Rectangular Picnic Tables

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Forum topic by pjones46 posted 04-18-2011 07:55 AM 1379 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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986 posts in 2060 days

04-18-2011 07:55 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have been asked to build two 10’ rectangular picnic tables.

My question is why are 6’ and 8’ the only one’s available at the big box stores.

Is there something I am missing other than beefing up the legs, seat, and seat supports.

-- Respectfully, Paul

5 replies so far

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17570 posts in 3093 days

#1 posted 04-18-2011 11:21 AM

Those are standard lenghts for tables everywhere, maybe????

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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861 posts in 2084 days

#2 posted 04-18-2011 02:41 PM

Good Job

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

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2199 posts in 2109 days

#3 posted 04-19-2011 06:09 AM

Pj, Six and eight footers are standard because that’s how long most pickup beds are. When you make the table longer you will have a span issue with the seat because of the distance between the legs from one end to the other. Ther are a couple ways to skin that cat. One being to put a joist beneath the seat from
stretcher to stretcher (the board that crosses the legs and you screw the seat to). The other is to add a board across the end grain of the top. This board is attached ether mortise & tenon or I tried the Kreg screws this last year on a couple that I built. This will allow you to place the legs closer to the center of the table reducing the span. Pic below, I did add a pressure block beneath the ends of the seat back to the stretcher for a sag factor so the big ones can sit out on the end.

Not the best picture, I took it with my cell phone but I think you can still see the boards across the end of the top. BTW use 8 – 2 1/2” x 5/8” lag screws to fasten the stretchers to the legs. If you use through bolts you have to cut off the bolt threads that stick out past the nuts so you don’t scatch you legs on them.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

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986 posts in 2060 days

#4 posted 04-19-2011 07:16 AM

Great looking table.

I have planned to put a strong back on the bench portion for extra support. This should reduce the deflection as you indicated due to expanse between the legs. A similar strong back would be added on the overhang so that I could move the legs a bit closer to the center. Trying to end up with about 19” overhang should the customer wish wheel chair access at one or both ends. Bench cross ties/stretchers and legs sizes would be bumped up in size to handle the expected load and an excellent suggestion that you made was the extra table top ties to reduce warp and twisting at ends.

Really appreciate the input and ideas.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View MrWoodworker's profile


65 posts in 2012 days

#5 posted 04-21-2011 02:51 PM

Sounds like you have your answer for building but another reason the stores generally only carry 6’ to 8’ tables is that 1) They are a better size to work into palletized shipping logistics and 2) They are more employee/stocking friendly from a weight and size perspective. In short, big heavy oddball sizes don’t fit the workflow of mass retail systems.

Oh yes, and the typical family doesn’t need a table that big. They carry what sells.

I’ve seen massive tables at public picnic shelters around here. I think some must be pushing 20 feet. 4×6 legs, 3 or 4 leg sets, that kind of beast!


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