|Project by Lenny||posted 10-30-2010 07:52 PM||3838 views||12 times favorited||27 comments|
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