Summer's here, so isn't it time you built yourself a superior picnic table, and asked your friends round for a barbeque?
The next two steps will offer you the chance to watch my build on YouTube, and to pick up FREE plans for the bench. After that, it's down to the instructions.
Step 1: Watch the Video Series
Step 2: Get the FREE Plans
( http://www.womadeod.co.uk/p/blog-page_9.html )
Step 3: Get Some Lumber
The dimensions are pretty standard, so you could most likely buy seasoned, kiln-dried, hard or softwood, even pressure treated lumber, off the shelf, from your local supplier.
You could probably get the lumber cut to length there too.
You'll find all the dimensions in the FREE plans ( http://www.womadeod.co.uk/p/blog-page_9.html )
Step 4: Cut to Length
Lay them all out, with chalk or a lumber crayon, on the lumber first. Start with the largest components, and fit the smaller ones in last.
Try to avoid any knots close to the joint areas, and consider the figure of the wood to achieve a pleasing look when built. For example, I selected book matched boards for the bench tops.
Step 5: Cut the Mortises I
I cut the mortises with a collar guided router and a 1/2" straight bit. The template was made in 1/4" ply, using a jigsaw, and is simply a rectangle large enough so that the router bit would cut a 1" x 3" mortise. Centre lines make positioning it easy.
It was a long router bit, but not quite long enough...
Step 6: Cut the Mortises II
Step 7: Cut the Mortises III
Step 8: Tip for Cutting the Shorter, Seat Mortises
Step 9: Forming the Feet
I removed most of the waste with the band saw, and then cleaned it up. First with a straight bit in the router, which cut most of the depth. And then with a bearing guided straight bit, from the opposite side.
Step 10: Cutting the Tenons
Then the cheek cuts were made using my tenoning jig on the table saw. Once again, you could cut this by hand.
Step 11: Fitting the Mortise and Tenon Joints I - Main Joints
If you cut the full width mortises and tenons accurately, they should now be a sliding fit. Make any necessary adjustments with a chisel.
Step 12: Fitting the Mortise and Tenon Joints II - Seat Joint
As you fit each joint, why not label it, as I have. This makes assembly so much easier. I carved Roman numerals on mine, but numbering them with chalk would do.
Step 13: Foot Rail I - Cutting to Length
My home made cross cut guide rail made this a piece of cake with the circular saw.
Step 14: Foot Rail II - Starting the Lap Joint
The thin slices of waste are then removed. First by breaking much of them off with a hammer...
Step 15: Foot Rail III - Finishing the Lap Joint
The finished lap joint should end up looking like the photo, and is secured with a single screw through the centre.
Step 16: Bracing I - Mortises on the Foot Rail
Step 17: Bracing II - Tenon and Birds Mouth
The opposite end of the brace receives a birds mouth, to lock it into the table rail. This gets secured with a single screw into the rail.
Step 18: Chamfer the Ends
In the green oak, the short grain chamfers were much quicker to produce with a wide chisel (as shown), but a block plane would be easier on seasoned timber.
Step 19: Chamfer the Edges and Relieve Corners
The corners of the table top and seats were relieved to aid movement around the bench. This was done by sawing the corner off at forty five degrees, and chamfering the new face.
Step 20: Attaching the Slats I - Drilling Bearer Holes
Angling the screws helps to prevent them being pulled out, and to facilitate this I made a guide block. This was just a block of wood with an angled hole drilled through it, sized to align a hole through the bearer in a suitable place. The block is clamped to the bearer and the hole drilled through. This required an extra long drill bit, which was easy to source from the local tool store.
Step 21: Attaching the Slats II - a Kind of Pocket Hole
If you can't get hold of this type of bit, you can counter sink the hole and use longer screws.
Step 22: Finishing Off
I assembled the bench with my carved joint numbers pointing out, and added the date, just as an extra feature.
This green oak will turn a lovely silver grey after about a year, and needs no protective treatment at all.
Some timbers will need protection to survive outdoors, so check with your supplier and treat accordingly.
Step 23: Sit Down and Enjoy Your Creation
Please like, share, and comment if you found it interesting.
Happy times at your picnic bench,