How to Make a Picnic Table – Plans and Instructions


Welcome back to make bill modify I’m
Justin and today we’re going to turn this pile of lumber into a picnic table. Okay I’m going to break all this lumber
down into the parts of the picnic table. I’m using my plans as reference during
this build. These plans will be linked in the description and at the end of the
video if you’re interested. I’m currently cutting down all of the planks for the
top and the seats of the bench. Now that I’m done with the table top and seat
planks I’m going to move on to the a-frame parts. I’m going to cut the
horizontal pieces that hold the table top and the seats. My plans show that you get one small and one large out of an 8-foot piece of lumber and that’s
important because these plans are designed to use ten 2″ x 6″ and to
be as efficient as possible. Now that the horizontal pieces of the a-frame are cut
we can move on to the legs. The legs are basically parallelograms with angles cut
on the top and bottom. My plans show the angle and the reference locations. You can get two legs out of one 8’x2″x6″ and there’s a little bit of extra wood left over with these legs
so just pay attention and maybe move the location of the legs to cut out any
unwanted knots or blemishes in the lumber. At this point if you’ve done
everything correctly this is the last 2″x6″. It’s going to be for the
final cleat it goes underneath the table top boards and the two braces that keep
the table from racking back and forth. This is the piece that needs to get
ripped in half to produce the two braces. I usually get close and then flip the
second board over and cut the last little scrap off so I don’t have to try
to get the blade exactly in the center. Taking a quick check on my angles to see
if I’m getting them right. I designed the angle of these to cross
each other under the table that way the two pieces that are intersecting and
have a screw go through them and they will be a little stronger for bracing.
You’ll see that a little later on in the video. I’m using a quarter inch radius
round over bit. This step is completely optional. You could use a rasp to kind of
ease the edges or you could do nothing. This is something that’s extra in the
build and it just depends on how far you want to go with it. Now that all the pieces are ready to put
together I’m doing the layout for the a-frame. The plans show the distances to
measure for the horizontal pieces relative to the legs. You could do this
on a flat piece of plywood and just draw the lines. I prefer to use nails and
create positive stops and it’s a lot easier when you’re installing them. You
don’t have to think about where you’re placing the pieces. Especially if you’re
doing more than one picking table. Now I can locate the horizontal pieces in the same location over and over again. Now I’m marking the offset for where the
legs are going to cross through those horizontal sections both top and bottom
and I’m going to line the legs up flush with the top of the top horizontal piece.
I’m using a speed square to make sure. You want to run only one screw
in the top portion and one in the lower portion and do that on both legs. This
allows you to adjust the a-frame before putting the rest of the screws in. I’m
doing cross measurements to see if those two respective measurements are the same. When they are, you can finish putting
in the rest of the fasteners. Now for the tricky part. You have to line these up
and fasten the first top piece without them falling over on you. You might want
to get help with from a friend or just lean it against something like I did
here. I’m finding the offset for this on each side and I’m going to tack one
screw into it on each board. I’m also using a square to kind of estimate
whether or not those are square to the top piece. Now you can put the second screw in and
start moving forward with the rest of the top pieces.
I always check to make sure that they’re following the profile as they should. The same method could be used for installing the seat planks. I always push
the first plank all the way up against the legs and then just make sure they
have the right offset. Now it’s time to flip the table over.
I always sweep the floor or find a work surface that won’t damage the top when
I’m working on it because it’s got to sit on the top. You might want to get
help flipping the table over. We’re going to install the cleat and the braces now.
The cleat goes Center on the underside of all the top planks and I install two
screws per top plank. Now I need to mark center on the cleat and center on the
two horizontal pieces of a-frames. These center marks are going to give us
a location for the braces. I’m aligning the first brace to one side of center
and I’m using the same fasteners to run toe screws and end screws into the brace.
I’m aligning the second brace to the other side of the line so they cross and
I always add another screw going through the two braces. There you have it. A
complete picnic table that seats four. This should only take a couple hours if
you follow my instructions and plans. I’ll leave a link in the description and at
the end. Thank you for watching

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