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Novice Women Woodworkers

Robyn's build Instructions Plans

Robyn builds an 8 seater picnic table   By Les Kenny

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Robyn Robyn's first build, and why not something biggish.
Robyn wanted an 8 seater picnic table for her communal courtyard so she and her neighbors could share it.
The miter saw (dropsaw) is a pretty intimidating saw for a first timer albeit very safe if used properly. Robyn was intimidated for about one second and then she would use nothing but. She got to like it so much, that towards the end she would do a little dance movement with her arm prior to using it. See her story below...

Julie in her Adirondack chair

Soon after she went on to make two folding stick chairs.

See the video at YouTube

Robyn says...
If anyone had told me that I would be making a picnic table in the coming months, I would have laughed and told them 'you're dreaming'! I had never even held a drill, let alone a drop saw. A hammer and a screwdriver has been about the extent of my handywoman skills! When I saw Les' advert for 'first time build' workshops in nearby Richmond (Victoria), I signed up on the spot. It's good to try new things and I wanted to set myself a new challenge to see if I could really do this.

The project I chose was the picnic table that you see in the pictures. I am currently living in a small apartment so space for projects is fairly limited. So I thought it would be a great idea to choose something that I could share with my fellow apartment dwellers. As you can see, it fits very nicely in the shady spot in my garden and is a nice addition for the warmer months.

My first day at the 'first time build' workshop with Les was a mixture of enthusiasm and trepidation. I had never used power tools and hadn't worked with timer since high school (incidentally I failed that subject, as I never did finish making that darn pencil box!). Les showed and explained the very straightforward plans for the table. The pieces were measured and then cut from treated pine using a drop saw. It was a scary looking beast of a machine, but once I made my first cut, there was no stopping me. I think that my first cut piece of timber was my proudest moment!

As all the pieces of timber were cut accurately, putting the table together was incredibly easy. It took two easy-paced half days to cut then drill all of the pieces together. Thanks to Les' expert (and patient) guidance, I can now proudly say that I can use a drop saw, drill and jigsaw (for rounding dome seat edges). It was amazing to see what was just an idea on a page to a real and very large picnic table. To complete the table, I then painted the whole thing in a black woodstain (Porter's Paints, Palm Beach Black for outdoor). This table was a very satisfying build and will last for years. Thanks Les, I had a ton of fun!

Next: Photo gallery - Robyn goes through the steps...

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