Wooden tables look great both indoors and out. Outdoors, they provide a focal point for entertaining family and friends. Indoors, they give an informal setting for special occasions or daily use as the family table. While the one described here is the more traditional picnic table, you can choose to use an exotic wood such as cherry or bird's-eye maple, and transform the traditional into distinctive.
Things You'll Need
- Three pieces of 2-by-4-by-48-inch lumber
- Five pieces of 2-by-6-by-60-inch lumber
- Four bar clamps, each 48 inches long
- Wood glue
- Two pieces of 2-by-6-by-30-inch lumber
- Electric miter saw
- Variable-speed drill
- Countersink drill bit
- Philips-head screw tip
- 3-inch deck screws
- Four pieces of 4-by-4-by-36-inch lumber
- Eight pieces of 2-by-4-by-60-inch lumber
- Framing square
- Six pieces of 2-by-4-by-14-inch lumber
- 12 pieces of 2-by-4-by-18-inch lumber
- 1/16-inch drill bit
- 2½-inch deck screws
- Four pieces of 2-by-4-by-48-inch lumber
- Belt sander
Put the 48-inch lumber on the worktable and set the bar clamps on them crossways. Open them enough to clamp the 2-by-6's together.
Place the 60-inch lumber on the clamps. Apply glue to one edge and set another one against it. Repeat this until all five are on the clamps.
Tighten the clamps making sure the glue oozes out all the way up and down the joints. Clean up the excess glue with a damp cloth, then rinse all glue from the cloth. Allow the glue to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Remove the clamps after the glue is dry. Sand the tabletop with a belt sander. Next, turn it upside down and mark it 6 inches from the ends.
Set the electric miter saw on a 22½-degree angle. Place the 30-inch lumber on the worktable. Measure from one of the long edges and make a mark at 2 inches. Cut it with the electric miter saw starting at the 2-inch mark. Next, drill a countersink hole about halfway up the angle. Make the hole two inches deep. Repeat this on the other end and then on the other 30-inch piece of lumber.
Apply glue to the bottom edge of 30-inch lumber and place them on the marks made in Step 4. Secure them to the table with the 3-inch deck screws. Next, apply glue to one end of the 4-by-4-by-36 inch pieces. Place them at the point where the 22 ½-degree angle stops. Secure it to the 30-inch cross member secured to the tabletop in Step 5. Repeat this with the other three 4-by-4s.
Place the eight pieces of 2-by-4-by-60-inch lumber on the worktable. Separate them into two sets of four. Measure in from the ends, and make a mark at 6 inches. Repeat this from the opposite end and then make a mark in the center. Place the framing square on the marks and draw a line across the width of the 2-by-4s. Place an X on the inside of the lines on the ends and one side of the line in the center.
Drill pilot holes through the lumber with the 1/16-inch drill bit. Next, turn the pieces over and drill a countersink hole a half-inch deep on each of the pilot holes.
Place the six pieces of 2-by-4-by-14-inch lumber on the worktable. These are the cross members for the bench. Apply glue to one of the long edges, place the 60-inch pieces on them so that the 14-inch pieces are on the lines drawn in Step 2. Secure the pieces to one another with the 3-inch deck screws. Repeat this process until the bench tops are completed.
Place the 12 pieces of 2-by-4-by-18-inch lumber on the worktable. Apply glue to the ends and the side of each piece where they meet the 14-inch cross-members from Step 3. Secure them together through the 18-inch piece into the 14-inch cross member with the 2½-inch deck screws.
Place the 2-by-4-by-48-inch lumber on the worktable. Turn the bench assembly on its side and place one of the 48-inch pieces halfway up the 18-inch piece. Mark its location so you can remove it, apply glue and replace it. Secure it with the 2½-inch deck screws. Repeat this until all four of the 48-inch pieces are installed to the benches.
Tips & Warnings
- Clean excess glue immediately with a damp cloth.
- For added strength, apply glue between the 2-by-4s that make up the bench seat.
- Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children.
- Do not paint or stain the table and benches without proper ventilation.
- Photo Credit Image by Michael Straessle
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