Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Picnic Table Benches...Finally!

Last winter, we spent one snowy day making a picnic table.  It's a nice table, and we've gotten a lot of use out of it.  But our benches, according to at least 50% of household correspondents, were more eyesore and lawn-mowing inconvenience than rustic and charming.

Picnic table with snow
The original version was 2 x 6s on top of logs. 

Aesthetic debate aside, the original design was simple and sturdy.  Under the logs was a reliable source of fishing bait.  But despite those practical advantages, it's true that the hassle of moving them every time we mowed was a bit of a drawback.  So, making a set of proper benches got added to the to-do list.  And now, a mere 12 months later, we get to cross it off!

Picnic table bench end view
Like we did for the picnic table, we used our gate brace math spreadsheet to calculate the angles on end pieces--the width is 11" (two 2 x 6 boards-worth) and the height is 16", which turns out to be just about right for our picnic table.

Picnic table bench support
We added a 2 x 4 to keep the legs from buckling and an angle piece for extra stability.  The span between the legs is about six feet, so the middle bows a little when we sit on it.  We'll add a 2 x 4 block to help with that if the flexing boards become too unnerving.

Picnic table with benches
Admittedly, the aesthetics of the complete set may also be slightly improved.

What do your picnic benches look like?


  1. Hey that looks pretty much like ours! Will you stain or paint them, or leave them natural?

    1. Probably leave them natural...eventually they'll break down, and we feel better about burning the scraps if they don't have any finish on them.

      I suppose there are natural finishes that would still make them last a little longer and wouldn't be as bad as paint, for example, but they're sturdy and functional now, which means they're slipping down the list of priorities. :-)

  2. Hey that looks pretty much like ours! Will you stain or paint them, or leave them natural?