Cedar & Steel Picnic Table and Benches

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List

    Metal components (see cut list below for specific lengths)

  • 2” x 2” HSS (Hollow Structural Sections) Welded Steel Tubing (0.120 Thickness)
  • 1” x 1” HSS (Hollow Structural Sections) Welded Steel Tubing (0.120 Thickness)
  • 1.5” x 1.5” Hot Rolled Angle Iron (0.125" Thickness)
  • Wood components (see cut list below for specific lengths)

  • 2"x6" Red Cedar (or alternative softwood)
  • 2"x4" Red Cedar (or alternative softwood)
  • Fasteners, etc.

  • 22 sets of 2 ½", ¼" diameter Galvanised Carriage Bolts, Washers and Nuts
  • 12 pieces of 2”x 2” plastic Square Tube Caps
  • Table Cut List

  • 4 pcs 2" HSS x 28 ½”
  • 2 pcs 2" HSS x 21 ½”
  • 1 pc 2" HSS x 64”
  • 2 pcs 1.5" angle iron x 25 ½”
  • 5 pcs 2"x6" Red Cedar x 78”
  • Bench Cut List

  • 4 pcs 2" HSS x 16”
  • 2 pcs 2" HSS x 7”
  • 1 pc 1" HSS x 46”
  • 2 pcs 1.5" angle iron x 11”
  • 2 pcs 2"x6" Red Cedar x 62”
  • 1 pc 2"x4" Red Cedar x 62”
Tool list
  • Face shield / welding helmet
  • Welding gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Ear protection
  • Dust mask
  • Tape Measure
  • Speed Square
  • Torpedo Level
  • Mitre Saw or Handsaw
  • Hacksaw
  • C Clamps and Bar Clamps
  • Welding machine, rod or wire
  • Hammer
  • Centre Punch
  • Drill and 1/4” drill bit
  • 5” grinder
  • Grinding disks
  • Orbital Sander &/or Sanding Blocks
  • 100 and 180 Grit Sandpaper
  • Awl
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Socket set and Ratchet
  • Rag
  • Tremclad Rustoleum Spray Paint or similar
  • Wood Varnish &/or Stain
  • Paint Brush
  • Optional

  • 90° mitre box for cutting wood
Procedure

    Cut the metal to length:

  1. Measure, Mark and Cut the HSS and angle iron to length using a hacksaw and following the cut list above. Alternatively, the material can be ordered pre-cut eliminating this step.
  2. Build the table's metal base:

  3. Layout a pair of table legs (28 ½”), a lower cross member (21 ½”) and a piece of angle iron (25 ½”) on a welding table. Clamp pieces in place.
  4. Proper welding PPE must be worn during the welding steps. Tack the four pieces together then check to ensure nothing has moved before welding in place.
  5. Repeat steps 2 & 3 for the other side of the table.
  6. Stand the two pairs of legs up, check for plumb and square and then tack the bottom rail (64”) in place. Double check that all is plumb and square then weld all the way around each joint.
  7. Build the bench's metal base:

  8. Layout a pair of bench legs (16”), a lower cross member (7”) and a piece of angle iron (11”) on a welding table. Clamp pieces in place.
  9. Tack the four pieces together then check to ensure nothing has moved before welding in place.
  10. Repeat steps 6 & 7 for the other side of the bench.
  11. Stand the two pairs of legs up, check for plumb and square and then tack the bottom rail (46”) in place. Double check that all is plumb and square then weld all the way around each joint.
  12. If making a second bench, repeat steps 6 - 9.
  13. Drill the metal holes:

  14. Measure and mark the drill hole locations in the angle iron. Ensure that these holes will line up with the centre points of each of the 2"x6"s and 2"x4"s of the table and bench(es).
  15. Hammer a slight indentation at each drill hole location with a centre punch.
  16. Drill holes using a ¼” bit.
  17. Finish the metal surfaces:

  18. Lightly grind &/or wire wheel all welds.
  19. Sand all metal surfaces with 100 grit sandpaper then wipe dust off using a clean rag. This will help ensure a good bonding surface for the paint.
  20. Spray paint using Rustoleum. Two light coats are preferable. Spray outdoors or in a well-ventilated space.
  21. Build the wood table top:

  22. Measure, mark and cut 5 pieces of 2"x6" for the table top each to a length of 78” using a mitre saw or, alternatively, a mitre box and handsaw. Wear safety glasses and ear protection if using power tools for this step.
  23. Sand any rough spots or edges until smooth. Wear a dust mask while sanding.
  24. Dry fit the table top and mark the locations for the carriage bolts on the 2x6s with an awl.
  25. Drill the holes in the 2x6s using a ¼” bit.
  26. Apply one coat of varnish on all wood surfaces. Allow 24 hours for complete drying.
  27. Lightly sand using 180 grit sandpaper.
  28. Attach table top pieces with ¼” galvanised carriage bolts. Tighten with a socket and ratchet, or an adjustable wrench.
  29. Apply a second coat of varnish on all exposed wood surfaces. Allow 24 hours for complete drying. If you choose to add more varnish layers, allow 24 hours to dry and lightly sand with 180 grit sandpaper before applying each coat.
  30. Build the wood bench top:

  31. Measure, mark and cut 2 pieces of 2x6 and one piece of 2x4 for the bench top each to a length of 62” using a mitre saw or, alternatively, a mitre box and handsaw. Wear safety glasses and ear protection if using power tools for this step.
  32. Repeat steps 18-24 above for installing the bench wood.
  33. Final Touches:

  34. Insert plastic tube caps and gently tap into place with hammer and a block of wood.
  35. Celebrate!

  36. Plan a BBQ or other suitable event to initiate your completed project!
Extension Challenges
  1. Design your picnic table and benches to be left outdoors and secured in place: design a concrete pad to attach the table and benches to, either by setting the legs themselves in the concrete (making each leg longer and adding a horizontal bolt to anchor them), or by using breakaway nuts to fix the legs to bolts set in concrete.
  2. Build a picnic table and benches to donate to your local park, elementary school, women's shelter, community centre, etc.
  3. Incorporate the salvaging and reclaiming of wood to cut costs, as well as learn how to deconstruct structures and/or mill and dry wood such as driftwood or blow-down.
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