Wednesday, February 27, 2013
our first project- a picnic table
The first year of marriage is always said to be an interesting time of getting to know each other and working out kinks of how you work together. I think we have done great so far. Even with that being the case taking on building a picnic table together would probably be considered by some as a challenge better left to the second or third year of marriage.
I couldn't find a picnic table that I liked for our backyard so I figured maybe I could just build my own. That is how this project got started. When I showed Tom the plans for the table he seemed excited about doing it as well. I think he might have initially been humoring me. I didn't really care though because I could always finish it on my own and it sounded like fun to do it together even though I knew it would be interesting. Interesting because as far as experience goes I have more. Problem is my more isn't much and mostly consists of watching my dad and helping him at the hardware store on the weekends. As my dad would tell you I am a great assistant. That is why even though I would have been fine building the table myself, I was happy to let Tom cut the wood that I measured.
As it turns out we work really well together. I measure, he cuts was our basic system. It took a few steps to get our rhythm worked out but by the end of day one we were still laughing. By the end of day two we were so proud of ourselves we couldn't stop telling each other how proud we were of the table. We both went to work the next day showing off pictures of our little table.
We almost got rained out the following weekend but I managed to get the table stained. It is a stain and sealer so it will hold up better outside. The stain is by Olympic in Wedgewood. I love the color but have to admit I picked it partially because the name made me think of fancy china. Not really sure how fancy china connects to picking out a stain color for a picnic table, but there you have my scientific method of paint color choosing. I added the yellow planter box (spray painted of course) to make it a little reminder of our wedding colors and you know the backyard is all about living color fully.
We got the plans off of Ana White's web site. If you haven't been to her site you should check it out. She has loads of plans for all kinds of things. Each plan comes with a shopping list which makes it even easier. We used the plans for a Simple Outdoor Dining Table. Since she so nicely sums up how to make the table I am going to leave that part to her. I can however, give you some things we learned and pointers.
1. If this is going to be the first time you use a circular saw I suggest buying or finding some scrap wood and practice cutting straight. We are proud of the table but may be more proud of some of the cuts more than others. Tom got really good after some practice and we wished we had done more before we cut the top of the table. Something else Tom learned is you need to make sure the blade is tightened enough so it doesn't wobble when you are cutting. If you don't make it through the board quickly try checking to make sure that the blade is tight.
2. Measure all of your boards before you cut to make sure you are doing it in the right order. You can't add wood back if you cut too much. If you are using this plan it mentions that the table slats come out of the 12' boards and the aprons and supports come out of the 8' boards. That is kind of true. 4 of the 8' boards will be used for the 64.5" cuts. The final 8' board will be used for a 60.5" cut and a 32.5" cut. The other 60.5' and 32.5' cuts will come out of one of the 12' boards. Then you can cut the tabletop boards out of the rest of the 12' board.
3. We went to a lumber yard to get the wood which was nice because the guy that helped us load it picked out straighter boards for us. The boards we saw at Lowes it would have taken us hours to find boards that would have worked.
4. We spent a little more and went with redwood because it is damp here and redwood is resistant to moisture. Pine would work fine and you could probably save $20.
5. Make sure you check to see that things are square after every step. It will pay off in the end when the table is straight and level.
It was a great first project and we had so much fun we are already planning some others great projects. I think Tom has taken a real liking to this handyman thing and I may be blogging as much about his projects as my own this summer.
Have you built anything from Ana White's website? Do you and your husband or partner work well together?