Sunday, May 13, 2012

Convertible Picnic Table Benches

                                                                   Once we had the pergola up, I realized it would be great to have a picnic table to eat on under the shade it provided.  I also found some 2x4x16’ pieces of pressure-treated lumber at Home Depot on clearance for only $2 each.  I had to build something with that!

  (In days past, you wouldn’t want to eat on pressure treated lumber, because of the exposure to the chemicals they used to protect the wood.  Nowadays, as I understand it, they use a much safer treatment on the wood.)  
I did some research online and found this great picnic table HERE that also transforms into a bench.  (Thanks, Hal, at Ranch Ramblins!) I love multi-function, useful furniture!  

Our patio is not huge, about 10x20 feet, and the half next to the pergola is filled with some outdoor chairs encircling a square fire pit.  I like picnic tables, but they are heavy and take up a lot of space.  I liked the idea of being able to transform the tables into benches and moving them off to the side of the patio for more space when we didn’t need a table.

As the plan I found online used a different size of lumber, I had to tweak the design to make it work for my 2x4s.  Besides using 2x4s, I used a 2x10x8’ piece to cut out the 4 pieces that support the table top pieces/bench back.  The hardware is made up of 4 large eye bolts (they can be moved switch between table or bench position) deck screws to hold on the 2x4s, and galvanized nuts and bolts to attach the legs and support beams.

I picked a light nautical blue color to contrast with the green in the yard, and to coordinate with some of the colors in our living room just inside. 
The overall table/bench construction is solid, but at times, because it can be switched between table and bench, the table top will slant down when too much weight is put on it (i.e. when someone leans their weight on it when sitting down).  I’m sure there is a way to reinforce it so that it doesn’t move, but I haven’t tried to figure it out yet.  Let me know if you have any ideas!  We enjoy our table and eat outdoors several times a week in the spring, summer, and fall.  The whole project cost less than $50 because of the great deal I found on the lumber.

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