Thursday, May 20, 2010

DIY Picnic Table from Knockoff Wood

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably caught wind of my latest project.  I was cursing the rains as they were threatening to ruin my perfectly timed two-day project.  And here it is, thanks to the weather, which finally cooperated splendidly.  My first DIY wood working project and my family's new pride and joy - the picnic table:

Over the past few months, I've been so inspired reading all of the plans and scrolling through hundreds of photos on Ana White's blog, Knockoff Wood.  I've also been desperately wanting a picnic table for dining and somewhere to park my computer while my kids are playing in their new clubhouse.  I looked everywhere for an inexpensive (or even reasonably priced table), but I was finding them on Craigslist (used and far away from our home) for $90, and to buy them at a store was almost $200 in certain places.  So, I turned to these plans, generously provided by Ana, and decided I could do-it-myself.

The goal was to build a beautiful table that my whole family could use and to do it for as little money as possible.  Total cost for the project was $62 and that includes stain and hardware.  Here's the story of how it all came together.

Here are all of my boards after I ripped (some of them - more on that later), cut, sanded and stained them. A tip: if you follow Ana's plans, draw your 30 degree angles on the table legs and your 25 degree angles on your center table supports before you cut the boards.  She suggests cutting the boards to 33 inches and 28.5 inches respectively.  However, if you cut the boards to length before cutting the angles, you won't have enough board to cut both parallel angles.  I know this sounds complicated now, but trust me, it will all make sense when you read the plans.  Other than that, Ana's plans were spot on and SO easy to follow.  I can't wait to make another one of her projects.

Then I stained all of the boards with Duckback Transparent Deck Stain in Canyon Brown.  It runs at $16.99/per half-gallon can, and according to my trusty hardware store advisor, it will stain and seal my table while protecting it from the intense Colorado sun.  You can see the difference between the raw pine and the stained board.  I primarily used builder-grade pine purchased at my local hardware store, but I do have some fun (and random) reclaimed wood which I'll describe later.

Here you can see the final finish.  I love the honey tones that it brought out in the pine. 

Remember my goal of maximizing my results while minimizing my dollars spent?  My dad, we'll call him Grandpa Hausfrau, had a couple of VERY old 2"x10" boards lying in his garage.  They were left from the previous owner when my parents moved into their house five years ago.  They were in rough shape, but we saw a diamond in the rough.  We used the table saw, ripped them down to 2"x4" size and sanded until their natural beauty shown through.  The lower support piece (holding up the seat pieces) and the legs are the reclaimed wood.  You can see how the stain highlighted the bumps and bruises and brings the wood back to life. You can also see the remainder of a 2"x6" that is currently supporting the table.  The area that we chose to place the table isn't quite flat, so I still need to move some dirt to make sure the table sits level.  Meanwhile, the board is shoring up the downhill leg.

I learned a ton of new skills in making this project, including countersinking screws.  See how nicely those came out on the seat? Most of these skills were due to the patience and guidance of my dad, who bit his lip when I broke not one, not two - but three of his drillbits while pre-dilling my screw holes.  Thanks for your partnership and patience, Dad!

And after two days of work - one to cut, sand and stain, and one to assemble - I have an amazing picnic table for my family and I've crossed one of the projects off my summer to-do list.  In the background, you can see the boys' clubhouse which still needs the trim finished and painted - yet another project.

Finally, the amazing backdrop that we have in the new picnic area.  We ate at the table tonight, and then sat on the rocks watching nine elk run through the meadow across the street and gorge themselves on grass.  A pretty perfect day, if I do say so myself!

Transformation Thursday

Decor Mamma
Keeping It Simpletoolsareforwomentoo


  1. Oh my goodness! I am incredibly impressed and inspired by this project! You did an amazing job, and I am sure the table will get a ton of use this summer and for many summers to come.

  2. Such a great job! That Ana is so inspiring! I hope you show off more of your projects soon! You did a great job!

  3. Great job! Don't you love knock off wood. in my post is the bunk beds we made from her site. What a great backyard you have! Makes me want to go camping! Wish I had a forest or backyard like that!

  4. Hello sweet Sara - I'm a new follower of your blog via The Inspired Room! I love your new picnic table! You have amazing skills! And that clubhouse is so cool too! Thank you for sharing.


  5. That looks REALLY nice, very well made!! Nice work! Cute blog, too, by the way :)

  6. WOW that is beautiful! Great job! : )

  7. never cease to impress me, my dear friend!

  8. Perfect! I made a table for my girls and one for a birthday party! Yours looks amazing! Isn't it fun to build stuff, I think I use tools more than my husband!

  9. Wow that looks great!!! I would love one of these, thanks for the inspiration!

  10. You are truely a Modern Craftswoman! Thanks for sharing and helping to make this the most successful Modern Craftswoman Monday so far! Rory


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