Here's our Reclaimed Wood Flat Pack Picnic Table With Planter (I know.  It's a mouthful).  There is a gutter running down the center below the tabletop surface that can be filled with ice to put your beers in on a hot day, or for planting herbs (reach across the table to get the freshest seasoning for your food) or decorative plants.  

Making this table flat-pack was an easy decision: neither of us has a truck.  The table was made in pieces: two ends that provide the structure for the table, two center pieces with the tabletop slats, the trough, and the removable legs that simply screw in place.   Disassembly and reassembly take minutes, and everything can be fit in the back of a compact car.

All the wood in this project is reclaimed except for the table legs, which were purchased from Discount Builder's Supply in San Francisco.  As always, the design was influenced by the materials: we would have made the slats go lengthwise, but most of the beautiful pieces of reclaimed redwood we had were short, so they're widthwise instead.  

At the time we made this table, we didn't have access to a jointer or planer, so we sanded our reclaimed wood with palm sanders.  The whole project took us about a week, but it would take far less time with a jointer and planer.

This was made at TechShop San Francisco, TechShop Menlo Park, and in the backyard.  It was inspired in part by Far Out Flora's Succulent Table and Ana White's Outdoor Dining Table.

Note: this Instructable is for the table only.  Another Instructable, for the two matching benches, is coming soon!

See my stuff at KatieJacksonWoodworks.com.

Step 1: Materials and Cutlist

The tabletop is 60 inches by 41 inches.  Our trough is 5 inches wide.

Reclaimed Wood:  

Tabletop: Wood of varying widths, enough to cover a tabletop that is 60"x41", accounting for small gaps between each slat.  These pieces will all be cut in half, and end up being 1"x any width x 17".

     There are also two tabletop end-pieces that are longer.  These are listed below, under "Outer Aprons".

Table Structure:
     2 Inner Aprons:
          (4) 1x4x64 1/2"  (long apron pieces)
          (4) 1x4x10"        (short inner endpieces of the apron)
          (4) 2x4x10"        (table leg supports)

     2 Outer Aprons
          (2) 1x4x25"         (outer end pieces of the apron)
          (2) 1x any width x41" (Long tabletop slats)

[Note: 1x and 2x mean wood that is "one inch" thick and "two inches" thick.  However, that is their nominal size.  A 1x board is usually around 3/4" thick when measured.  1x boards all used to be one inch, but in order to make them flat, a sawmill had to remove some of the thickness.  Generally, when naming the size of a board, the thickness comes first, then the width, then the length, as in 1"x3"x11".  The x-es stand for "by", so you would say, "One by three by eleven".]

Salvaged length of gutter or trough: 6 feet.  You can also use any old bendy sheet metal if you have it.

Table legs and leg attachment hardware: Throughout our project, we looked for some beautiful old table legs, but weren't able to find any.  We bought ours from a hardware store.  They were screw-in legs with metal top plates that attached to the table top.  They were easy to install, but not as sturdy as we'd like.  If we were to go it again, we would come up with an alternative way to attach the legs to keep them removable, but still sturdy.

Screws: a box of 1 1/4" and a box of 2".  Make sure your screws are outdoor friendly: I used decking screws.

I used a nail gun with 1 1/2" nails and wood glue to attach the top slats to the tabletop supports.  If you don't have that, I recommend using screws and a screw gun.

(8) 3/8" bolts, with one nut and two washers for each.

<p>My OCD is tingling - one bench is missing a screw on the short side :P</p>
This looks great and is perfectly timed! I just saw a picture of a table w/trough in This Old House magazine and was contemplating how to build something out a pile of pallets I just tore apart. This even looks better than what I was thinking of doing! Can't wait to see the bench 'ible!
<p>I feel you!</p>
Thank your for your kind words! I'll definitely check out that table in This Old House!
<p>I know I'm late for the party...First I love this table I'm in the process now of building one...you said your going to have the detail on the bench did you include this yet if yes we're can I find it. Thanks in ADV.</p>
<p>lovely flat pack hack there!</p>
<p>nice work</p>
Nice table. I'm going for the benches, though. Since I've already got two frames for other projects, I'll just go ahead and cut a bunch of pallet wood to make the seat, and the legs. I'll post pix later.
Amazing. Very nice :) <br>It looks neat &amp; durable too.
I cannot wait to build this!
I'd love to see pictures when you do!
The trough is freakin genius!! Kudos!
congretulations, this is a very clever job. <br>i'm fan
(Forgive this not being a reply to your reply.. the site won't let me due to a bug not showing the Captcha). Thanks! Didn't realize a place like that was so close to me downtown. I'll post pics when I'm done making the table on the 13th!
Cool! I can't wait to see! I built this one mostly at Techshop SF, so all the machines in the pictures are all the ones you'll be using!
Was there a place here in SF that you could rent the bigger wood working equipment at? I have a ton of outdoor space in my apartment and love a good excuse to get new tools but a circular saw is not yet justifiable. <br> <br>Would love to find a place I could rent by the hour and do the work there. <br> <br>Table looks spectacular!
Techshop is good. There's one in soma and one in menlo park. There are also a few places in the east bay, like Joshua tree, if you are a serious woodworker, and on the peninsula, like Sawdust, if you are more of a hobbyist. I've heard great things about both those places. The crucible in oakland also had a woodworking area.
congratulations on your win!
A very hearty congratulations on your win! Your Instructable is quality stuff, you deserve it!
This is a great instructable, but I wish it had focused on some of the tool use, that would have made it perfect, Great Table
this is beautiful
Beyond excellent. What a fabulous project, bravo!
Really nice work!
Super inspiring! Thanks for sharing.
Love it! The trough in the center is such an awesome touch.
omg, love this so much
Very nice work
Beautiful! Love how you used all the old wood!
Great Job
I just love this! The wood looks so nice and I love the trough :D
This is a very well done project and an excellent Instructable. <br> <br>Duly voted. :)
Thanks! Your mini-popovers look ace.
Wow, nicely done!
It really ties the yard together.
That is pretty cool. Do you have any ideas where you can get reclaimed wood? I have never heard this term before, but then again I am a novice.
I will write an article on this if you're interested! <br>
Looks Amazing
Looks Amazing

About This Instructable


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Bio: Katie Jackson, working in reclaimed wood. KatieJacksonWoodworks.com
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