A fun project that can be enjoyable and practical is constructing a picnic table. This simple, but robust picnic table can seat six adults and will be enjoyed for years to come.
- 10 pieces of 2 inch (thick) x 4 inch (wide) x 6 ft (long) timber, called two by four.
- 8 pieces of 1 inch (thick) x 4 inch (wide) x 6 ft (long) timber, called one by four.
- 4 x 5/16-18 x 4 inch carriage bolts and nuts with washers
- 1-1/2 inch brass wood screws
- 2-1/2 inch brass wood screws
Time needed: 3 hours.
Make the Table
- Cut the Legs
Select the 2 x 4 timber. Cut 4 legs to give height of 30-3/4 inches with angles of 22.5 degrees at each end as shown above. The actual length will be longer than 30-3/4 inches. Laying the pieces on a floor and marking the dimensions will help.
- A-Frame Braces
Select the 2 x 4 timber. Cut 2 top A-frame braces at 30-1/2 inches long with angles of 22.5 degrees at each end as shown.
- Lower Seat Braces
As in pic A, select 2 x 4 timber and cut 2 lower seat cross braces at 54-1/4 inch long with square ends.
- Assemble A-Frames
Assemble the two A Frames as per the dimensions as shown in pic A. Do this by laying all components on a flat floor and ensuring that all dimensions are correct. Use two 3 inch screws or 3 inch galvanized nails to fix all timber in place at each crossing point. The nails or screws must not be put in the center at each crossing point. A bolt will go in each center position.
- Drill Holes
Drill four 1 inch holes 1/2 inch deep using a 1 inch spade bit. This allows the nuts to be countersunk. In the center of these holes, drill a hole through both timber sections using an 5/16 bit.
- Bolt A-Frames
Put an 5/16-18 x 4 inch carriage bolt through the hole and with washers and bolts, secure each point. Do the same to the other A Frame.
- Attach Seats
Select 2 x 4 timber that is 6 foot long for the bench boards. Using 3 inch brass wood screws, attach two of these lengths on each side of the protruding lower support brace of the A Frames to form the bench seating.
- Countersink Screw Holes
Countersink all screw holes. Make sure that the lengths protrude 8 inches beyond the support as shown on each side. A ±1/2 inch gap should be between the two boards.
- Add Table
Carefully stand the table on its legs. Select 8 pieces of 1 x 4 inch wide boards and using 1-1/2 inch brass wood screws, attach these boards to the top brace of the A frame to form the table top surface. Countersink all screw holes. The boards must protrude 8 inches on each side of the top brace as shown above. Use the square to make sure the top boards are square to the top brace. Note that the outside boards will protrude 1/2 inch beyond the edges of the top brace.
- Brace Table Top
From the 2 inch material, cut a single table top underside brace 31-1/2 inches long with 22.5 degree angles on each end. Position and hold this brace in the center of the table top using clamps. Fix it in position using 1-1/2 inch brass wood screws, screwed through from the top surface. One screw per board. Countersink all holes.
- Brace Seats
Turn the table over. Cut two seat braces from the 2 x 4 inch material, 8 inches long. Position and clamp these braces in the center of each seat and then fix them in position using 2-1/2 inch brass wood screws from the underside. Countersink all holes.
- Cut Angled Braces
From the 2 x 4 inch material, cut two bottom angle braces to 31 inches as shown. Cut two angles at 28 degrees at each end. The distance between the two short corners should be 27-1/2 inches. On each end tip of the angle cut, remove 1/2 inch of the material as shown, cut 90 degrees to the angle face.
- Attach Angled Braces
Fix these angled and notched angle braces to the underside of the table as under shown. The brace fits between the A frame bottom brace and the center brace under the table top. Fix it in place using 2-1/2 inch brass wood screws.
- Finish Table
The picnic bench table is now complete. After sanding and filling all holes, apply a primer and paint to a color of your choice.
Take a seat, you’ve earned it.
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