Picnic table

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Project by Napaman posted 07-03-2007 05:52 PM 2102 views 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After seeing “Splinter’s beautiful picnic table post last week this one is almost funny—-but I am really glad I made this…I learned some big things—-and now we have a huge table on our patio right now that can seat 10 people…and in Napa the evenings are PERFECT for outdoor dining much of the year…so we will use it a lot…

1) First time using circular saw (all the cuts were done before I got my Shopsmith).
2) first time using my shopsmith—-to drill and bore holes.
3) first time building any furniture—and from a plan in a magazine.
4) First time using belt sander—-the boards are huge and we rough when I bought them—-could use a planer! But I liked my new belt sander—worked well…

1) Biggy—-come ask you guys what wood to buy!!! I made this from plan in a magazine for short term outdoor projects…and I followed the plan too closely by just going in and buying all the stuff on the shopping list—-including the type of wood—-Douglass fir…which I knew was a mistake after I bought the wood…then went inside and the guy helped me buy the hardware and asked what I was making—then he said…”Oh so you plan to paint it?”

Woops…I realized Doug Fir would not be the best…So my question to all of you experts is:

Can I finish this with a clear finish and allow it to last??? I really like the wood color and grain…or do i need to just paint it…which I really wouldnt mind if it significantly increases durability…

Ok…any suggestions would be greatful because it is not finished right now…


-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

16 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4124 days

#1 posted 07-03-2007 05:56 PM

seating 10… very cool !!!
Now THAT”s a picnic table!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4125 days

#2 posted 07-03-2007 05:58 PM

Spar varnish perhaps? I wonder if the waterseals they use for decks would also work as well?

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4274 days

#3 posted 07-03-2007 06:05 PM

Fine looking picnic table! I believe the best protection would be paint. In fact, one of the WW mags had an article on this fact. Any type of sealer, even those with UV protection will need to be redone anually. I noticed that on the boards for your table top that you alternated the grain on the first two and didn’t on the third. I don’t know if it matters since your boards aren’t touching, but if the boards are butted together it is usually suggested to alternate the grain so that warpping will be minimal.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4050 days

#4 posted 07-03-2007 06:16 PM

Nothing funny here…nice table! I like the taper on the legs.

Install some Cedar/Redwood/PT blocks at the bottom of the legs to get them off the ground. You’ll get rot there 1st if you don’t. I would simply plan on putting on a coat of oil every year. I use Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil for most of my outside projects. You should get a pigmented one (iron oxide) for some UV protection.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4041 days

#5 posted 07-03-2007 06:19 PM

I heard “marine varnish” or what they use around boats/docks? And Oscorner…the board are not butted together…and LOL—-the alternating of the boards was not even a thought…but now I just learned something!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Greg Mitchell's profile

Greg Mitchell

1381 posts in 4032 days

#6 posted 07-04-2007 12:53 AM

Great looking picnic table. You should be able to enjoy it for years to come no matter what finish you use. Great job!

-- Greg Mitchell--Lowell,

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4102 days

#7 posted 07-04-2007 07:39 AM

Matt -

Very noice table! I like the finish details and the tapered legs.


View David's profile


1969 posts in 4102 days

#8 posted 07-04-2007 07:46 AM

Matt -

Very nice table! I like the finish details and the tapered legs. No additional comments to add from the above regarding finish – I use a penetrating oil with UV protection for most of my outdoor projects.

Bob has a great point about adding some protection blocks on the end grain of the table legs where any rot will first begin.


View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4210 days

#9 posted 07-04-2007 11:22 AM

No matter what you use plan on doing it every year and it will last forever. Beautiful table and worth the trouble of coating it yearly. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4000 days

#10 posted 07-04-2007 03:42 PM


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Shawn's profile


225 posts in 4117 days

#11 posted 07-05-2007 01:26 AM

Napa…my one regret was turning down that job in Napa…OH YA, great table, enjoy your perfect napa evenings…I MISS NORCAL SO MUCH!!!

-- Cheers

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4041 days

#12 posted 07-09-2007 06:42 AM

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here we are with good friends celebrating our first meal…It was a bit cool when we had this meal…also notice the gate behind—-we had to bring a tractor through this a couple days before I finished the table and I had to sawzall the fence to get the tractor through…(see below). Pictured on right side is my wife sarah (in back) then my 4 yr old Hannah and in front rt is Christine. On left is my step son Isaac…and my good friend Elbert.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3636 days

#13 posted 05-22-2008 02:02 PM

Thats a nice Picnic Table.

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 3680 days

#14 posted 06-08-2008 03:56 PM

very beautiful design

-- jeanmarc manosque france

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 3143 days

#15 posted 09-18-2009 06:08 AM

Great table, I keep telling my wife I’ll just build one…I’ll show her yours. She points to the untreated-predrilled-steel hardware-pine-tables at HD for $70…I really like all the tapers, you did a great job.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

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