Cedar Picnic Table

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Project by dvhart posted 03-15-2010 07:05 AM 9826 views 8 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After a few years of drooling over teak (or similar) deck furniture (and knowing I’d never be able to afford it or care to work with the stuff) I finally built a simple picnic table for my back deck. I started with the plans from This Old House (,,20291200,00.html ), which are slightly different (read: not as good) from the one Tom Silva built on an episode of Ask This Old House. These plans have several problems, I don’t recommend using them.

I originally intended to build this out of pressure treated framing lumber until I stumbled across a great deal on some really rough 2×10 cedar from a local lumber yard ($1.60 ln-ft) so I picked up all the materials including hardware for $91 (I know right? NICE!). I said it is rough though – it took a friend of mine and I 5 hours of planer, jointer, and table-saw time to yield material that passed for usable. Buried in the garbage though were 4 or 5 absolutely beautiful tight grain colorful cedar boards which I used on the top and benches. The lesser sap wood I relegated to the A-Frame as it’s less visible.

Once all the parts were cut to length, I used a 1/4” radius round over bit on all the edges. A couple more tweaks to the plan, and I started assembly. The whole things goes together with 3” deck screws (after planing the boards are still 1-5/8” thick) and 4 3-1/2” carriage bolts. It’s 7 feet long with a 29” top.

We broke it in tonight when my son (4-1/2) promptly said, “Daddy, you put the benches too far away from the table.” His mother and I agree :-) 29” is also too narrow for a table in our opinion. Fortunately, I have one beautiful board remaining and with some new table supports I should be able to add 8-9” of width to the top and solve both of these problems. Now… I need to plan the menu for the Linux kernel developer social at my place tomorrow night…

Update: I finally got around to milling up new table supports and an additional table board. The table is now a nice 38 inches across and is at a more comfortable distance from the benches – see the last photo in the series.

-- Darren

5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4353 days

#1 posted 03-15-2010 07:09 AM

View YoungJock20's profile


11 posts in 3837 days

#2 posted 03-15-2010 07:12 AM

This is a great table! I’m an Eagle Scout and I’ve camped ALL OVER and I’ve sat at thousands of picnic tables and this is the first one I would say had any more that just function. That is a nice looking piece!


View dvhart's profile


111 posts in 3791 days

#3 posted 03-15-2010 07:15 AM

YoungJock20 – Hah, I just attended an Eagle Scout Court of Honor tonight for 3 young men :-)

-- Darren

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 4080 days

#4 posted 03-15-2010 07:28 AM

Very nice Darren.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 3807 days

#5 posted 03-16-2010 02:49 AM

really nice table.

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

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