3 Girls & A Woodworker #14: Picnic Table Dilemma

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Blog entry by John_G posted 07-09-2013 05:30 PM 1462 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: Larger Projects vs. Smaller Projects Part 14 of 3 Girls & A Woodworker series no next part

So the Mrs has asked me to build a picnic table now. I did some searching online and founf this one and she agreed that it’s perfect.

So like most young woodworkers when it comes to choosing the wood to use it goes right olong with how much money to spend. The plans call for approx 100lin ft of 1-1/2” x 8” material. So initially we thought Cedar, then white oak,if i got rough 8/4 and planed it all down out price tag for this was well over 500.00 bucks. This was way out of the park for waht we wanted to spend so we started throwing around ideas of other lumber. Using pressure treated or even stock 2x pine and sealing it. i know everyone is probably cringing at the thought of non treat pine outside year round. What are everyone’s thoughts on this. I know we’d all like to use some perfect hardwood for every project but sometimes the wallet just doesn’t support it. What if i did yo ustandard 2×8’s and planed them down nice and then sealed every piece with a deck sealer. What if i got pressure treated, could i even plne that luimber so it was flat and square? I wish i had an endless supply of lumber, lol…. don’t we all.

Thanks everyone
John G.

-- John Gray

5 comments so far

View chrisstef's profile


17425 posts in 3032 days

#1 posted 07-09-2013 05:48 PM

Pressure treated would be just fine on an outdoor picnic table project. You could even use decking material for the seating area to save a few bucks. Typically it comes in at 5/4.

Ive used untreated pine for a few Adirondack chairs as well. They’ve held up in the New England climate going on 4 years now with an outdoor cedar stain on them. They’ve even fooled a few people.

Take a look in your area and see if there’s any cypress to be had. Its very much like cedar in its rot resistant properties.

Just make sure to use stainless hardware or itll all rust on ya.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2462 days

#2 posted 07-09-2013 10:44 PM

Hi John!

Pressure treated or pine with deck sealer would be fine. Pine untreated won’t last as long, but can be used.

Your standard 2×8’s are going to be around 1-1/2×7-1/2 actual size. If the plans call for 1-1/2×8 actual size, just use 2×10’s and rip off the extra, No planing needed. Rout or sand the sharp edges and you’ll be fine. Make sure you use galvanized or stainless steel hardware.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View greg's profile


88 posts in 3221 days

#3 posted 07-09-2013 11:04 PM

I built one something like it back a while easy to build and heavy.I used pressure treated pine and australian timber oil. still holding strong.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3165 posts in 3134 days

#4 posted 07-10-2013 01:17 AM

Use breathing protection and keep your family away from the work if you are using treated lumber. The treatment is poison.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View John_G's profile


165 posts in 2717 days

#5 posted 07-10-2013 07:28 PM

Thanks everyone, i feel much better about using standard lumber now knowing that others have done it successfully. I’m leaning more toward the untreated mainly becuase of the shrinkage factor with the treated lumber. There are a bunch of half lap joints in this and i can see the PT shrinking a lot and things no longer fitting together well.

Thanks again everyone.

-- John Gray

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