Dowelled Cedar folding picnic table

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Project by mcg1990 posted 08-31-2015 10:58 PM 2545 views 8 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the third folding table I’ve built following the plans. The first two were pine, stained with minwax and finished with GF Exterior 450, and promptly sold. From the get-go they were practice runs for this one, which I built for my wife.

I built the table 2ft longer than the original plans, and used only dowel joinery except for the bolts for the moving joints. I’m not that good, or insane.

It cost about $120 in Cedar, which was, if I recall correctly, 8 2×4x10’s, 1 2×4x8, 1 2×4x12. The reason for the three different lengths was that 8 pieces in the plans consisted of one long component and a short component (so+2’ to the 8’ plan), one was two long pieces together (so +4’), and one was simply small components that didn’t change with my altered plans, so it remained at 8’.

I bought rough sawn stock and jointed, table sawed, and planed it all to 1.5” x 3.5”, which left me lots of cedar shavings to spread around the vegetable garden.

At first I simply glued all the joints together, clamped and let dry, and then I followed up by drilling the holes for the dowels and glue and hammering in the Oak rods. To make sure the holes were perpendicular to the face of the wood I used my Dowelmax with the L-bracket attachment as I don’t own a drill press. Curves cut using a series of mitresaw cuts around lines drawn with a pair of compasses, and sanded roughly smooth.

Another alteration to the plans was buttiing up and edge joining the seat and tabletop boards. They’re all dowelled together with the dowelmax also. I’m not sure if I’ll regret this due to seasonal movement, but if I do I can alter/fix it as I go.

Finished with 3 coats of BLO, which I’m somewhat unhappy with due to the yellowing effect. I had hoped my oil would bring out the natural colours, but it actually ended up dulling the pinks and browns that were present.

6 comments so far

View BobWemm's profile


2996 posts in 3080 days

#1 posted 09-01-2015 01:13 AM

Great Job, I love that ERC.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View Von's profile


238 posts in 3367 days

#2 posted 09-01-2015 02:19 AM

That’s my favorite wood to build with. It’s also treated like gold in my area. There’s no way I could come home from the lumber yard with that much cedar for what you paid. It’d be closer to about 300 in my neck of da woods.

Keep up the fine work!

View BigBrownLog's profile


68 posts in 3421 days

#3 posted 09-01-2015 08:49 PM

Hey mcg 1990 would you mind sharing the build plans? I can draw it up myself but I don’t want any measurements to be a little off and I waste wood. I’m not all that great with geometry equations.

-- Whoever said nothing is impossible has obviously never tried to staple water to a tree

View nonickswood's profile


567 posts in 3541 days

#4 posted 09-01-2015 11:42 PM

Nice Job! I May have to give that try a some time.
Red wood looks Great!

-- Nick, Virginia,

View mcg1990's profile


159 posts in 2446 days

#5 posted 09-02-2015 12:06 AM

One piece of advice is to square off whatever 2×4s you use to build you. You’ll get much nicer looking joints that way, then just roundover as necessary afterwards.

View BigBrownLog's profile


68 posts in 3421 days

#6 posted 09-02-2015 12:27 AM

rt on thank you. I actually went to buildeasy then copy and pasted every page to a word document. It took some time. I was just hoping someone had a set of plans all ready to download without paying for them so I thought I’d check our community.

I have big plans for my woodshop and my skills I just need for oil prices to come back so I can get back to work and have the capital i need for tools and supplies. My father is giving up the boat building and I told him that I’m gonna carry on the tradition but evolve it with cold molding. If there’s anybody in the south Louisiana area that wants a boat, I got ya covered. I’ll also build those damn capstan tables once I get the machine-shop tools.

-- Whoever said nothing is impossible has obviously never tried to staple water to a tree

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