Introduction – Materials
This is a larger than normal traditional picnic table, which at a push can seat eight adults.
The table is 2000mm (80″) long and the top is 800mm (32″) wide, so there’s plenty of room for a bit of food, too!
The complete unit is made out of 100mm x 50mm (2″x 4″) wood,
We have also added a plan for an end frame template to make the project just that much easier.
Wood: 45 meters (150ft) of 100mm x 50mm (2″x 4″) wood.
This amount includes the template and also allows for a bit of wastage.
Bolts: 16 galvanized coach/carriage bolts 10mm (3/8″) thick by 110mm (4 3/8″) long, or long enough to go through two thicknesses of wood plus enough to accommodate the nuts.
Also 16 nuts and washers to suit.
Nails: About a hundred 90mm (3 1/2″) long galvanized flat-head nails.
You will also need 1800mm (6ft) of metal strap and a handful of 30mm (1 1/4″) flat-head nails for the template.
NOTE ABOUT THE WOOD:
Use a dressed wood (smooth, planed, surfaced) that is suitable for outside use.
The actual thickness and width of the wood will be less than the nominal size or the size that you call the wood.
For example: A piece of 100mm x 50mm (2″x 4″) wood, when dressed (made smooth) will actually be more like 90mm x 45mm (1 1/2″x 3 1/2′).
However, that is not going to effect the overall dimensions of the project.
About the measurements
A bit about the measurements
The measurements throughout this projects are given in both millimeters and inches.
The abbreviation for millimeters is mm and the abbreviation for inches is “.
The metric (mm) measurements are given first, followed by the imperial (inch) measurements in brackets.
Example: 100mm x 50mm (2″ x 4″).
However, the metric (mm) sizes do not convert exactly to the equivalent imperial (inch) sizes because the measurements are rounded to their respective commonly called sizes.
Example: A piece of 2″ x 4″ wood in North America is the equivalent of a piece of 100mm x 50mm wood in Australasia.
2″ x 4″ is not exactly the same size as 100mm x 50mm.
In fact, if 2″ x 4″ was converted into millimeters exactly it would be 101.6mm x 50.8 mm, and nobody really wants to be calling those sorts of sizes..
Also note that in North America the narrower side of the wood is called first (2 x 4), where as in Australasia the wider side is called first (100 x 50).
When the same piece of wood is made smooth (surfaced, dressed, planed), there is an even bigger discrepancy. 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ in North America compared to 90mm x 45mm in Australasia.
A project built using metric measurements will be approximately 1.6% smaller than the same project built using imperial (ft and in) measurements.
In this project the imperial measurements are suited to North America. The metric measurements are more suited to Australasia.
The plans followed by a list of the parts
Cutting the pieces
Step 1: Cut the pieces
- Cut all the pieces for the picnic table and the template according to the drawings below.
- Cut the longest pieces first to minimize wastage.
Making the template
Step 2: Make the template
Making the end frames
Step 3: Place the legs
- Place the picnic table legs in the template as shown in the picture and also in the template plan.
- The legs should fit neatly into place provided they were cut according to the cutting list plan.
Step 4: Place the support pieces
- Lay the seat and table support pieces in place on top of the legs.
- Refer to the template plan for placement measurements.
Step 5: Nail the end frame
- Nail the table and seat support pieces to the legs.
- The nails are to hold the frame together to enable drilling and bolting once the frame is removed from the template.
- Pre-drill the nail holes in the support pieces to avoid splitting.
- Use two 90mm (3 1/2″) flat-head galvanized nails at each meeting.
- Refer to the template plan for nail placement.
Step 6: Remove the end frame
- Lift the end frame out of the template and place on a couple of work stools in preparation for drilling and bolting.
Step 7: Drill and bolt
- Drill and bolt the seat and table support pieces to the legs.
- Use two bolts at each meeting.
Fixing the table and seats
Step 8: Stand the two end frames
- This step requires three people (to make life easy): one to hold each end frame and one to clamp a temporary holding piece to the top of the end frames.
- Refer to the plans to see how far to space the two end frames.
Step 9: Place the outside boards
- Lay the very outside table boards and outside seat boards in place.
- That is four boards altogether; the two very outside table boards and the outside board on each seat.
- Using the plans as reference, ensure that the boards are placed correctly and with the right amount of overhang each end.
Step 10: Fix the outside boards
- When positioned correctly, clamp and fix the four outside boards by drilling and nailing with ONE NAIL ONLY at each meeting.
This enables the whole unit to be slightly twisted if need be.
- Using a big set-square, check that the unit is square (that the seat and table boards are at right angles to the end frames), make any necessary adjustments and then drill and add a second nail at each meeting.
Step 11: Fix the intermediate boards
- Lay the intermediate boards in place evenly spaced. They can be temporary held in place with wedges (see photograph).
- When positioned correctly, fix by drilling and nailing with two 90mm (3 1/2″) flat-head galvanized nails at each meeting.
TIP: Do not nail in a straight line. Zigzag the nails a little, this will help prevent possible splitting along the support members, especially with straight grain wood.
Step 12: The bracing
- Turn the table upside-down.
- Add the strengtheners [f] and [e] to the under side of the table and the seats.
- Position them midway between the end frames.
- Next ensure that the end frames (legs and supports) are at right angles (square) to the table. Then add the two braces [g].
- Off-set the bracing from the center in case you want to drill a hole for an umbrella.
Flip the table over and enjoy!