Sculpted Juniper picnic table #1: Shaped and sanded

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Blog entry by junipercanyon posted 07-16-2012 04:15 PM 7268 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Sculpted Juniper picnic table series Part 2: Test top done, now for the custom table »

My mom bought a simple 2×4 picnic table a few years ago and the top has not held up well. The boards are twisted and warped, and I thought it would be a good “test” subject for a new top using an idea that I have had for a while. Juniper grows with a very rapid taper, and finding trees big enough to make wide straight edge boards out of are few and far between. So I had the idea of alternating wide/skinny ends of the boards and leaving the live edge intact to give me the widest board possible. I want to eventually build a deck around my house using the same concept. It is a lot of work, but I really like the results. The sides and top are blended together with 120grit sandpaper for a nice smooth finish to the touch. I am considering Teak oil for the finish.

It will be an outside table, does anyone have any opinion on if the teak oil is a good choice or have an alternate finish suggestion??

I am thinking of offering the replacement picnic table top as a product line….any suggestions on a retail price??

The shiny little silver spots you see in this photo are bullets that were shot into the tree at some point in its past!!!

-- Juniper Canyon Design

8 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30505 posts in 2945 days

#1 posted 07-16-2012 04:22 PM

Very awesome looking project. Very unique and I think people will like it. As far as pricing, see what a basic cedar picnic table runs in your area and bump it up accordingly to compensate for the additional labor.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3015 days

#2 posted 07-16-2012 04:30 PM

You did a great job on this and in even thinking it up!!

Great job and as far as finish goes, I have no idea. Price-wise, get what you can as there are no others like it….so far!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Don W's profile

Don W

19430 posts in 3175 days

#3 posted 07-16-2012 04:38 PM

unique looking table. Look into timber oil for a finish. I know it works well on outside furniture and I suppose a table is furniture. I’m just not sure about the whole “food safe” issue is if you’re selling it.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View junipercanyon's profile


198 posts in 3300 days

#4 posted 07-16-2012 04:38 PM

Thank you…..the product idea is to sell the top and optional matching bench seat as a replacements for warped/worn/or just plain boring store bought tables rather than building the whole table to give the “look” of a custom table for less cost.

-- Juniper Canyon Design

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 2880 days

#5 posted 07-16-2012 05:17 PM

That’s an Amazing conceptual art design.

The face of the picnic table will never need be 2 X construction lumber, ever again.

- Grandpa Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View TZH's profile


559 posts in 3748 days

#6 posted 07-16-2012 05:33 PM

Monte Pittman had a great idea to look at cedar picnic tables and adjust accordingly. So, I did. Here’s a link you might want to look at:

Also, great concept, great design. This could also be transposed into a dining room table, as well. What kind of jointery are you using, if I might ask? Or are the boards even joined together? Thanks for sharing, and good luck on this. Might just have to copy you.


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

View junipercanyon's profile


198 posts in 3300 days

#7 posted 07-16-2012 05:54 PM

TZH—Thanks for the compliments… My intent is to not join the boards, and leave the open gaps just as you see them. Most standard picnic table tops have a gap between the boards anyway so I think it works well. I really like the smooth rounded edges on the live edge and I would loose that if I had to cut them to fit tight enough to join….(not to mention the level of difficulty it would be to form each board exact enough to each others natural shape to get a quality joined edge). As it was, it took quite a bit of patience to get them as close together as they are now!!

-- Juniper Canyon Design

View TZH's profile


559 posts in 3748 days

#8 posted 07-16-2012 06:32 PM

JC, what I meant by jointery is to join them together just as they appear in the photos. I like the idea of the curves, the nooks, the crannies, the gaps, and the smooth rounded edges, too. I also know how much effort goes into shaping something like that. Your design is very appealing, to say the least. What I was thinking about for a dining table (or for this, too, if you like the idea) was to perhaps use a dowel or something similar to kind of hold them together, and then fill the gaps with a dyed epoxy, or something similar. Could even inlay turquoise, malachite, or something else like that to take up some of the space, and not have to use so much epoxy. That’s kind of what I was thinking when I saw your design. Looks very good as is though, too.


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

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