Build a Large Picnic Table - Outdoor Woodworking Plans

  • 01 of 05

    Woodworking Plans for a Large Picnic Table

    Large picnic table
    Large picnic table. (c) 2014 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

    In this set of free woodworking plans, learn how to build a large picnic table. Most picnic tables are 6-feet long, which will comfortably seat six people, eight if they don't mind getting cozy. These plans extend the sides by two feet, so the table can easily accommodate eight, and somewhat snugly ten diners.

    You can download the measured drawings for these plans and print up a copy to have at the ready in your shop. To build the picnic table, you'll need a miter saw to make the square and angled cross-cuts, a power drill for drilling the large holes and attaching the pieces with 3-inch deck screws. Additionally, you'll need a 1-inch spade bit and a deck driver bit matching the heads on your deck screws, a 1/2-inch twist bit and a socket set. A few woodworking clamps will be a big help as well.

    For materials, you'll need twelve pressure-treated two-by-four boards measuring 8-feet in length, and eight two-by-six pressure-treated boards, also 8-feet long. An option is to replace four of the two-by-six boards with a pair of two-by-twelve boards for the seats. This is the option I used in the prototype shown in the photos as part of the plans, but the measure drawings show a pair of two-by-six boards for each of the seats.

    For hardware, you'll need 3-inch treated deck screws and 16 3-inch long lag bolts with washers and nuts.

    Should you desire to paint your picnic table, you may wish to use standard SPF lumber instead of the pressure-treated variety, but SPF lumber without paint will not last long exposed to the weather.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Cut the Large Picnic Table Parts

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    Cutting Angles for the Picnic Table Legs. (c) 2014 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Before you can begin putting together your large picnic table, you need to cut a few parts. First, verify that you have eight straight two-by-four boards that are relatively free of cupping, bowing, twisting or warping to comprise the table top. All eight of these must be exactly 96-inches in length, so check to see that they all match so that the board ends of the table top will be aligned. If any need to be trimmed, set your miter saw's miter angle to 0-degrees and trim the boards that are long. Set these boards aside until the assembly stage.

    Next, square-cut three two-by-fours to 26-inches in length to serve as the cross-braces for supporting the table top. Set these aside with the table top boards.

    Cut two more two-by-four boards at 85-inches in length to serve as the seat supports.

    Moving on to the two-by-six boards, cut four at exactly 96-inches for the seats. Again, you may choose to use a pair of two-by-twelves for the seats, but either will work fine. Also, for the seat struts, you'll need a pair of two-by-six boards square-cut to 60-inches.

    Adjust the miter angle of your miter saw to 25-degrees and cut the four legs as shown on page two of the measured drawings.

    Finally, adjust the saw's miter angle to 19.2 degrees (19-degrees will suffice if you can't be that precise with your saw), and cut the two center support struts as shown on page three of the measured drawings.

    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Begin Assembly of the Large Picnic Table

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    Drilling Bolt Holes in the Table Legs. (c) 2014 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

    With all of the parts cut, it's time to start putting together your large picnic table. The easiest place to start is the by attaching the table top to the support braces. Each of the boards should have about a 1/8-inch gap between each other, although if you're using pressure-treated lumber that is still wet, you may wish to butt them together knowing that they'll shrink over time.

    Locate the center of each of the two end support braces and place a pencil mark to denote the center on each board. Place each of the two support braces on edge on a level floor parallel to one another, with 85-inches of space between the two boards. Place one table top board on either side of the center line spanning the two support boards. Align the boards so that they extend four inches over the supports as shown on page one of the woodworking plans. When aligned properly, insert a bit driver into your power drill, and attach the table top boards to the supports with a pair of screws through each board. Attach one more table top board on each side of the original two, working outwards from center until all eight boards are attached to the supports.

    Flip the completed table top upside down and position one of the table legs with the angled cut aligned against the underside edge of the table top, and the leg angled outwards from center. The edge of the leg should be positioned 1-7/16 inch in from the end of the support brace. See the side view of page one of the measured drawings for reference.

    Clamp the leg in place using a woodworking clamp. Insert a 1-inch spade bit into your power drill and drill a 3/8-inch deep hole through the support about an inch up and in from the point where the outer edge of the leg meets the support. Drill a second 3/8-inch deep hole about three inches diagonally up and toward the opposite side of the leg.

    Replace the spade bit with a 1/2-inch twist drill bit. Using the pilot hole from the spade bit as a guide, drill a hole through the center of the 1-inch hole all the way through the two boards. Repeat with the second hole.

    Drive a lag bolt through each of the two holes in the table legs and through the support. Place a washer and then a nut onto each of the bolts, and tighten down the nuts with a socket set.

    Repeat the step with the other three legs.

    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Attach the Seat Supports

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    Attaching the Seat Brace to the Seat Supports. (c) 2014 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

     

    With the four table legs attached, flip the table over onto its legs to ensure that the table stands securely with no wobble on the legs. Then, measure 17-inches up from the floor and place a mark on the outside edges of the four table legs. Clamp a seat support onto each of the two table legs on each and of the table, ensuring that the top edge of the support is aligned with the 17-inch marks and that the boards are centered with the same overlap extending outward from each leg.

    As with the previous step, drill a pair of holes diagonally oriented to one another through each leg and support (with the 1-inch hole on the inside face of the table leg). Attach the seat supports with lag bolts, washers, and nuts.

    Next, attach one of the 85-inch seat braces spanning the inside faces of each the seat supports on each side of the table. The two-by-four support should be oriented vertically, with the wide edge of the two-by-four aligned with the end edge of each seat support, and with the top edge of the seat brace matching the top edge of the seat supports. Attach with a pair of deck screws at each end, as shown in the image above.

    Place the seat boards spanning the seat supports, overlapping by four inches as shown on page one of the downloadable free woodworking plans. Whether you choose to use the two-by-twelve seats or a pair of two-by-six boards attach the boards to the seat supports and into the seat braces using deck screws.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Attach the Center Support Bracing

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    Attaching the Center Brace to the Seat Support. (c) Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

    The final step to building this large picnic table is to attach the center support brace to the table top along with the two angled braces that span between the center support brace and the two seat supports, as shown on page one of the free woodworking plan drawings.

    Mark a center line on each side of the center table top support. Align the angled edge of one of the remaining support braces (as cut based on page 3 of the drawings) centered on the mark and attach the brace to the support with a pair of deck screws. Then align the opposite angled brace centered on the other side of the table top support, and attach with deck screws using your drill. Since the face of the support through which you would need to drive screws is occupied by the other brace, toe-nail the screws through the support into the brace.

    Flip the table upside down, and position the center support assembly with the brace aligned with the bottom-side of the table top and the ends of the two angled braces evenly aligned with the seat supports. Attach the angled braces to the seat supports with a pair of deck screws. Then flip the table so that it is standing on its legs, and attach the table top to the center brace with a pair of deck screws through each table top board into the center brace.

    Your large picnic table is now complete. This is a heavy assembly, so you likely will need to have help moving it to the place where you want to use it. If you intend to paint the table, sand all of the parts and apply a quality outdoor paint to protect it from the elements before use.