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It seats as much as 8, however nobody has to straddle a leg.

Editor’s word: this text initially appeared in American Woodworker #154.

Every summer time, my uncle Bob tends the grill at our household gatherings and is the final one to the picnic desk. He at all times will get caught with a center seat. We’d cheer him on as he groaned and struggled to get into it—lots of enjoyable, however not a reasonably sight.

Last fall, at our Labor Day feast, I resolved to construct a brand new picnic desk with seats that each particular person may slip proper into. I name it the Crisscross, after the form of its base. This one’s for you, Bob.

Crisscross Picnic Table Cut List

Hardware List

  • 1 Box 4″ deck screws
  • 1 Box 2″ deck screws
  • Eight 5/16″ x 3-1/2″ lag screws
    and washers
  • 16 1/4″ x 3″ carriage bolts,
  • with nuts and washers
  • Four 1/4″ x 4″ carriage bolts, with nuts and washers

Fig. A) Exploded View

Fig. B) Stretcher Details

Fig. C) Stretcher Details

Fig. D) Top Layout

Fig. E) Trammel

Fig. F) Seat Pattern

The wooden

I began designing the desk for traditional 2×6 lumber, however someday a buddy prompt that I exploit a brand new materials: thermally modified wooden. It’s Southern yellow pine that’s been heated to a really excessive temperature, making it rot-resistant. The course of additionally provides the wooden a lovely chocolate colour, inside and outside, which properly enhances our dwelling’s cedar shakes and the substitute stone beneath it. The boards are amazingly flat and secure. I needed to attempt it! 

My good friend builds decks for a dwelling. He had a bunch of thermally modified wooden left over from a job—sufficient to construct this desk. I gladly provided to purchase it and had a good time working with it, though I did have to change my plans a bit. The wooden I used is thinner and narrower than commonplace materials. (It’s 1-1/4″ thick and 5″ large; commonplace boards are normally 1-3/8″ thick and 5-1/4″ large.)

You’ll want about 24 items of 8′ lengthy 2x6s to construct this desk. The reducing checklist will work positive for those who’re utilizing commonplace lumber, however your prime will probably be 9 boards large, moderately than ten. Let’s get going!

Build the cross stretchers

1. Cut the 4 crisscross stretchers of the bottom to the identical size. Miter their ends at 22-1/2°. All miter saws have a detent for this generally used angle.

Begin by making the crisscross stretchers (A). Saw them to size, reducing angles on their ends (Photo 1). Cut dadoes in the midst of each bit utilizing a router or a tablesaw (Fig. B).

2. Glue and screw the stretchers collectively. Note the dadoes in the midst of every stretcher. These cutouts are wanted to create a sq. gap massive sufficient for an umbrella pole.

Make the items that go between the stretchers: the top spacers (B) and center spacers (C). Using an exterior yellow glue, glue and screw these items to 2 of the stretchers. Sand all of the mating surfaces first, so the glue will adhere higher. (Note that the center spacers are aligned with the edges of the dadoes you simply lower.) Glue and screw a second stretcher on prime of the spacers (Photo 2). You ought to now have two similar stretcher assemblies.

3. Cut half-lap notches within the middle of every stretcher meeting. It’s greatest to make use of a crosscut sled, as proven right here, to forestall this huge piece from wiggling.

These assemblies will nest along with massive half-lap joints. Draw these joints within the middle of every meeting. When you lay out the joints, make sure that one notch will probably be on the highest of the meeting and the opposite notch on the underside. The angled ends are your information as to which facet is prime and which is backside. Cut the notches on the tablesaw (Photo 3). You can use a normal blade or a dado blade. (If you employ a dado blade, don’t take off an excessive amount of in a single chunk.) 

4. Add two legs to every stretcher meeting. Use spacing items to ensure the legs are set on the appropriate angle and place. Use a protracted stage to ensure the tops of the legs are even.

Make the legs (D, Fig. C). Notch the highest of every leg as proven. Round over the underside ends of the legs with a router. To assist assemble the legs, make a pair of spacing items which can be the identical width and size because the portion of the leg that extends beneath the cross stretchers. You can use offcuts from the legs or items of plywood to make these items. Clamp the spacers to the underside of the legs and insert the legs by the stretcher meeting (Photo 4).

