A picnic table is a project that is relatively easy and
straight forward to build. You can purchase all of the materials for it
and build it in a single day. By following
these simple instructions you can build a picnic table that
will provide many years of service.
The picnic table detailed
in these plans is a fairly large one, 28"
wide (table top)
and 8' long. It has two
benches attached to the
The entire unit is very stable and strong. Of course
you can modify these
meet your individual
The choice of lumber to be
used is up to you. I think pressure treated
pine works fine, but if
you want you can use redwood (and of course
pay a premium price).
I recommend using eight 2x4
planks for the top. You can use five 2x6's
but the smaller width boards will tend to "cup" less.
Nail the seat
and top boards with
the grain as shown in the picture below. This
will ensure they cup with
the concave face down, if they cup at all.
Here is a list of the materials that you will need:
- Twelve 2x4's, 8 ft long
- Four 2x6's, 8 ft long (if you can bring home 10ft boards buy
one 10 footer and two 8's)
- Two 2x10's, 8 ft long
- Sixteen 3" x 3/8" galvanized carriage bolts plus a set of
washers and nuts for each bolt.
- One box of 16d galvanized twisted nails
Tools required in order to build the table:
- Tape Measure (12' recommended)
- Claw Hammer
- Power Drill with 3/8" bit and 3/4" spade bit
- Carpenters Hand Saw or Circular Saw
Build the top...
First, cut a 2x4 into three pieces, each
being 26" long for the
boards. Nail the 8 top boards to the three cross boards. Leave 1"
overhang on each side. Attach one cross board in the middle
(at the 4 ft
mark) and the other two 4" from the ends.
Cut the legs...All four legs are cut the same way
using two of the
2x6's. Each leg should
long on each side and have an
angle of 60 degrees cut at the top
bottom ends. To get a 60 degree angle you can
use a combination
square or a protractor.
Next, cut each of the remaining 2x6's to a 5 ft length for the seat stretchers.
(If you bought the 10' plank you can just cut it in half).
Putting the table together...Place the table top upside
down on the ground. Mount the legs to
outer cross boards.
The legs attach to the inside of the cross boards,
inches in from the
outside of the top. Drill holes and bolt the legs
to the cross boards using two bolts for each leg.
Using the ¾ inch
bit, countersink the holes for the
nuts and washers. Then, using the 3/8 inch bit,
the rest of the way through. The nuts
go on the
inside of the legs. Since the bolts are only
as wide as the wood,
there will be no bolt sticking
hit with your knee.
After attaching all four legs to the top, attach the
seat stretchers. They should be positioned so that
the seat will sit on them 17 inches above the ground.
(refer to the photo below). Now bolt the stretchers
to the legs, again using 2 bolts for each leg and
countersinking the nuts and washers on the inside
of the legs.
While the table is still upside down, attach the diagonal braces
which you will cut from a 2x4. They
should be cut with approximately
a 17 degree angle and roughly 44 inches per side (cut these to fit).
Square the legs with the top so that the braces
will hold them square.
Place the braces offset from each other so you will be able to nail into
each of them from opposite sides of the center cross board. Also nail
them into the seat stretchers so that the length will hold the legs
Now turn the table right side up and attach two 2x4's between the
seat stretchers with nails. Nail the two 2x10 seats planks in place
of the seat
stretchers and the 2x4 seat supports. Before nailing
them in place, measure
the distances between the stretchers to ensure
that the table is
Finishing Up...You can leave the table with no finish and it will weather
to a light gray,
or you can apply a sealer, stain or paint if you so desire. Your picnic
table is now finished and ready to supply years of beauty and enjoyment
to your lawn and garden! You can place it under a nice shade tree where
you can sit and enjoy watching the butterflies and birds.