Vanessa's X Picnic Table
Inspired by Vanessa's amazing X table, this plan enables just about anyone to build an indoor or outdoor x table for the dining space. These free do it yourself plans to build a modern style x picnic table feature step by step diagrams, suitable for beginner woodworkers.
3 – 2×6, 12′ Length
1 – 2×6, 8′ or Stud Length
1 – 2×4, 8′ or stud length
1 – 2×2, 8′ Length
7 – 1×4, 8′ Length
1 1/4″ Wood Screws
2″ Wood Screws
2 1/2″ Wood Screws
Finishing Supplies (Wood Filler, Paint, Stain, Sandpaper, Sealer)
2 – 2×4 @ 38 1/2″ (Ends mitered back at 45 degrees as shown in step 1)
5 – 1×4 @ 30″ (Supports)
7 – 2×6 @ 71 3/4″ (Tabletop Boards)
2 – 1×4 @ 61 3/4″ (Side Aprons)
4 – 1×4 @ 40 1/4″ (Ends cut at 45 degrees, parallel)
8 – 1×4 @ 20 1/8″ (ONE end mitered down 45 degrees off square, measure to fit on legs)
1 – 2×2 @ 64 3/4″ (Stretcher)
Work on a clean level surface using straight boards. Be safe, wear hearing, eye and any other safety equipment that is necessary. Predrill and countersink all of your screw holes. Always use glue. Check for square after each step. Remember, you can click the photos for a larger view.
When you are making parallel cuts (for example, the legs) at an angle simply set your miter saw to a 45 degree angle. Then make the first cut as close to the end as possible. Measure from the edge, long point to short point and make a mark. Cut. Then simply slide your board down to make remaining cuts. If you do not have a miter saw, I intentionally set all the angles at 45 degrees. So to cut a 45 degree angle on a 1×4 board, you can simply measure 3 1/2″ from the point and make a mark. Then draw a line from the point to the mark – this is shown in the below diagram. You can do this with other width boards when cutting a 45 degree angle, just use the width of the board as a guide.
Cut your apron ends as shown above. The angles on the ends are 45 degrees. You will need to cut 2 of these.
Start by marking your table side aprons (the 1x4s 61 3/4″ long) every 10″ (this does not have to come out exact). Use these marks to guide you as you attach the supports, as shown above. Use 2″ screws and glue. Then screw the side aprons to the end aprons from step 1. Make sure you square your project at this step.
Use 2 1/2″ screws and glue to fasten your tabletop boards as shown above. Remember, if you want to use your table for outdoor purposes, you should leave a 1/4″ gap between the boards. You can use a flat carpenters pencil as a guide. This will increase your overhang on the ends by approximately 3/4″, if you choose to ad spacing between your boards.
One tip a reader suggested is examining the ends of your boards. Each board will have a “bark” side or a side that the grain bends away from. Alternate the bark side up and the bark side down as you lay your tabletop boards. That way if your boards do “move” as wood can do, the boards will expand in a complimentary fashion, minimizing any tabletop warping.
image from About.com
If you are using the table outdoors, bark side down will avoid cupping, and create better water drainage. The above photo is an exaggeration, but even the slightest amount of crowning will keep water (the enemy) from pooling on top of your outdoor table.
Legs, Part 1
Begin building your legs by attaching two of the longer pieces together, as shown above. Simply lay two legs on top of each other, using the measurements shown above to guide you and screw together. Don’t fasten to the table yet!
Legs, Part 2
Finish the legs by attaching the remaining leg trim pieces using 1 1/4″ screws and glue. Hide your screw holes by attaching from the insides. Then using the 2 1/2″ screws, fasten the legs to the side aprons, centering the legs on the side apron.
Your table is going to need something to keep the legs from spreading appart – think dragging the table from the end. The amount of leverage on those top screws would be quite strong. So to keep your table together you can do a cross braces from the center of the Xs to the underside of the table. But I choose to keep this super simple and do a 2×2 as a stretcher so that most any beginner could tackle this project. Simply use the 2 1/2″ screws to screw the stretcher to the legs, in the centers of the X. TIP – once one side is fastened, use a level to determine where the other side should be fastened.