Fine-tune the place of the legs by lining up their ends with a protracted stage or straightedge. Once the legs are aligned, clamp them in place. Run two lag screws by the stretchers and the legs (Fig. A).

Finish the bottom

5. Fit the stretcher assemblies collectively. Use handscrews or blocks to carry one meeting upright when you drop the second meeting in place.

Join the 2 stretcher assemblies collectively (Photo 5). For most energy, use glue and screws. If you propose to take the desk aside for transferring or storage (or simply to get it out of the store!), skip the glue and screws.

6. Add braces to the legs for attaching the highest. The lengthy braces have dadoes lower in them to accommodate the umbrella pole.

Make the lengthy braces (E) and brief braces (F). Cut dadoes within the middle of the lengthy braces (Fig. A). These dadoes are outsized so that you don’t must be extraordinarily fussy when positioning the braces. Glue and screw all 4 braces to the legs (Photo 6). 

Add the highest

7. Assemble the highest. Place 8d nails between the boards to create equal gaps. Clamp the boards to maintain them from shifting, then fasten cleats throughout the boards.

Cut the highest boards (G, H and J) to size. Assemble them in a symmetrical sample (Fig. D), utilizing 8d nails or 1/8″ spacers between the items.

Note: If you’re utilizing standard-width lumber to construct this desk, make the highest from 9 items, not ten items as proven.

8. Fasten the bottom to the highest. It’s best to do that on a bench, with the bottom the wrong way up. Before you start, although, ensure you can get the desk out by your store’s door—it’s massive!

Clamp the highest items collectively (Photo 7). Make the highest cleats (Okay) and glue and screw them to the highest boards. Remove the clamps and place the bottom on the highest. Fasten the bottom to the highest (Photo 8). Get some assist and switch the desk over onto the ground.

You can use a jigsaw to chop the highest right into a circle, however a plunge router outfitted with a protracted half″ dia. straight bit will create a smoother floor. To information the router, make a plywood trammel (Fig. E). Mark the middle of the highest and nail the free sq. piece to the desk. Remove the subbase out of your router and fasten the router to the trammel. Place the trammel on the sq. piece nailed to the desk.

9. Rout the highest right into a circle, utilizing a plunge router mounted on a plywood trammel. First, plunge holes on each side of every board to forestall splintering (see 9B). Then rout the complete circle.

Set the router to make a plunge lower all through the highest. To stop the perimeters of the boards from splintering as you rout across the circle, make a sequence of plunge cuts on each side of every board (Photo 9).


Then reset the router to chop one-third of the best way by the highest and rout a full circle. Reset the router to make deeper cuts and hold routing till you’ve lower all through. Use a 1/8″ dia.roundover bit to ease the highest’s edge.

Add the seats

10. Make the seats. Fasten three seat boards along with cleats, like the highest. Then nail a plywood template to the highest of every seat and rout across the template, utilizing a information bushing in your router.

Make the seat boards (L and M) and seat cleats (N). Glue and screw the cleats to the boards (Fig. F). Make certain the cleats are parallel to one another—a plywood spacer would assist right here.

11. Fasten the seats to the bottom. This operation is far simpler if the desk is the wrong way up, however you’ll positively need assistance turning it over!

Make a 1/4″ plywood template for shaping the seats. Nail the template to a seat meeting (Photo 10). Use a plunge router outfitted with a 5/8″ o.d. information bushing and a half″ straight bit to rout across the template. Round over the seats’ edges.

12. Add the legs and a stretcher. Now the seats will help loads of weight—and even just a few rambunctious youngsters leaping on them.

Fasten the seats to the bottom (Photo 11). Make the seat legs (P) and fasten them to the cleats. Make the leg stretchers (Q) and fasten them between the legs (Photo 12).

13. Rout a gap within the middle of the desk for an umbrella pole. Make a template with a gap in it to information your router. Add the umbrella and pour the lemonade!

Drill or rout a gap within the tabletop for the umbrella pole (Photo 13). If you employ a router, make a template with a 2-1/8″ dia. gap and nail it to the highest. Use the identical information bushing and bit as you used for the seat. 

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