updated picnic table

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Project by Jim55 posted 05-08-2017 12:26 PM 1325 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Picnic tables traditionally are too low for arthritic old folks (me) and frequently run uncomfortably close for overweight arthritic old folks (still me).
So, I made some modifications to this building supply store picnic table kit. I realize a kit picnic table is kind of outre on a wood working forum but it was just plain practical. I doubt I could have saved much money if any at all by buying the raw materials and making it myself with the resultant waste in drops to boot. I figure my changes in construction, hardware and the final finishing which is entirely my own should make it qualify..
I hope…
First of all the seats were to be held on by #8 self driving wood screws. Love them though I do, they weren’t enough for me in this job. I replaced them with 1/2” lag screws. I also moved the seats back by about 6” on each side. (“A” in the last photo)

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the underside but the first and last images show part of the 2×6 under support. The kit provided something like a 1×2-1/2” that was much shorter. I beefed up the under support from my own lumber supply. I also used the original #8 screws that came with the kit to attach the underpinnings.
In the last photo “B” points to the leg risers. Note how I tucked the 2×6 risers under the cross beam. Those were then secured in place with 1/2” through carriage bolts. The pads on the leg ends were to help prevent the tables legs from sinking into any soft spots. The end result is one very sturdy (and very heavy!) picnic table.

In the building process I noticed the pine used had some pretty decent looking grain. So borrowing from a popular wood working finish ideal of some decades ago, I got out a propane torch for weed control and scorched the upper surfaces of the table. (Well, I did some and #2 son did the rest.)
Then I soaked in some water proofing. After that added some stain and finished it up with a blend of BLO (boiled Linseed Oil) and satin finish poly urethane. I was mainly seeking to waterproof it to the nth degree (that’s why you will see some glimpses of under surfaces that are unfinished) but in the process I think it turned out pretty nice looking. My wife loves it!

The end result of the modifications are evident as well in a much more comfortable to sit at table for both of us.

4 comments so far

View Von's profile


238 posts in 3095 days

#1 posted 05-08-2017 03:55 PM

Kit or not, it’s wood and you worked with it to suit your needs. I think that all counts for something. You’re not the only that has noticed just how ‘dinky’ small some tables can be. The local park has 9 new full-sized tables and you’d think they were made for toddlers. They actually have the table tops overhanging the seats!

View ArtMann's profile


1483 posts in 1698 days

#2 posted 05-09-2017 02:31 AM

I haven’t seen a finish like that in a long time. It used to be very popular technique. I think the appearance turned out great.

View Sasha's profile


1213 posts in 2094 days

#3 posted 05-10-2017 05:21 PM


-- Ganchik Sasha. Life is not a draft, tomorrow you will not redo......

View Jim55's profile


194 posts in 2948 days

#4 posted 05-12-2017 10:05 PM

Спасибо (courtesy of google translating (;^)

- Sasha

I know this is a rather ‘old fashioned’ method of finishing. I remember when it was pretty common. The grain in the wood just brought it to the fore front of my mind.

I’m thinking of trying to do another and see if I can sell it for a little profit.

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