Do you have that slice of hidden talent that perhaps has been lying dormant for some time? If so, it’s time to throw off those shackles and launch into a project that will prove highly satisfying to you and your family, and be a very useful addition to your patio or deck.
The new generation of octagonal and hexagonal picnic tables not only look fantastic but they also are very practical in the way that they can seat so many people. They are also simple to construct by the home handyman with the minimum of tools. They can come in various sizes to seat from 6 to 16 and even larger. Bare in mind that large tables are difficult to transport on the road and so this is another good reason to be building it yourself.
All you need is a bit of enthusiasm, a little bit of practical know-how in working with lumber, a few wood working tools and a good set of picnic table plans.
When looking for plans, check out how it is constructed. Some are much more stable than others, some have a lot of unnecessary woodwork underneath for bracing interfering with leg room.. The plans should give you a money back guarantee and provide e mail support if something should go wrong. Make sure that your plans allow for a hole for an umbrella in the middle.
Every cut on an hexagonal picnic table is at 60 degrees. All of the cuts on an octagonal table are either 60 degrees or 45 degrees and you could do all of the cuts with a miter box and a hand saw. A circular skillsaw would save a lot of time and effort while a compound drop arm miter saw would be the ultimate if you have one. (Or maybe borrow or hire one for a weekend?) Other tools required would be hammer, drill and hole saw, tape measure, small hand plane and a straight edge.
The lumber required varies with the different plans and you just need to be able to access the sizes required. The most common type of lumber used is pine and this will need to be pressure treated for outside use so that it can withstand the weathering of the elements. Other lumber can be used if you have access to it. Tables have been made from teak, kwila, redwood, douglas fir and many others. Just check with your lumber merchant about the practicalities and prices of using these. Using dry lumber will ensure that gaps don’t open up as the boards dry.
When it comes to putting the table top on there are several ways of doing it. The most effective as far as looks is concerned is to have the top that is segmented into 6 or 8 sectors depending upon whether it is a hexagon or an octagon. This does take a little bit of patience and accuracy to get it looking right with all of the pieces fitting without gaps but the finished job will be well worth it.