GREAT INVENTIONS

Multi-purpose leisure spot

By Pat Lynch

A built-in table umbrella conceals the evening firepit

Multi-purpose leisure spot

Photo by Tom Tennison

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It rose from the ashes of Tom Tennison’s lakeside firepit, an idea born of aesthetics and the need to lounge in the shade. “We spend a lot of time down on the point,” says Tennison of his somewhat ironically named Shadow Lake getaway. “It’s our summer entertainment area, but the sun would just bake us. It’s also where we’ve got our firepit, which looks terrible in the daylight.”

Determined to disguise the pit while creating an appealing, shaded seating area, Tennison designed an easy-to-move umbrella-table combination.

Before building the frame, which he constructed from pressure-treated 2 x 6s and

2 x 4s clad in 1 x 6 fence boards, Tennison recognized the need to include a support system for a built-in table umbrella. So he added a 2 x 6 cross support to the base of the table frame, upon which the housing for the umbrella pipe, a 11⁄4″ flange and 1″ pipe combination, could be mounted. The tabletop, which sits 26″ high, is made out of the same 1 x 6 fence boards as the frame cladding and is a separate piece altogether, which means that the heavy-duty table, once disassembled, can be moved by a single person. With the umbrella centred in the table, the firepit disappears from view.

“Now we can go down in the afternoon and spend time in the shade. Then I take the table off the pit at night and we have a wonderful place for a fire.”


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