How to Build a Picnic Table

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Wouldn't a picnic table make your backyard, patio or deck a more useful and fun space? Here's how to build one that is relatively inexpensive and long lasting.

Things You'll Need

  • Lumber
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Wood Screws
  • Wood screws
  • Brackets
  • Choose a 2x4 dimensional lumber or material to fit your style and budget. Options include redwood (traditional but costly); CCA treated lumber (made with common spruce, pine or fir and treated with cyanide salt to be insect and rot resistant); and a new product called Trex, a combination of recycled plastic products and cedar chips (expensive and heavy but maintenance free and long lasting).

  • Choose 14 pieces that are straight and true in 10-foot lengths.

  • Code your pieces with penciled on letters labels as they are cut to make them easy to identify.

  • Cut and mark them as follows:

  • A ' 2 pieces, 31 inches long (Top supports)

  • B ' 2 pieces, 64 inches long (Connectors)

  • C - 4 pieces, 30 inches long (Table Legs)

  • D ' 8 pieces, 15 and ½ inches (Bench legs)

  • E - 4 pieces, 12 inches long (Bench supports)

  • F ' 3 pieces, 33 inches long (Connectors)

  • G ' 2 pieces, 34 inches (Braces)

  • H ' 6 pieces, 60 inches long (Bench slats)

  • I ' 8 pieces, 72 inches long (Top slats)

  • Miter the ends of both 'A' pieces (Top supports) at 45 degree angles to give it matching under cuts on both ends.

  • Miter the ends of both 'G' pieces (Braces) at a 25 degree angle (These cuts will be made on the parallel instead of undercutting).

Assembling the Table

  • 1.) Assemble as follows using 2 an ½ inch long weatherized wood screws.

  • 2.) Fasten one 'D' piece (Bench leg) square and flush to each end of piece 'E' piece (Bench Support) so that they form a 'U' shape.

  • 3.) Repeat the above process four times. These structures form the bench supports.

  • 4.) Fasten one 'C' piece (Table leg) square and flush to each end of 'A' piece so that they again form a 'U' shape, only this time the 'C' piece should be held in from the end of the angled 'A' piece so that it attaches at the short point of the miter cuts.

  • 5.) Repeat above step again. These structures form the table top supports.

  • 6.) Attach one of the Table top support brackets to one of the 'B' pieces (Connector) so that the outside edge of each leg is 20 inches from the end of the connector.

  • 7.) Secure one bench support bracket at each end of the 'C' piece so that they are flush and square. You now have the two ends of the table constructed.

  • 8.) Stand the 'ends' up about 3 feet apart. (Help from an assistant at this point would be nice for a few minutes)

  • 9.) Attach 'F' pieces (Connector) between the uprights of each of the bench support brackets. The third connector goes from the center of one 'A' piece to the center of the other.

  • 10.) Make sure that the assembly is square and true before attaching the 'G' pieces from the center of each 'B' piece up to the center of the 'F' piece. The angled cuts made earlier should work as a guide for proper fit.

  • 11.) Place three 'H' pieces (Bench slats) on each of the bench bracket assemblies. Space them evenly and extend equal distance at each end, use screws to attach.

  • 12.) Lay all of the 'I' pieces out on the table top brackets. Space them evenly across the supports and extend equal distance at each end, attach with screws.

  • 13.) Finish table to suit your taste if necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Working with less weather resistant wood is an option but care must be take to apply a proper weatherproofing finish.

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