This step by step article is about how to build a wooden picnic table. In this article we show you basic plans, as any amateur handyman could get the job done, just with common tools and basic woodworking techniques. If you like to spend time in your garden and you need a rustic table, we recommend you to follow the step by step instructions and to build it in a weekend. If you have several 2×4 slats from other projects and common power tools, you can get the job done even quicker, in just several hours. Nevertheless, make sure you ask a friend to assist you during the construction process, as an extra pair of hands would be very useful.
Work with great care and attention, if you want to obtain a neat look. In addition, after designing the table, according to your needs, you should write down all the materials needed for this project. Afterwards, go to several lumberyards and ask an estimate for the materials (lumber designed for outdoor use, such as: cedar, pine, redwood or pressure treated). Choose the best offer in terms of quality and price, after you examine every board. As a general rule, the slats have to be perfectly straight and without any other visible flaws.
Align all the components at both ends, before locking them together with wood screws. Whenever is required, plumb the elements with a spirit level and lock them with several C-clamps. In addition, use a drill machinery to make pilot holes before inserting the galvanized screws, otherwise the wood might split.
How to build a wooden picnic table
- A – 4 pieces of 2×4 lumber – 38″ long LEGS
- B – 2 pieces of 2×4 lumber – 64″ long BRACES
- C – 5 pieces of 2×4 lumber – 30″ long SUPPORTS
- D – 2 pieces of 2×4 lumber – 33 3/4″ long BRACES
- E – 14 pieces of 2×4 lumber – 72″ long SLATS
- Safety gloves, glasses
- Miter saw, jig saw
- Chalk line, tape measure, spirit level, carpentry pencil
- Drill machinery and drill bits
- Router and 1/4 bit
- Smooth the edges of the wooden boards, with a router
- Pre-drill holes in the wooden components, before driving in the screws
- Countersink the head of the screws
- Don’t use lumber that is likely to crack or shrink
- Don’t over-tighten the screws to prevent the wood from splitting
- One day
Building a wood picnic table
First of all, you need to build the legs and to lock them together with several braces. Use 2×4 lumber to build the components, as in the image. Cut the ends of the legs at 30º, using 40” long slats. Drill pilot holes and join the components with 3 1/2” carriage bolts.
Work on the ground, making sure the surface is perfectly level. Both sides of the table has to be equal, in order to obtain a professional result.
After you have built the side of the picnic table, you should attach the wooden counter-top. In order to get the job done like a pro, we recommend you to build the wooden top on the ground, and then to attach it to the side legs.
Smart tip: Don’t forget to plumb the sides of the table with a spirit level, otherwise you might not be satisfied with the result. Drill pilot holes and insert the decking screws into place.
After you have attached the top slats, we recommend you to lock all the components together into a rigid structure, by installing galvanized wood screws. In order to obtain a neat look, we recommend you to miter cut both ends of the braces, at 26º.
Smart tip: Pre-drill several holes and insert the screws at angles. In this manner, you will build a durable table with a nice appearance.
The next step of the woodworking project is to install the seat slats. Therefore, first you have to cut the 2×4 boards at the right size. Afterwards, align them at both hands and drill several pilot holes, at least 1/2” from the edges.
Smart tip: Place the slats equally spaced, by placing a nail or a piece of wood between them. In this manner, all the gaps will be consistent and the look symmetrical.
After you have assembled all the components of the picnic bench, you need to pay attention to the finishing touches. Fill the head of the screws and the gaps with wood putty. Let the compound to dry out for several days, before sanding the surface with medium-grit sandpaper.
Smart tip: Don’t forget to apply several coats of paint or stain, in order to protect the wooden surface from water damage or decay.
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