Picnic Table

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Project by Lenny posted 10-30-2010 07:52 PM 4704 views 12 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Picnic Table
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I posted a blog yesterday regarding a visit from several local LJs and I mentioned that I would be posting a picnic table I recently made. The plans for this table come from the July 2009 edition of Wood magazine. They refer to it as the “Fun-in-the-sun” picnic table. When I decided to make a table I did a search on “picnic tables” in Wood’s project index and this one came up. I found my copy of the magazine and decided that this was the one I wanted to make. It is substantial and different, i.e., not cookie cutter. The author made his from cedar. When I recently purchased a woodworker’s entire lot of wood, four 12 foot lengths of Spanish cedar (differing widths) were included. Looking at the plans, I saw that I could almost complete the entire table surface with this material. Then I started looking at prices for additional Spanish or other cedar. The cost to do the entire table with this material was quite prohibitive. I resolved to make the table top and seats from cedar and the framework from pressure treated lumber (p.t.). My local Home Depot sells 2”X6”X8’ lengths of cedar so I got the needed boards and the p.t. lumber there.

The magazine article has a box that reads: “Basic-built – great projects made simple”. While not overly difficult to make, I would refer to this framework as complex. Instead of the typical four legs, each “leg” of this table is essentially four legs! You can see in this first photo the four legs and joining framework.

I must say that the plans are well written, very detailed, easy to follow and include a number of “shop tips” that point out key items or offer an alternative method such as cutting 45 degree angles instead of the curves you see on the support pieces under the seats and table top. I did stray from the suggested cutting method several times, incorporating use of my table saw instead of a circular saw and my band saw instead of a jig saw. However, because of the length of some of the support pieces, the jig saw was a better choice. I also found use of my oscillating spindle sander to be helpful on the curved pieces, though I had to buy a few heavier grits.

The table is held together with construction adhesive, coated deck screws and carriage bolts. One tube of construction adhesive was enough for the whole project. Here is a photo of the table support framework, attached to the legs/seat support framework.

From there it was a matter of attaching the cedar seats and table top. Here is a shot of the cedar in place. The table top is screwed down in the photo but the seats are not.

And here is a shot of the completed table prior to application of the finish. You might notice that the outside two boards differ in tone/appearance than the others.

When it came to the finish, I initially considered leaving the cedar natural and just putting a clear poly or oil over it for protection. Then I thought that a light stain might help blend the outside boards to the others. As for the p.t. lumber, I don’t like that dull green color of p.t. lumber but, I thought, why not celebrate the green. So I went to HD and bought what they call “natural cedartone” for the seats/top. I wouldn’t call it very natural but, I half like it. I selected ponderosa green for the p.t. lumber. Both are a semi-transparent stain. I am pleased with the combination and the outcome. However, when the time comes to re-finish the table, I think I will sand the seats/top and leave them natural. Here’s one more shot of the finished project with a few LJs adorning it. Thanks for looking.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

27 comments so far

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3849 days

#1 posted 10-30-2010 08:10 PM

Keep up the good work Lenny, I’m envious of your table. ;-)

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3637 days

#2 posted 10-30-2010 09:10 PM

Nice picnic table, Lenny.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3071 days

#3 posted 10-30-2010 09:25 PM

Man, you are getting this retirement off on the right foot guy. The shop is coming along fantastically and that is a great job on the table.

You are having a wee bit too much fun there. Rand ;-))

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2802 days

#4 posted 10-30-2010 09:37 PM

Nice table. I like the color combination and the detached benches.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3491 days

#5 posted 10-30-2010 09:50 PM

Hi John and thank you! Thanks also to CJ, Rand and rivergirl. Rand one can never have too much fun in retirement. It is not possible. BTW, I meant to post a picture of what this picnic table replaced. As you will see, the old table had done its job:

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 3409 days

#6 posted 10-30-2010 10:11 PM

I want one! Great table Lenny.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3062 days

#7 posted 10-30-2010 11:28 PM

Great job Lenny. I love the color combination.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3738 days

#8 posted 10-30-2010 11:28 PM

Hi Lenny

You done good! Great looking table. I really like the design. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Hippockets's profile


93 posts in 3071 days

#9 posted 10-30-2010 11:56 PM

This is the best picnic table I have seen to date.

-- Bruce, Arnold MD

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3491 days

#10 posted 10-31-2010 12:24 AM

Thanks for the kind comments fellas! Bruce, that’s quite a compliment. Thank you.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View ellen35's profile


2734 posts in 3396 days

#11 posted 10-31-2010 12:56 AM

That table looks even better in person…

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3491 days

#12 posted 10-31-2010 02:49 AM

Thank you Ellen. Much appreciated.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View moonls's profile


412 posts in 2950 days

#13 posted 10-31-2010 03:32 AM

I certainly agree with Ellen!

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3071 days

#14 posted 10-31-2010 03:51 AM

Hey Lenny, I see you got your nickles worth out of the old one. lol The new table is a great show piece for the new back yard and shop. Good for you guy. Rand

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3155 days

#15 posted 10-31-2010 07:50 AM

Lenny, I have the wood magazine and I love your project.

I think the colors came out real well, after seeing your picnic

table you are way over due. I love out door projects, the

particular table you built is built like a tank, recently I watched an

old Norm video where he built an outdoor seat that he claimed

lasted 80 years in the New England, weather. I wouldn’t be

surprised if your table last that long. In any case, next summer

you’ll be able to work long hours in the shop, and take a nice

cool lemonade break in the middle of the work day!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

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