This durable construction material is ideal for building an outdoor trolley.
Concrete is becoming more and more popular as a domestic finish, with wet-look floors, benchtops and other surfaces addinga sleek look to modern interiors.
The cool, industrial grey of this reinforced concrete bench is warmed by the treated pine frame. The storage shelf is made from cypress decking, and it has castors for manoeuvrability.
Install the benchtop
To make the benchtop, you need eight 20kg bags of concrete. Pour concrete into the formwork and let it cure, then remove the screws and tap the side boards away with a rubber mallet.
Gently tap the side to break the bond with the plywood. Get at least two people to help you turn it over lengthways, using plywood to support the top along its length or it will crack.
Lift the slab into position, apply construction adhesive generously to the frame and slide on the benchtop. Ensure the overhangs are even, then let the adhesive cure for 24 hours.
Smoothing the surface
Using film-faced plywood for the formwork will result in a very flat and smooth benchtop. To iron out any imperfections, apply a skim coat of cement slurry and smooth the surface with a steel float.
When the benchtop has fully cured, apply masonry sealer to make it resistant to water and staining.
To build the formwork for the benchtop, use 40mm x 8g screws to attach lengths of 140 x 19mm DAR pine to a 2400 x 600 x 17mm sheet of film-faced plywood. Position the ends between the sides and secure the butt joints with screws.
Use bolt cutters or an angle grinder to cut reinforcing mesh to fit in the formwork, raising it on bar chairs so it is embedded with an equal thickness of concrete on both sides. Use a caulking gun to apply silicone sealant in the corners of the formwor
Empty the concrete intoa wheelbarrow and add enough water to make a wet mix that has the same consistency as mud. Pour the concrete into the formwork to 50mm deep and level with a timber offcut, then smooth the surface carefully using a steel float.
Build the three leg frames. Clamp the trimmers against the ends of each set of legs flush with the outside, securing with adhesive and 125mm x 14g bugle screws. TIP Don’t centre the trimmers on the centre leg frame as it will force the rail bolts too close to the edge of the legs.
Clamp the rails to the leg frames and drill clearance holes for 150mm x M8 galvanised cuphead bolts, securing with a socket wrench. Position the shelf slats on the base rails, spacing them with 2.5mm gaps, and secure with 40mm x 8g screws.
Turn the bench upside down and on the end of each leg, drill pilot holes and secure the castors with the supplied screws. Turn the frame the right way up, remove the formwork from the benchtop and secure it using construction adhesive.