Slapped together picnic table

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Project by lumberjoe posted 07-05-2012 03:41 PM 1404 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Slapped together picnic table
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This was my 4th of july project as a request from the wife. When she said “you should make a picnic table today” I got kind of excited. Then she mentioned she wanted to paint it. I was hoping to get some nice cedar and make a really nice looking table with a great finish, but there was no changing her mind about the paint. Instead of wasting nice wood, this is made out of doug fir 2×6’s and PT 2×6 legs.

I can’t say I enjoyed making this that much. I have been really into making nice things with complex to semi-complex joinery and precise fits. Working with construction lumber sucks. It is 6 feet long, The top is 29” wide. The supports are off center because she wanted me to drill for an umbrella to go in the middle. This is mostly screwed together with some Titebond III in key areas. The legs are held on with 3/8 lag bolts. I had to polish up on my trig to get all the angles and hole locations correct, but come assembly time, everything matched up perfectly.

Now I need to spend the day cleaning and reorganizing my shop. Cutting PT is nasty. The crap gets everywhere and gunks up blades and equipment. Fortunately the only tools I used was my CMS, circular saw to hack off some tapers on the top and seat supports, and a drill.

I think I will stick to interior furniture for the time being. It will likely get painted today, of which I will have no part of :)


10 comments so far

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2450 days

#1 posted 07-05-2012 03:56 PM

And yes, I know, I need to mow the lawn


View stefang's profile


16133 posts in 3536 days

#2 posted 07-06-2012 06:16 PM

And it will probably last for at least 50 years since you didn’t really like it. I’ve been there, lol.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2450 days

#3 posted 07-06-2012 06:22 PM

God I hope not. I seriously hate this thing. I also hated every second of making it. From loading up the lumber cart at the big box store, to heaving these things onto the miter saw, the green wet sawdust/chemical slurry, to the very last screw I drove in, I hated this thing.

Full disclosure – I actually hate picnic tables in general. I am not a fan of the attached bench picnic table at all, no matter what it is made of. Probably because everyone I have ever sat down at has been splintering into my legs and falling apart, so that is just what I envision when I hear “picnic table”.


View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2390 days

#4 posted 07-06-2012 09:33 PM

Hey Joe. I get that you didn’t like doing this piece of furniture. I still have a question.

I’m glad that you explained the non symetrical supports. Does it seem that the hole in the top and the support will be enough to hold that umbrella or do you suppose a base is needed?

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Gatorjim's profile


217 posts in 2407 days

#5 posted 07-06-2012 10:17 PM

What’s that old saying about if the wife isnt happy?

-- My theroy in wood working will be. If I'm not enjoying doing it i won't do it.

View JayT's profile


5961 posts in 2413 days

#6 posted 07-06-2012 10:22 PM

Just keep in mind that as long as the projects she wants use cheap lumber, it leaves more in the budget for your other furniture builds. Plus that whole keeping the wife happy, thing. (I need to work on that last part)

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View MichaelAgate's profile


398 posts in 2525 days

#7 posted 07-07-2012 03:32 AM

Great job Joe. My wife is after me to slap one of these together as well

-- Michael and Matthew

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2450 days

#8 posted 07-07-2012 12:37 PM

Mark, no way! An umbrella would just blow away. There are a lot of ways to anchor an umbrella. I don’t like the bucked of sand method, it takes away leg room. I made a collar out of some of the 2×6 off cuts that screws to the underside of the table and it has bolts that keep the umbrella in (Think Christmas tree stand). The asymmetrical supports are just there to allow me to drill a hole dead center in the table, while not taking away from leg room, and while keeping the table from racking.

Thanks and you guys are right. The wife is thrilled about this table and is out buying paint now. She didn’t even roll her eyes when I said I needed to go to Woodcraft when she gets back.


View chrisstef's profile


17761 posts in 3208 days

#9 posted 07-07-2012 12:42 PM

See Joe, every project has a purpose. If it kept my wife smiling id use crayons to finish that picnic table. When the boss gets what she likes she dont mind letting you dabble in frivolous spending … i smell a new tool! The utilitarion projects aint so bad … less thought, little less effort, but time with the tools none the less.

BTW … theres a free sharpening seminar at WC in manchester next saturday, if i have the time i might show up for that one.

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

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2450 days

#10 posted 07-07-2012 12:48 PM

Chris, that’s awesome, I think I’ll go. No new tools today. All the tools I need now are the expensive ones, but I’m going to make ANOTHER cross cut sled (for dados this time) and need some more t-track and who knows what else I’ll walk out with.

I thought the same thing when I started – an excuse to use tools! but that didn’t help. There was nothing fun about lopping 12 foot 2×6’s in half, drilling some holes, lopping off some corners with a circular saw, then manhandling all that beastly lumber in place.


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