A Simple Picnic Table

  • Advertise with us
Project by Logan Craig posted 09-19-2011 03:29 PM 2251 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a simple picnic table I made for The Girlfriend. I followed some free online plans I found, but changed quite a bit. The plans called for 2×4s and lag bolts, but I wanted to use 2×6s and I hate lag bolts, so I used regular bolts with lock nuts. It also uses (coated) deck screws and glue.

I like this design because it has NO screw or bolt holes in the top surface. Something I view as not only an eye-sore, but an entry-way for moisture.

The plans also recommended treated lumber, but I hate the look of it so used plain whitewood and deck stain. A nicer wood would have been nice to have, but I don’t (or didn’t at the time have access to any).

Another change I made to the plans was to leave out two diagonal cross members that braced the seat support to the table top. I had planned on using them, but after assembling everything else to check my measurements it seemed so sturdy that the additional support was unnecessary. I also shrank the gap between each slat to about 1/8th inch. The 1/4 inch they recommended seemed excessive.

My expectation is to disassemble it before any serious snow fall of winter and probably sand and reapply stain every spring. If that gets old maybe I’ll paint it.

It has been about five months since these photos were taken and the table has not warped at all, but is showing definite signs of needing the refinishing in spring. It still has no wobble/wiggle.

Let me know what you think. Anybody have a good plan for a picnic table that doesn’t have attached benches? I like the idea of having the benches movable for other uses.


-- Logan

7 comments so far

View mmh's profile


3679 posts in 4231 days

#1 posted 09-19-2011 03:36 PM

Simple but it’s still a beauty. I like your attention to detail in design and function. You may want to treat the wood with a cedar oil product that claims it preserves the wood. This may prevent you from having to disassemble and reassemble the table every season.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Logan Craig's profile

Logan Craig

42 posts in 3015 days

#2 posted 09-19-2011 04:48 PM

Thanks for the advice. Can you point me to an online source, such as Amazon or Lowe’s online for the cedar oil so I can get a better idea of what to look for? Do you think I could use that sort of thing instead of a sealing stain, or should it be used on top of the another sealer? I ask because I really wasn’t impressed with any of the color options for the deck stain, and they were pretty pricey. If I could use a plain would stain and a sealer that would be ideal.

Thanks again

-- Logan

View ZachM's profile


83 posts in 4214 days

#3 posted 09-23-2011 07:41 PM

You should draw up your plans, your version looks way better than most of the plans I’ve seen for them.

View Chris's profile


31 posts in 3352 days

#4 posted 05-05-2012 11:45 PM

Just came across this as I am on a search to build a picnic table of my own. Firstly, I really like your build and how nice it looks (I can picture it in my backyard) as well as the fact that I don’t want cross supports either, where did you find your initial plans for reference. Secondly, for the table top and benches, are they secured to the ends only or did you add an additional piece to the middle (if it required it).

Thanks, Chris

-- May the Lord bless you and keep you

View Logan Craig's profile

Logan Craig

42 posts in 3015 days

#5 posted 05-06-2012 12:36 AM

Added a couple more pics per Chris’ request for more info.

Here is the link to the free plans I used:

A few things I changed:

Didn’t put the cross braces on. Seriously, just doesn’t need them, I’ve since moved and had this thing apart and put back together 3 times. I drag it back and forth across the yard when mowing and for convenience depending on the size of the fire. I really can’t see the need for ‘em.

I also didn’t put on the leg protectors. I used nylon nuts that had a bit of rounding on them and made sure no bolts stuck out from them. I’ve heard no complaints about the bolts and didn’t see any blood stains :).

I didn’t use carriage bolts because I hate them. I just put washers on with regular bolts. If I had to do it again I would just buy threaded rod too. Bolts cost too much.

I also reduced the spacing between the boards. I was afraid too much stuff would get lost in the cracks. May have been a bad idea. Now nature gets stuck in there and looks ucky and traps moisture. Also harder to stain.

In the year since I built it the boards have cupped a bit, but not bad at all, and the knots are leaking sap. May have been a bad idea to use untreated wood. I have heard that you can still stain the treated stuff.

I added several new coats of stain to it just about a week ago. Looks shiny and new now.

thanks for looking

Let me know if you have more questions.

-- Logan

View Logan Craig's profile

Logan Craig

42 posts in 3015 days

#6 posted 05-06-2012 12:39 AM

I see now that I said the plans I used called for 2×4s and I used 2×6s, but the plans I just linked to call for 2×6s. I sure can’t remember that far back. Pretty sure those are the correct plans, maybe I was mistaken in my original post…

-- Logan

View Logan Craig's profile

Logan Craig

42 posts in 3015 days

#7 posted 10-31-2014 07:34 AM

So I moved from Virginia to Wyoming and left the ol’ Pickinick table with my brother and his wife and two kids. They train horses for eventing and hunting and such. They’ve had the thing for about a year now and I enjoyed some wieners with the nephews and nieces on it. Then the other day I get this picture from my sister in law.

-- Logan

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics