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My beloved Char-Griller Patio Pro grill has seen better days. The grill itself is just fine — the cast iron grill plates and the barrel are still going strong after tons of grilling and two years of being outside. The wood table and handle, on the other hand, are just about shot and look awful. Being the cheap-ass I am, I remembered I have a scrap pile and a few tools. This is a fixable problem.

So I cut up some rough 1″ poplar I had lying around and sanded it a little — not enough to remove all the mill marks; that would take a joiner and I was feeling lazy — knocked the edges off the sides, and finished them with oil and shellac. Just to make things look about even, I cut a piece of 1 1/2″ poplar dowel and finished it the same way.

So for a few cents’ worth of stain and a little scrap, I extended the life of my grill another two years. That’s $60 saved and a nice grill I can continue to enjoy.

Patio Pro [Char-Griller]
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14 Responses to Refitting My Favorite Grill

  1. John says:

    I love my Char-Griller. I have the full size model that has a shelf on the front as well as the side. It is on my to-do list for the summer, replacing the wood.

  2. george says:

    i have a cg that will one day need new wood. i like what you did but ‘am afraid of varnishes and such due to hot things being put on the shelves. any thoughts on this ? what wood is good to use around grills and for the outside?

  3. William Burruss says:

    I took a weber from the dump, fashioned new wood shelves from the mahagony left over frommy deck project. I canabalized a turkey fryer and welded up and outdoor wok cooker. How do I post pics?

  4. Jim says:

    @George

    Cedar and redwood are good for outdoors. They age well enough that you can get away without a finish. A cheap easy finish is mineral oil. I use it periodically on my cutting boards. If possible, attach the wood from the bottom with flat or truss head wood screws. This will make a better appearance and prevent water from working down the fastener holes and into the tubing and accelerating the rusting process.

    Jim

  5. mark in folsom says:

    Another good outdoor wood choice is Ipe (pronounced “e-pay”). It’s a straight grained, knot free hardwood that is farm raised. It is naturally rot and insect resistant. Put in on my Weber and it looks great and doesn’t need any finish. About $2 /lf in 5/4 x 6 boards.

  6. Jim K. says:

    I replaced the wood on my Weber a few years back. Went with cedar for the wood since I had some scrap lying around that’d work and a pure tung oil finish (cut with a citrus thinner). Held up well and looked nice in my opinion. I suppose the only caution would be around folks with nut allergies to not place food directly on the wood (why I use a mineral oil and beeswax finish for cutting boards if I’m giving them away to others).

  7. Jim says:

    @mark in folsom

    Ipe and teak are both good high-end choices. I limited my initial comment to redwood and cedar due to availability and cost. The best score would be if you could get a couple ipe or teak cutoffs from a local deck builder. ….If it is worth the trouble.

    Additionally, you could use any of the engineered decking composites. They are readily available, prefinished, hold up well outdoors, easy to clean, and impervious to the absorption of food strains.

    Jim

  8. Chris says:

    @Jim: aren’t those engineered decking composites dramatically less heat-resistant than natural wood, though? For sideboards it might not be an issue, but for the handle, I bet it would be. Seems like you’d melt the plastic decking material pretty quickly.

    cl

  9. jeff says:

    @Chris if the grill is hot enough to heat the handle to a melting point of plastic wouldn’t it be too hot to grab even if it was wood?

  10. Sean O'Hara says:

    Welp, after the first grilling I can say that neither the tray or the handle have an issue. Each was cool to the touch during the entire grilling process 🙂

  11. Toolhearty says:

    I wonder how good ol’ Tung Oil would be for an outdoor finish. It would certainly be “food safe” as it was used to line tin cans years ago (possibly still is, dunno’).

  12. Jim says:

    @Chris,

    Composite vary, so the specifications will also vary. I was not considering it for the handle, since the decking size may not accommodate the size required for a handle. But, I am in agreement with Jeff, if the handle were to get to a temperature to melt plastic, it surely would be too hot to handle ungloved, which is a product liability lawsuit waiting to happen. Also, outdoor composite decking has to handle prolonged exposure to the likes of an Arizona summer day, so it must have some reasonable level of temperature tolerance.

    I do think a composite would retain more heat than wood; much like metal handled tool next to a wood handle tool in the sun would be hotter.

    Jim

  13. Chris says:

    @jeff: Not necessarily; depends (as Jim pointed out) on the plastic. But heat seems to accelerate the degradation of plastic, too.

    I dunno, I like long-lasting solutions but I think I’d stick with wood in this case. Just me, though.

    cl

  14. TR says:

    Cement board + ceramic tile. Adds weight, but looks great and weathers well.

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