First Project - Picnic Tables
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    New Braunfels, TX
    Posts
    143

    First Project - Picnic Tables

    So I'm new to the site, new to welding, and just all around NEW. Kinda feels like the first day at a new school, but I've read a lot of posts from guys like DSW and ZTFab and know that there are a lot of good members here that are willing to welcome and help guys like me. I've been practicing on some 1/8'' flat and am getting better with my beads. Working on "seeing the puddle" and improving my consistency among other things. Well, I can only do so much practice before I need to build something, and for my first project I was going to make some picnic tables for the ranch. I've got enough treated lumber to make table tops and sides for three tables, I just need some advice on the frame. I was thinking about using 2" 16ga. square tubing for most of the frame. I thought about using 2" x 1/8" angle welded to the frame to bolt the table top and bench pieces to the frame, and 1 1/4" 16ga. square tubing for gussets and bench supports. I'm wondering if 16ga. tubing would be strong enough, or should I use 1/8" square tubing? I would also like to keep them light enough that it doesn't require a crane to move them. Thanks in advance for the help.

    Brian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Dalton, GA
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    1,612

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    Hey Brian,
    Welcome to the forum.

    Sounds like a good project. My first thought is 16 gauge might be light for picnic table at the ranch. I agree that 1/8" would start to get heavy. Your welding will improve by the time you weld enough of 16 gauge tube!

    It would help if you had a drawing or picture of what you have in mind. Most of the time the design is more important to the strength than the material. A good design might be ok, it takes a lot of material to overcome a poor design.
    Burt
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    11,095

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    Not being a wise a&&, but you have to consider the amount of weight on the bench seats.

    6-8 foot long table could conceivably seat 3 people on either side. People tend to be large these days Get 6 250lb people at a picnic table, and you've got a load And if they're that big, you have to consider the load of food to feed em' (just kidding)

    Also consider whether you're going to have umbrellas sticking in the center of the table. Little bit of wind will topple a light table, I know this for a fact. We have steady winds here at around 20+mph steady all day long. Gusts to 40.

    I've seen a lot of crappy lawn furniture fall apart under "heavy" use.
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    New Braunfels, TX
    Posts
    143

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    So I drew out my "design" as best I could. What I am considering is:
    2" x 2" 16ga square tube for the vertical and horizontal framework
    1 1/2" x 1 1/2" square tube for the gussets
    2" x 2" x 1/8" angle (dashed lines) to bolt 2x6s to for table top and benches

    Not Pictured:
    1 1/2" x 1 1/2" 16ga from the 7 5/8" horizontal piece to a piece of 2" channel in the center of the table on both sides. (to support table top)
    1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 1/8" angle from one bench support to the other running underneath each bench board. (2 - 2x6s per bench=2 pieces of angle per bench)

    I don't foresee ever having umbrellas in the center of the tables since there are 200 year old oak trees that the tables will be under. There are pretty good winds tough, and some of the hunters are a little "large".
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Northern Cal., Shasta County
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    9,227

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    What ever you use to top out the bench seats and table top are good for a lot of the strength. I won't say don't use gussets at the bench seats, but if your welding is solid I don't think you need them.

    Here's a smaller version I built several years ago for mid-sized kids to adults. I built it so that it would be just a wee bit big for the littlest of folks and a bit small for adults. But the concept is the same. An inch or two in height isn't gonna make much difference if the basics are there.

    I think I've posted pics here before but no way I'd be able to find them.
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    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -Theodore Roosevelt

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    1,053

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    What's underneath the picnic benches? You have a lot of "surface area" in your design so you need the ground to be flat.

    I've only built picnic tables out of wood but you could consider building it the same way.
    For instance like this:


    I prefer a wider bench to sit on compared to the picture (I use three 2x4 with a little space between them) but I think you already thought of that.

    I'd also consider having it hot dip galvanized when done, but I guess that would depend on the climate where you live


    I also think 16 gauge (1/16") sound a little on the thin side. Perhaps consider 14 gauge?

    BTW, the ones I made out of wood are pretty heavy as well so you need to be two adults to move them. 2x2"x14 gauge is 2.2 lbs per foot.
    Last edited by Pete.S.; 06-26-2013 at 09:56 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    88

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    the post by Pete S is what i was thinking EXCEPT do the table frame as an a frame and a frame benches.
    Zach Ware
    Owner
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    New Braunfels, TX
    Posts
    143

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    Sandy: Thanks for the pics. That is pretty close to what I was thinking. Originally I was gonna use diamond plate for gussets, but that stuff is around $100 for a 4' x 8' sheet 1/8" thick. I'm thinking I may just cut out the gussets all together.

    Pete S.: Thanks for the pictures. Originally I had planned on building A frame tables, but I don't want any "accidents" at the ranch after a long night of telling hunting stories. Those guys may bust their head open trying to get out.

    I never thought I'd do this much thinking and planning on a simple picnic table.

    Thanks again guys. Keep 'em comin!

    Brian

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Morton, Washington
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    4,917

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    Have you seen the commercial tables that blackbart builds?
    weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=247371

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    8,822

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    Quote Originally Posted by forhire View Post
    Have you seen the commercial tables that blackbart builds?
    weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=247371
    You beat me to it. I remember reading about him using the HF bender for making them. Good job.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
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    859

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy View Post
    What ever you use to top out the bench seats and table top are good for a lot of the strength. I won't say don't use gussets at the bench seats, but if your welding is solid I don't think you need them.
    Coming from wood-working, the temptation to over-gusset everything has been one of the hardest things for me to overcome. You really have to recalibrate when going from wood to metal. But that's kind of the point, right? Metal is way, way stronger.
    Everlast PA160-STH
    ... and that's about it!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    1,865

    Re: First Project - Picnic Tables

    The ones I build are for an abusive, commercial crowd. For your own use, Your design is fine,although I would bump up to 14Ga-1/8". I don't think you need the gussets, but it will need a brace from the bottom cross member to the middle of the table. You can go 5' to 6' between supports using 2X lumber. A design like Pete.S. showed looks simple.

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