Building a Benchless Picnic Table Building a Benchless Picnic Table

A picnic table represents a gathering place outside, but people with mobility issues may not be able to enjoy the gathering. A benchless picnic table allows for someone in a wheelchair to sit comfortably outside. A benchless picnic table is also perfect for buffet or family style parties. Follow the simple instructions below to build your own.

Tools and Materials:

  • 48-inch long tomato stakes (2)
  • String
  • 4x6-inch posts, 5-feet long (3)
  • Auger
  • Gravel
  • Concrete
  • Water
  • Level
  • Plumb bob
  • 2x12-inch lumber, 12-feet long (5)
  • 2x2-inch lumber, 4-feet long (3)
  • Drill
  • ½-inch bit
  • ½-inch long by ½-inch diameter bolts (4)
  • ½-inch diameter washers
  • ½-inch diameter nuts
  • 6-inch long by ½-inch diameter lag bolts (3)
  • Ratchet
  • Tape measure
  • Mallet
  • Clamps
  • Lag bolt screwdriver

Step 1 - Stake the Area

This type of benchless picnic table is going to be installed directly into the ground so that it will be a permanent fixture. You first need to stake out where it will go. Choose where you want the picnic table and hammer a stake in place. Tie the end of a string to the stake, measure from the first stake 12 feet out and place the second stake. Stretch the string to the other stake and tie it.

Step 2 - Installing the Posts

Dig 3 holes using the auger that are 24 inches deep and 15 inches in diameter. The holes need to be in a straight line. Begin in the center of the first stake and measure 5½-feet toward the second post and dig your first hole. Remove the stakes and create the next two post holes.

Put a post in each hole and fill it with gravel. Mix the concrete and pour it into the holes. You want the concrete to form a slight hump or mound. Adjust the posts as needed using the level and plumb bob to make sure they are even and straight.

Step 3 - Make the Picnic Table Top

Place the five 12-feet long pieces of lumber onto your work surface with the 2-inch sides butting against each other. Make sure the pieces are lined up. Measure 6 inches from each end, and place a 4-feet long piece of lumber across the boards. Lay the third piece of lumber across the boards at the center between the other two boards. Clamp the ends of the smaller boards to the larger boards.

Drill holes that are ½-inch in diameter in the center of each bracing board. Make sure they're centered over the boards below. Place a washer on each bolt and push them through the holes you just made. On the other side of the top add another washer and nut then tighten them by hand.

Step 4 - Attach the Top

Put the top you just finished over the posts after the concrete has cured. Line it up so that the center board of the picnic table top is over the 3 posts. Use the drill again to create a hole through the center board and the center of the posts. Install a lag bolt into each hole and tighten them with the lag bolt screwdriver. Use the ratchet to give each nut an extra twist.

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