4x4 Picnic Table - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-15-2015, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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4x4 Picnic Table

Goals of this Project:
Replace the picnic table that my landlord destroyed... and reuse as much scrap as possible. I had a lot of 4x4s from a deck I had to tear down.

4-foot Picnic Table
--Reclaimed 4x4s; pieces cut around all metal spikes and major splits.
--Reclaimed 1x6 deck boards.
--Table is an original design: 90-degree cuts only, taking advantage of extra stability of 4x4s.
--Very long screws from deck job dating back 4 years; used to avoid buying carriage bolts/nuts/washers. Between 3 and 4 screws “toe-nailed” at each connection.
--Framing angles and joist hanger nails: $15. (Only cost of project.)

Table Foundation
--Reclaimed concrete squares and halves.

Pathway
--130+ bricks from old walkway found under ivy, dug up by hand.
--Bricks kept above ground as a proactive way to avoid irritating landlord.

Notes on the Design
There are very few free plans for picnic tables online, and definitely none for 4x4's. Mother Earth News had free plans for a 4-foot table using 2x4's, which I converted. The important measurements for picnic tables are:

--Seats (benches) of average picnic tables are between 16 and 18 inches high. I picked 17.
--Tops of average picnic tables are about 12 inches higher than the benches.
--You need to have space between the table top and benches to get your feet into, and to sit comfortably. That works out if your bench and table supports are the correct lengths. My two bench supports were 59 inches long. My table supports were 28 inches long. ***I did not find the average spacing for this... I just got lucky.
--You need the nine 48" deck boards to hang over the frame a bit. I picked 4 inches on each side.
--You need spacing between the deck boards. I picked the width of a speed square... 3/16". Worked well/looks good.

The Cuts
Since all these cuts were 90 degrees, all other measurements were simple addition and subtraction. Example:
--For the legs, you start at 17 inches, which is the height of the bench. Subtract 1" for the deck boards and 3 1/2" for the bench supports. That means the legs are 12 1/2".

Warnings
--Human reaction to this table is "it's cute." People obviously aren't used to seeing 4' picnic tables. My wife loves it though.
--If I made a longer table, I would not use 4x4s. Might be a bit heavy. This 4-foot table is still nice to move.
--You need to know how to toe-nail well, or spend more money on joist hangers/metal supports.
--There's a 33" support piece underneath the table, where your knees would be, running parallel to the deck boards. You can see it in the pic, butting into the bench supports. That piece is the only one not supported by the legs.

-lh
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Last edited by LostHasher; 10-15-2015 at 01:37 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-16-2015, 01:39 PM
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Picnic tables come in a variety of sizes and shapes - just like the one designing/building it. Your table looks like it will satisfy your needs. If you need to move it (often), consider adding a set of wheels to one end. Thanks for sharing, and be safe.
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-16-2015, 04:28 PM
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Well-designed use of reclaimed materials. I like the massive design. Fortunate that you had the materials to bring it off. 48" is plenty for a lunch for 2. Hope the benches are sliver-free!

I live in the land of new freight pallets = we grow them here. 48x48, I add 1x2 in the gaps and add legs angled outward 15 degrees. Right now, 3 in the veg garden and 4 elsewhere on the lawn.
Unfinished, they can live out there until they rot. Lunches, projects, washing vegetables, most useful.
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-17-2015, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Not even a suggestion of slivers. Now I want to add wheels... just because.

More common pallet here is 40x48. Thanks to the Pallet Growers of Canada, I've collected enough heat-treated ones to make a double composter. Just searched for "pallet table" and saw how easy it is. That might be the project that makes me pony up for a framing gun.
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-17-2015, 12:02 PM
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McBride is a little mountain village of maybe 500. Must be 50+ of us heat our homes with pellet stoves. They arrive as 50 x 40lb bags on a new pallet. I run between 4 and 5 tons per winter.
Pallets here? You cannot give them away. Fortunately, we have what's called a Transfer Station for just about anything from kitchen garbage to used oil, tires, old propane tanks. . . and pallets.

Right now, I'm pushing for a "Freight Pallet Challenge" for wood workers in the district.
With no more wood than is in a single pallet, what can you build?
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