4x4 Picnic Table - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 5 Old 10-15-2015, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 40
View LostHasher's Photo Album My Photos
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.

--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".

--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.

Attached Images

Last edited by LostHasher; 10-15-2015 at 12:37 PM.
LostHasher is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 10-16-2015, 12:39 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,885
View woodchux's Photo Album My Photos
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.
woodchux is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 10-16-2015, 03:28 PM
Senior Member
Brian T.'s Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: McBride, BC
Posts: 2,648
View Brian T.'s Photo Album My Photos
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.
Brian T. is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 5 Old 10-17-2015, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 40
View LostHasher's Photo Album My Photos
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.
LostHasher is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 10-17-2015, 11:02 AM
Senior Member
Brian T.'s Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: McBride, BC
Posts: 2,648
View Brian T.'s Photo Album My Photos
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?
Brian T. is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My new router table epicfail48 Project Showcase 3 10-15-2015 02:22 PM
Spare Table saw top as a table saw extension? dudedudedude Power Tools & Machinery 3 10-14-2015 07:09 PM
Wolfcraft 6157 router table. dbhost Tool Reviews 2 10-02-2015 07:22 PM
High Gloss Table Top Leo G Project Showcase 17 08-24-2015 09:12 AM
farm table construction advice tws General Woodworking Discussion 6 08-20-2015 12:30 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome