Completed picnic table and benches
Photo: Kolin Smith


Lots of you, including reader Lana Helms, told us that every family should own a wood picnic table. But not just any table. Reader Jean-Guy Marion hides his under the deck because "it's not the prettiest thing to look at." This trestle-and-slat design from This Old House contributor Christopher Beidel, owner of Pernt, in Brooklyn, New York, should resolve Jean-Guy's aesthetic quibbles. We hope it works for reader Lisa Emery, who says, "We're searching for a table that is welcoming and functional. One ready for corn on the cob, potato salad, apple pie, and the Fourth of July." Ready when you are—turn the page and get started. But save room for next month's dish: a matching cedar icebox.

Lumber: Grade A or better 5⁄4x6 western red cedar,
$4.44 per linear foot; Kuiken Brothers Company, Inc.

Download and print the picnic table and benches cut list.
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    Tools List

    • 30-foot tape measure
      Measuring tape
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • adjustable clamp
    • straight edge
    • router
      Router with a ¾-inch straight bit
    • bar clamp
      Bar clamps
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • 3/8-inch doweling jig
      -inch doweling jig. Go to Rockler
    • drill
    • 3/8-inch twist bit
      -inch twist bit
    • 1/8-inch bit with combination countersink
      -inch bit with a combination countersink
    • 1/8-inch twist bit
      -inch twist bit
    • circular saw
      Circular saw

    Shopping List

    1. 5/4x4. Get three 8-footers for the benches and one 10-footer for the table.

    2. 5/4x6. Get two 8-footers for the benches and seven 10-footers for the table.

    3. 5/4x10. Get one 6-footer for the table.

    4. -by-2-inch spiral-cut

    5. wood dowels

    6. exterior-grade wood glue

    7. ¾-inch brass or stainless-steel screws

    8. 1½-inch deck screws