Building a Picnic Table

Picnic Table Project

Picnic Table Project

Building a picnic table is a great backyard building project that can be fun and practical. A good picnic table will help you enjoyed your outside space for many, many years. The best thing about building your own picnic table is that it is inexpensive. The entire project can be done for just about $50. With just a little skill and some basic tools, your backyard project could be done in no time at all. This basic, but sturdy picnic table will comfortably seat six adults and can built entirely out of 2×4’s!

To get started you’ll need some basic tools and some material from your local hardware store or home improvement center.

Tools required for the job:

Saw (hand or powered saw) a miter saw is helpful but not required.
Hammer
Drill & 5/16” drill bit
Tape measure
Pencil
Framing square and speed square: the speed square will help you set your angles
5/16” wrench

Material required for the job:

(18) 8-foot (96”) 2 x 4’s. Use pine if you wish to paint and/or seal and finish to protect against weather. You can also use cedar or treated wood which require not painting.  You can find treated 2×4’s for under $2.00 a piece.

The table top is going to be 32” across so if you would like, you can substitute (8) 2×4’s for (6) 2×6’s. We will use 2×4’s since they will not cup as much as 2×6’s

(16) Stainless Steel or Galvanized, 5/16″ x 3 1/2″ carriage bolts, washers, nuts; There are (8) on each end frame.

1 1/2″ and 3″ deck screws or galvanized nails – about a 1/2 pound of each type.

Start by measuring and cutting the wood to length. (Cutting diagram) If you are not sure about your measuring and cutting skills, only cut enough to build (1) end frame. Once you see that you are on the right track, you can cut the rest of the wood for the table. Always cut your longer pieces first! This helps save on material waste.

Once the wood is cut to length then you are ready to start assembly. Start by assembling the end frames. Make sure to use galvanized carriage bolts on the end frames. Screws and nails will not have enough strength to hold!!! This is the hardest part of the job so take your time and make sure to get the measurements right. You can follow these measurements for assembling the end frames.

Once the end frames are together, find a couple for friends to help you assemble the table top and the seats. These 2×4’s can be fastened using deck screws or galvanized nails. If you are using treated lumber, leave gaps between the boards no larger than 1/8”. Once the wood dries and shrinks, the gaps will expand. Non treated lumber will not shrink and therefore larger gaps can be left between the boards.

When everything is assembled, paint or seal and you are ready to enjoy your homemade picnic table!!

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