How to Build a Bistro Table

A bistro table.
  • 3-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 40-100
What You'll Need
Screwdriver, either flat edge or Phillips
Bistro table kit
Sanding block
#180 fine-grit sand paper
Tack cloth
Stain and varnish or polyurethane
3-inch sponge brushes

From classic to vintage and casual to contemporary, choosing a bistro table to fit your style is half of the battle. Once you've decided on a style, you will need to know if the table will be used for indoor or outdoor use and if it will be constructed from cast aluminum, wicker, or a variety of hard woods. This article deals with kits and construction, which is relatively easy.

Step 1 - Inspect

Thoroughly inspect the contents of your kit before you dispose of any packing material or the box it came in. There should be a list of materials included in the kit, which should be labeled or numbered to coincide with the packing list. A diagram should also be included. Compare your parts to the list to make sure nothing is missing.

Your working area should be large enough so that you can spread out all of your materials. By using an old sheet or blanket, the materials and other small parts can easily be spotted. Be sure to keep materials and tools away from pets and small children.

Step 2 - Begin Constructing

Locate the mounting plate and insert the threaded rod. Place the column over the rod, being careful to center this column straight onto the plate.

Find the lock washer, nut, and washer and tighten them together, by turning it clockwise. This will prevent your table from becoming wobbly from average use and occasional re-positioning.

Now it is time to attach the base onto the column. The threaded rod goes through the base unit. Secure the lock in place by lifting the washer and turning it clockwise to ensure secure fastening.

Now place the table top-side down on a flat surface. You should see eight holes that have been predrilled. Center the base on the top and attach each screw, making sure that the legs are parallel with your table's edge, or it will not be level. You can use your level to be sure, but place the table on a hard, flat surface to check.

    Step 3 - Finish Your Table

    Attach your sandpaper to the block by trimming to size. Insert one end of paper into the slit, fold over tightly and secure it to the other side. Lightly sand the tabletop, following the grain until smooth to the touch. Using your tack cloth, remove residue. Repeat until desired smoothness is reached. Apply stain according to the manufacturer's directions. Let dry thoroughly overnight. Apply varnish or polyurethane as directed. Two to three coats with very light sanding in between will give your tabletop a beautiful sheen that will last for many years.

    Even when deciding to paint your table, light sanding is recommended to remove any scars that could be revealed once a coat of paint is applied. Enjoy your new bistro table.