Saturday, April 5, 2014

Joe's Picnic Table

Long time no post! We've been pretty busy around here lately. Between the last blog post and now, I don't think I hardly had a free night to blog! First, Joe and I went to Rolla for St. Pat's and it was just as much fun as I had hoped/remembered. Though it did make me wonder how we ever survived Rolla in the first place. As soon as we got home from Rolla, I packed my bags and headed back out the door for a week long work trip. My work trip consisted of driving around West Virginia and Kentucky. It was a bit of a mess trying to get to West Virginia in the first place because of a snow storm, but once we finally got there, the weather was beautiful. The best part of that trip for me was stumbling upon the Blenko Glass Factory and buying one of their signature pitchers. The guys I was traveling with kept giving me a hard time about being so excited about this pitcher, but ever since I saw a PBS special about Blenko Glass I've wanted one! Here's a link to what I'm talking about: Blenko Glass. (Prepare to be underwhelmed haha)

The same day I got back from Kentucky, we had some friends and family coming into town to visit for the night and the weekend. It was great to catch up with all of them and we even squeezed in some time to go bowling and do some shopping. Then Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights were spent preparing for our trip to San Francisco and for the baby shower that we hosted last night. Since we were only going to have 1 night between the baby shower and getting home from San Fran, I tried to do as much as possible before we left. Bright and early Wednesday morning we hopped on a plane to California! San Francisco was amazing and I will most likely be devoting 2 blog posts to it soon, so I won't talk about it too much now. This post is supposed to be about our awesome new deck table that Joe built!

I can take VERY little credit for this table. Beyond some help on finalizing the design and standing on pieces to hold them in place during the building process, Joe did all the work. Which is probably good because Joe is much more of a perfectionist than I am when it comes to these types of things and that's kind of important when building furniture haha. His attention to detail paid off because this thing is SOLID. We based the design off a very similar table at Restoration Hardware. Their version is over $5800!!! Granted, it's made out of teak and ours is cedar, but STILL. If I had that kind of money laying around to spend on a dining table, then well... I don't know what I'd do with it. :) Invest it or something. Our table cost a total of about $150.

Joe started the work on this table by making a model in Google Sketchup and making different variations of lengths, leg styles, and leg spacing until we found the one that was just right. We were able to use a lot of leftover lumber from building the deck, but we did still have to buy a few boards. You can see in the next few process pictures that pretty much all of the connections are made using pocket holes that we drilled using our Kreg Jig. Joe started by building both of the X end pieces. He used various clamps to hold them all together while attaching them with pocket screws.

Then he made the table top. He separated the boards with nails to get even spacing. Then he clamped them across the width and used cedar 1x4s to tie all the boards together across the underside of the table top. These connections weren't done with pocket screws, but were attached from the bottom side so there wouldn't be any fasteners visible from the top.

Once the table top and the two X ends were done, he laid the table top down with the bottom side up, and attached the 2 "X" ends with more pocket screws. Once those were attached he was able to add the cross bracing pieces.

The final part was to trim the ends of the the table top boards off so they're all even. To do this, Joe tacked a yard stick to the bottom side of the table top to use as a guide for his circular saw. This made it super easy to get a nice straight cut.

Overall Joe said it was pretty simple construction, but making all the angled cuts and attaching the angled pieces on the Xs were kind of tricky. He also had to make sure that the end pieces where perfectly square and level so that the table wouldn't wobble or be slanted. I'd say it turned out about as perfect as possible! I can't wait to get some good use out of this table this summer. I guess we first need some chairs though.

Well, that post got out of hand pretty quick. Stay tuned for picture overload from San Francisco! I hope you're all doing well and having a nice springtime! Thanks for reading!


  1. Nice job Joe! Looks really sturdy and should last a long time! - Phil

  2. Looking forward to playing summertime P's&A's on that thing. ;) Looks great, Joe! - Claire