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Building a picnic table

January 16, 2013

A picnic table is a backyard classic. This simple piece of outdoor furniture is a multi tasker, serving as a dining area, a work surface and even a potting bench. Making your own picnic table is an easy and economical DIY project. Build one for the outdoor entertaining season and it will give you years and years of use.

Construction of this picnic table is straightforward, but you'll need to take the time to make the cuts accurately — especially the angled cuts for the table legs and braces. Remember the old carpenter's rule: measure twice, cut once.

To build this picnic table, cut and assemble the table slats and supports, then screw on the legs. Braces provide lateral support, while supports screwed to the legs hold the bench slats in place.

Step 1. Assembling the top.

Cut the 2x8 table slats to length with a circular saw. Then cut the three table supports. Cut a 60-degree angle on each end of the two end table supports and a 60-degree bevel on the end of the center table support.

Step 2. Clamp the table slats together, separated by spacers.

Place the table supports on the slats: the two end ones on edge 7 inches from the end, and the middle one flat and centered. Drill holes with a combination countersink bit, drilling deep enough to set the screw heads below the surface.

Step 3. Driving screws.

Drive screws in the two outermost slats only, so that the support can be moved later in the construction, if necessary. Screw the two end table supports to the slats with #8 4-inch deck screws. Attach the center table support to the slats with #8 2 1/2-inch deck screws.

Step 4. Adding the legs and supports.

Cut the table legs about an inch longer than needed. Draw a 60-degree cutting angle at each end of the legs, positioned to give you the proper length. Cut the legs at the marks with a circular saw.

Tools and Materials:

  • Bar clamps
  • Carriage bolts
  • C-clamps
  • Circular saw
  • Combination square
  • Deck screws
  • Drill and bits
  • Four bench slats 1 1/2 inch x 5 1/2 inch x 68 inch
  • Four table legs 1 1/2 inch x 5 1/2 inch x 40 1/2 inch
  • Four table slats 1 1/2 inch D x 7 1/4 inch W x 72 inch L
  • Framing square
  • Goggles
  • One center table support 1 1/2 inch x 3 1/2 inch x 28 3/4 inch
  • Ratchet and socket wrench
  • Saber saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Two bench cleats 1 1/2 inch x 3 1/2 inch x 10 inch
  • Two bench supports 1 1/2 inch x 3 1/2 inch x 61 inch
  • Two end table supports 1 1/2 inch x 3 1/2 inch x 28 3/4 inch
  • Two braces 1 1/2 inch x 3 1/2 inch x 30 3/4 inch


Need expert assistance? Visit your local Home Depot store to ask their associates about products or how-to instructions. The Home Depot expert associates are also available to answer your questions online. Visit them here.