September is Heritage Month and it’s National Braai Day. What better time to be outdoors busy with South Africa’s national pastime, especially with this easy-to-make braai stand…
Words: Stephen Smith
Photographs: Redman Media
- 4 x 800mm lengths of 50mm x 50mm x 3mm angle iron (get the hardware shop to cut these to length for you)
- 220-grit sandpaper
- Steel wool
- Four steel castors (with a 60mm x 60mm base, and a total height of 70mm. We used two with brakes and two without)
- Spray paint and metal primer
- Wood sealant (ideally use a food-safe sealant if you’re going to cut food on it.)
- About 126 x 4mm x 50mm cut screws
Timber cutting list
We used recycled Baltic pine (cheap and environmentally friendly) for the timber elements of this stand, but you can use just about any wood of similar dimensions. The timber supplier planed and cut the timber for us.
- 6 x 450mm x 100mm x 30mm
- 6 x 390mm x 100mm x 30mm
- 6 x 690mm x 100mm x 30mm
- 4 x 900mm x 150mm x 30mm
- 6 x 750mm x 150mm x 30mm
Cordless drill/screwdriver; screwdriver bit; sander, 4mm metal drill bit, 8mm metal drill bit, 3mm wood bit
We used this combination of dimensions to make the braai table 900mm high and 600mm deep, to match the height and depth of the average kitchen counter. This means that it could be used effectively in the kitchen, as a portable cutting surface or butcher’s block.
This table isn’t designed to stand outside in the weather. If you plan on leaving it exposed, use a more robust wood like saligna. Tinted sealants preserve wood for longer than clear ones, by blocking out more of the sun’s UV rays.
- Cost: About R1200 but if you use other timber this will obviously affect the price.
- Difficulty: 3 out of 5
- Time: A day, plus a few minutes a day for 3 days for sealing. An assistant is not necessary, but definitely helps.
The first step is to make the three rectangular wooden boxes. Start by centering the 390mm pieces of wood on the 450mm pieces, so that there is a 30mm space on either end, and screw the shorter piece to the longer piece. Now join two of these together with two 690mm lengths, to form rectangles that will measure 750mm x 450mm. Before screwing, drill pilot holes with the 3mm drill bit to prevent splitting.
Screw three 750mm planks on top of each of two of the boxes, making sure the edges are all flush. On the third box you need to make a top with the four 900mm planks. The trick here is to space the four planks correctly, so that there is an overhang of 75 mm on each side. I did this by measuring 75mm in from one of the long sides. I lined up one plank with that. I then measured 75mm from one end and lined up the plank with that too. Drill pilot holes and screw this first plank into position. Now all you need to do is line up the other planks with this first one and screw them to the box.
Gently round the edges of all three rectangles so that they fit snugly into the curved interior of the angle iron. I used a wood rasp and then sandpaper for this job. Then sand the boxes, and especially the tops. Don’t cut corners on this step – as my Uncle Rick used to say, “Woodwork is all about the finishing.” Use either an orbital sander or sand by hand, using 220 grit paper or finer. Seal the wood with a wood sealer of your choice, such as Rystix Armafloor, and allow it to dry. Do a minimum of two coats.
The next step is to drill holes in the angle iron, using the 4mm bit. The holes need to line up with the wooden boxes. One box will be flush with the bottom of the angle iron legs, and the box with the overhang will go at the top of the legs, with the legs butting up against the tabletop. The third box will go between the other two boxes. Drill the holes 25mm in from the long edges of the angle iron. Now use a 8mm drill bit and partially drill into the 4mm holes, to countersink the screwheads.
Sand the angle iron to remove any loose metal, metal filings or rust, then wipe clean. Steel wool is a good material to use for cleaning metal, or use very fine sandpaper, like 400 grit. Spray with primer and two or three coats of paint, allowing the paint to dry between coats.
Lay the three wooden boxes on their sides, evenly spaced. Make sure the shelves are level by measuring repeatedly that that three shelves are the same distance from each other at all four corners. Place a piece of angle iron on the edge of the three boxes and screw it into position, drilling pilot holes first. Repeat with the other three corners.
Turn the table upside down, with its legs in the air. Place it on newspaper or a blanket or something similar, to prevent your tabletop from being damaged or marked. Screw a castor onto each corner of the bottom box. Because we used 30mm wood, the 60mm bases of castors should fit perfectly.
Screw some door hooks into the table to hang braai implements from. A wooden bar for a dishcloth might also be useful, but be creative in primping your table.
Have a braai….
Cool tip: Instead of using wood filler to fill small holes or cracks in wood, mix sawdust with wood glue and use this. It dries to the same colour as the wood you’re using and is easy to sand and seal. It’s also cheap and you don’t waste the rest of the bottle of wood filler.