Introduction

picnic bench with food on it
Photo: Michael Grimm
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If you wanted to set up a folding table and chairs for your barbecue guests, party planners say you'd need to allot 10 square feet per person to create enough access. Do that on the average deck or patio and your Fourth of July celebration will get so chaotic that it may end with the wrong kind of fireworks. A classic picnic table with attached benches is the perfect solution. This staple of backyards and parks—with its elbow-to-elbow dining and climb-over seating—works in all terrains, so you can move off the deck and onto the grass.
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    Tools List

    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw
    • drill
      Drill/driver, fitted with a 7/16-inch drill bit
    • adjustable wrench
      Adjustable wrench

    Shopping List

    1. Pressure-treated 2x8 You'll need three 8-footers to build the bench crosspieces and legs.

    2. Pressure-treated 2x6 You'll need nine 6-footers to build the top and benches.

    3. Pressure-treated 2x4 You'll need three 6-footers to build the top crosspieces and the braces under the top and bench. 4. 3/8 x 3½-inch exterior grade carriage bolts to attach the bench crosspieces to the legs. You'll need 8.

    5. 3/8-inch washers and nuts. You'll need 8 of each.

    6. 2½-inch deck screws to attach the top, benches and braces.