we dragged from the dump. Our plan was to create an outdoor table that can be easily carted off to the beach or folded away. This simple table meets those needs and gets better-looking as it is exposed to the elements.

Materials

  • Barbecue grill
  • 12′ of ½”-dia. copper pipe
  • 8 copper elbows
  • 2 #10 x 1½” machine screws with nylon-insert stop nuts
  • Pipe cutter
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Epoxy, or flux and solder
  • Medium steel wool

 

Option A (folding table):

4 gripper clips, 3/8″- to 5/8″- size (clips come equipped with ¾” bolts and nuts)

4 1″ fender washers

Option B (secured table):

4 ¾” copper-tube clamps (U-shaped brackets used to secure pipes to joists)

4 #10 x ½” machine screws with nylon-insert stop nuts

Step 1

You can find old barbecue grills just about anywhere these days, as people upgrade to bigger and better. If you don’t have any copper pipe lying around, check at a hardware store.

Step 2

Cut four pieces of copper pipe to the desired length for the legs (ours are 24″), using a pipe cutter. Measure and cut four more pieces to the width of the grill.

Step 3

Drill a 3⁄16″ hole across the diameter of each leg pipe at the mid-point. >>

Step 4

Run one of the 1½” screws through two pieces of copper pipe, then put a nylon-insert stop nut on the end of the screw. Repeat this step with the other two pieces of pipe.

step 5

Dry fit the copper elbows onto the leg pipes. Connect the shorter pipes to make two rectangles. Adjust the elbows so the crossed legs sit flush and square on the ground. Use epoxy glue inside the elbows or a drop of solder to secure the pieces together.

Step 6

Option A: (secure the grill to allow for a folding table)

You usually see gripper clips holding brooms against walls, but they also work here to hold the table together when it’s in use. Snap the clips onto the table frame and secure them to the grill, using the supplied nuts and bolts with the fender washers, one near each corner.

Option B: (secure the grill for a non-folding table):

Place the grill on top of the copper-pipe table base. Using the copper-tube clamps, bend the clamps over one grill cross-bar, then down and around the copper pipe. Thread a ½” screw and nut through to secure. Repeat this step at each corner of the grill.

Tips:

  • The copper pipes are unstable until secured, so get help when attaching the grill top to the copper-pipe base.
  • Use a round grill instead of a rectangular one for a different look.
  • For a cleaner look, use steel wool to polish the copper pipe. Protect it with a coat of spray polyurethane.

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