What do you do to thank people who have been a ‘second family’ to you for a decade? Why, replace their broken old Barbecue table with a new DIY Picnic Table of course! So that’s what I did.
You will need:
Start with a 5m (16’6”) log cut into the following:1 x 150x75mm (6”x3”)
1 x 100x50mm (4”x2”)
3 x 200x50mm (8”x2”)
4 x 150x50mm (6”x2”)
45 x M10x90mm (7/16”x3 1/2”) self tapping coach screws
45 x 25mm (1”) Washers to suit
Heavy duty wood glue (nail bond or similar)
Timber sealant/stain (optional)
Skill-saw with at least a 3” (75mm) deep cut and an adjustable depth bracket
Mallet or hammer
Wood chisel, the wider the better
8mm (5/16”) wood bit
25mm woodworking bit (1”)
Power-bar and socket to match coach screws
Saw horses/benches and clamps (less people, more clamps)
Slide protractor or similar to do 90º, 60º and 45º angles
Click to enlarge
Step by Step Instructions
Stage 1: Preparing your wood
Saw your wood to the dimensions listed above.
Now cut your boards to the measurements given in the pictures and create your notches. You will need 1 x Item 8, 2 x Item 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7, 4 x Item 2 and 5 x Item 3. Items 1, 4, 5 and 7 are 60º cut angles and Item 6 is a 45º cut angle. Note all sizes listed are finished sizes, not rough sawn.
Stage 2: Assembling the ‘A-frames’
Place one set of legs (Item 5, Item 7) on the ground so they form a V with angled ends flush and the notches facing up and near the wide end of the V. From here on we refer to the wide end as the bottom and the point as the top.
Place the seat brace (Item 1) into the notches with the long edge at the top.
Move the legs along the brace until they are both 407mm (16”) in from the end of the top edge of the leg brace. Find the centre of the notch/brace join by drawing an X from opposite corners (the X method.)
Drill a pilot hole using the 8mm bit through the centre of each notch/brace join.
Remove the brace from the legs and carefully add glue to the notches.
Place the brace back into position using the pilot holes to align the parts properly.
Attach the legs using one coach screw and washer for each pilot hole; tighten with a power-bar until the washer is flush with the surface of the wood.
Place the top brace (Item 4) so it is centered on the legs with the long edge flush with the tops of both legs.
Firmly clamp this piece in place then stand the frame up.
With the frame sitting on a level surface check to see if the top brace is level end to end. If it is not, adjust it by loosening a clamp at one end and moving the brace until it is sitting true.
Using the X method find the centre of both joins and drill a pilot hole using an 8mm bit. Attach the brace using glue, coach screws and washers as you did on the seat brace.
Repeat this process to make your second A-frame.
Stage 3: Attaching the seats
Prepare your four seat boards (Item 2) by drilling the pilot holes. Each hole should be 325mm (12 3/4”) from the end and 75mm in from the edge (centered). Do this on both ends using the 8mm bit.
Using the 25mm woodworking bit bore a recess 12mm (1/2”) deep on top of each pilot hole. This will allow you to tighten the screws till they are flush with the surface of the seat.
Prepare your A-frame seat braces by drilling one 8mm pilot hole 75mm in from the ends.
Position your first seat board so that the holes in the board and seat brace align. Make sure that the screw heads on the A-frame are on the same side as the short part of the seat.
Using a coach screw and washer, attach the seat board to the brace, but do not tighten it right down, firm is enough for now.
Repeat this process on the other side of the A-frame so you end up with a ramp.
Now attach the other A-frame, once again with the A frame’s screw heads facing out.
Check with your slide protractor at 90º to ensure the whole frame is square then tighten the screws down hard with the power-bar until the heads are flush with the level of the wood.
Now that you have a free-standing table frame you can complete the seats by positioning the inner seat boards 5 -10mm (3/16” – 3/8”) away from the outer ones.
Line the ends of the seat boards up so they are flush then drill through the pilot hole in the seat and into the seat brace. You may wish to clamp your boards before drilling.
Attach the inner seats in the same manner as the outer seats using the power-bar, coach screws and washers.
Step 4: Attaching the top
Prepare the top boards (Item 3) by drilling holes 300mm (11 7/8”) in from each end and 75mm in from each edge. Also drill one in the center of each board – 1250mm (49 1/16”) in from the ends. Bore the top each hole as described previously. Each board should now have 5 holes.
Position the five top boards so they are evenly spaced side by side, the overhang (if desired) off the top brace is even on both sides and the ends of the boards are square. Clamp if necessary. Note that if your overhang is greater than 40mm (1 5/8”), your screw will come out the bottom of the top brace.
Using an 8mm bit, drill through each existing pilot hole into the top braces that the boards are resting on.
Attach each top board using a coach screw and washer at each end. Tighten until screws are flush with the surface and remove clamps.
Position the centre brace (Item 8) underneath the holes across the middle of the table (centered 1250mm from both ends) and clamp in place.
Using the 8mm bit, drill down through each existing hole across the middle of the table into the brace underneath.
Use coach screws and washers to attach the brace. Tighten fully and remove clamps. All screws should be flush with the surface of the board.
Step 5: Attach the trusses
Ensure all coach screws are tight. Then flip the table over so it is resting on its top.
Place one of the 45° trusses (Item 6) so that it rests with one angle flat on the middle board of the table top and the other flat against the seat brace. Do the same on the other side.
Trace a line around each end on both trusses, remove them and find the center of the traced rectangles using the X method.
Using the 8mm bit, drill a pilot hole through each X.
Put the trusses back in place and clamp if necessary.
Using the 8mm bit, drill back through the pilot holes in the seat braces into the trusses.
Attach the trusses to the seat braces using coach screws and washers. Tighten until the washer is flush with the surface of the wood.
Remove the clamps and flip the table back over.
Using the 8mm bit, drill down through the two remaining pilot holes in the middle top board and into the trusses below.
Bore out the top of these holes using the 25mm woodworking bit as before and finish by fastening the trusses with coach screws and washers.
Check all screw heads are secure.
Congratulations! The DIY Picnic Table is now complete.