07:50AM | 05/03/03
Member Since: 05/02/03
2 lifetime posts
Since I can't buy one ready made, I am going to try to build a picnic table. I know this is probably dumb, but I can't quite figure the best way to nail the top boards to the 2x4 cross pieces on the underside and still end up with the thing being square! (All the plans say to assemble the top first by nailing thru to the cross pieces) There has to be an easy trick to this, but I don't have a clue what it is! Have thought that maybe I should start with the two outside boards, get the thing square then work in to the middle? BTW, I am still looking at plans and thinking about the process...have not yet made the first cut! I would rather have no table than have a crooked one!


08:55AM | 05/03/03
Member Since: 12/27/02
543 lifetime posts
Use the 3-4-5 method (The Pythagorean Theorem) from corner to corner as a final check.

3' on the backer, 4' on the top board then 5' on the angle from 3' point to the 4' point makes the first board square.

For a right triangle, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides: a2(3) + b2(4) = c2(5)

From there you can measure for the rest then at the end measure from corner to corner (they will be equal) and adjust.. you'll have the squarest picnic table on the block.

Mark Hammond

01:22PM | 05/03/03
Member Since: 05/09/01
246 lifetime posts
Hi Woodbe,
You can try this simple trick. Nail a jig or form to a flat surface like a piece of 1/2-3/4 inch plywood laying on the floor. The pieces can be 2x2 inch stock or really whatever you have lying around that have the length that you need. Using a framing square on the corners to lay it out. It will have to be the size of the top of the table so that the top will fit inside. Four pieces to form a rectangle in the dimensions of the top. Use the square to get the angles on the corners right. Lay the pieces for the top, bottom up, in the jig with the correct spacing. Then you can lay the cross pieces in place (again using the correct measurements to position them and the framing square to get the angle right). Use whatever fasteners that you choose (galvanized screws work well) and a waterproof glue on the cross pieces. Let the glue set to give the top some ridgity and then fasten the legs as the plan suggests. Good luck and enjoy the picnic.....MJH


02:33PM | 05/03/03
Member Since: 05/02/03
2 lifetime posts
Hmmm...OK. I was thinking I needed to screw or nail the boards from the top side into the cross pieces below, not the other way around, and I figured that was going to be next to impossible and still keep everything square. I suppose I could do as you suggested but just use the glue, then when it is set, flip it over and nail it. Thanks for the suggestions!


08:05AM | 05/05/03
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
I think you'll be happier with screws than nails, especially if you will sometimes move the table. Nails work loose - screws don't.
Also, I recommend stainless, rather than galvanized screws if you want it to last without any rust.
One more thing: a simple way to get a square angle is to use a sheet of plywood as your guide. They are square when you buy them. Lay the pieces onto the plywood on the floor/ground.


03:26PM | 05/06/03
Member Since: 12/27/02
543 lifetime posts
Ya, I too thought of that simple ply thing after I posted.. still it's good to check with the basic math...

You know I always use electroplated fasteners, but read in a book just a couple of days ago zinc coated is better.. I, like you rp, haven't found that myself, I find the zinc get's knocked off easier especially with gun nails... hmmm? Goes to show you got to take everything with a grain of salt huh?

Click to reply button
Inspiration banner


Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply choose button


Post new button or Login button

To test the boundaries of small-footprint living, interior designer Jessica Helgerson moved her family to a 540-square-foo... Filling an underutilized area beneath the stairs is a smart way to save space. Doing so with a stash of wood, however, is ... The Audubon Society inspired wallpaper in this Adirondack-styled mudroom will get you in the outdoor mood. Grab your coat ... Chalkboard paint opens up endless possibilities for customizing your dresser time and time again. Use chalk to label the c... A fireplace in the bathroom creates the ultimate setting for relaxation. Homeowners often choose electric or gas over wood... This roomy boot tray made from punched metal stands up to all the elements. Station it in your mudroom or at your back doo... There’s nothing like a new set of cabinet hardware to refresh a room. The possibilities are endless: Go modern, rustic, or... FLOR tiles are an affordable way to customize a carpeted floor covering for any space. Make anything from runners to wall-... Chalkboard paint features prominently in this elegant yet unpretentious headboard design. Add a new message daily to reflec... Salvaged boards in varying widths and colors make up the dramatic accent wall in this attic space. The high-gloss white of... The indecisive homeowner need not fret over choosing one (or even two) cabinet colors. The kitchen cabinets in this artist... Incorporate nature into your lighting scheme by securing a dead tree in a concrete mold and draping your pendant lamp from... Simple and striking, a couple of pieces of "lovingly used" furniture creates a special kind of charm. A weathered chair fo... First dress up your metal shelves with a coat of paint in an accent color that complements your kitchen decor. Then arrang... Dark wood shelving and a matching upholstered bench keep this closet sleek and refined. The large window brightens the sub...
Follow banner a
Newsletter icon Flipboard glossy Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss icon