My hubby got a wild hair (on my coaxing) to build a picnic table for Cam. A friend has a plastic one and Cam loved it, so I’ve had the idea in my head for a week or so. After perusing craigslist at 3am and finding a nice one for $40, I showed it to B. Of course his response was “I can do that and probably cheaper”…that’s why I married him ;) So here it is, in his own words…
As mentioned above, the wife often shows me things on craigslist that she’d like for Cam, and my usual response is “I can build that”. Sometimes it happens, sometimes I just can’t get to it in time. So, when she showed me a link to a small table for sale I took the opportunity to prove myself worthy. A quick Google search led me to a site called “BuildEazy”, which has a pretty decent plan for a kiddo sized picnic table.
The original plan called for 1x4 and 1x6 lumber, but I opted to use 2x for the sake of sturdiness. I kept all board lengths the same as the original plan, but opted to lower the bench about 3/4” to accommodate my short-legged offspring. The materials list was pretty light for this project, all wood was basic mid-grade pine from Lowes. 2x4x8(3), 2x6x10(1), and 2x6x8(1). I already had the 2-1/2” screws in the shop, so my bill came to ~$20 for the build.
I started by cutting all of the boards to length per my cutting diagram. I typically do a cut diagram in Microsoft Publisher to help layout the pieces. I like to make a blank document the about 12’x 10’, then I can make boxes that represent the whole boards. I then make more boxes to represent the cut lumber and arrange those on the diagram. Not required by any means, but something I do to help visualize the cut pieces and try to avoid waste, YMMV.
With all of the boards cut to length, I took advantage of my shop-built router table and gave all of the seat and table-top pieces a 1/2” round-over. I think it makes the project look a little more “finished”, but isn’t really necessary. The same could be done with a power-sander and 100 grit, but it would take a lot longer. With everything cut and rounded, I hit all of the boards with 180 grit sandpaper.
The assembly was pretty straight forward using the original instructions, I may have deviated some, but I doubt I saved myself any time or hardship by doing so. The only thing I would have done, had I not been anxious to finish, would have been putting the screws in from the inside where possible. It’s not a big deal, most picnic tables have exposed fasteners, maybe on the next one…
Since I built the table out of un-treated lumber, it will need some sort of protective covering, either paint or polyurethane. I avoided using pressure treated lumber since the table is used by kids. Another option would be cedar but that priced out at a little over $75, I figure this is good enough for what it’s for.
Thanks for lookin’,