LESLIE: Ann in Virginia, you’re on the line. What can we do for you?
ANN: Hi, I have a patio table that used to have a glass top on it. It’s a six-sided table. And a stone from the lawn mower broke the top.
TOM: Oh, no.
ANN: And I wanted to know if you had any suggestions about what I might be able to fashion a new top for it from.
TOM: Well, do you want it to be clear?
ANN: It doesn’t necessarily have to be. The only thing I had been able to come up with was to try to take two pieces of plexiglass and, you know, it has a hole in the middle for an umbrella.
LESLIE: What is the widest part of the table? Is it over four feet?
ANN: Yes. More like four-and-a-half feet.
TOM: Because, you know, you could use Lexan for this or plexiglass.
TOM: You could cut it to fit. But the sheets that are standardly available are only four feet wide. You’d have to special order something that was bigger than that. And it’s not hard to cut this stuff. I’ve generally used a plywood blade to do that. If you buy a blade for your circular saw or your table saw – depending on what tool you’re using – at, you know, The Home Depot or a place like that, you would want to buy the kind of blade that’s – it’s recommended for plywood. It has a lot of very tiny teeth.
TOM: If you use the regular woodcutting circular saw blades, they tend to chip the plastic a lot.
LESLIE: And also, as you’re cutting the plexiglass or the Lexan – they’re both pretty much the same product, just different brands – there’s a lot of almost like spray off of the plexi as you’re cutting it. And it can be kind of hot and it can kind of hurt a little bit. So go slowly. You know, don’t rush through it.
Also, you’re probably best to make a template, out of paper, of your table. Because it’s a hexagon – it’s an odd shape – some of the, you know, angles might be a little off. So if you’ve got a template, it would be really easy to duplicate a new top. And if you’re going to go with plexi or Lexan, don’t go with anything thinner than 3/8 of an inch; otherwise, you’re going to get bowing. So you want to go with something thicker.
In New York, we have a place called Industrial Plastics. I’m sure you can find a plastic supplier in your area who could actually cut the piece for you and offer you, you know, a variety of thicknesses, colors. But if not, you can find some at The Home Depot. Some stores cut it; some stores don’t. But because of the specialized shape, you might have to do it yourself; unless you find a specialized supplier.
TOM: And Ann, one more thing. When you – when you buy the plexiglass, it’s going to be covered with a thin protective layer of plastic or paper on both sides. Do not remove that until the very, very last step; because you’ll scratch it up as you’re moving it through the machinery. Leave the protective paper on it until you’re all done and this way, the last thing you do is pull it out and it’ll be perfectly clean and perfectly clear and not scratched.
LESLIE: Oh, and one more thing. (chuckling) Sorry. Make sure when you clean the plexi or the Lexan, that you don’t use regular glass cleaner. Using a regular glass cleaner on a plastic product like that, could cause fogging which you’ll never, ever be able to get rid of. So make sure you get a specialized plastic cleanser and you won’t have any of that problem.
ANN: Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.