Build Your Own Cedar Picnic Table: Part Four: Sand and Stain

Our table and benches are completely built and we just need the finishing touches. I mentioned in a previous post that I was sad we had to put holes in the face of the table, and that Spencer consoled me and in the end it turned out okay… here is a little reminder of the holes…

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We used Minwax Stainable Wood Filler to fill the holes. We like this wood filler for so many reasons: easy to use, stainable, doesn’t shrink or crack and is so easy to sand. With that being said… it isn’t a miracle worker. You can still see where we filled the holes but it looks so much better than gaping holes.

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The wood filler sort of fills like sand… nice and gritty. Overfill the hole just a little bit. Add enough to completely fill the hole, but not too much that you have to sand forever.

 

After the wood filler dries (a couple hours) sand! We used our quarter sheet sander and it worked like a charm… if you don’t have one… I would invest!

 

We like to wipe our projects off with a slightly damp cloth or blow them off with a compressor to get rid of any loose dust that may still be lingering and then it is time to stain.

For this project we used Behr Semi-Transparent Weatherproofing All-In-One Wood Stain and Sealer. We went with this for two reason: Amanda really loved the color (Cordovan Brown) that we mixed, and it is a stain and SEALER!

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We bought three 8 oz jars and the nice people at Home Depot whipped up the color Amanda wanted. It is a great color! We used an older Purdy paintbrush that we had and starting on one end, brushed the stain on.

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so… let us just say that Cedar is like Pine is unpredictable… especially with stain. It will go darker around knots and lighter on other areas. We like this look. We like the unpredictability… especially with an outdoor picnic table. That being said… all we did after we sanded and sanded was brush the stain on. We followed the grain of the wood and liberally applied the stain with our brushes. We made sure there was a nice even coat and that the stain didn’t puddle. We applied two coats and used up all three jars of stain.

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And we love the end result! The table is a beauty and the stain and sealer has been great so far. I wonder if it will really last the 6 years but for now it is wonderful. I love that we didn’t have to apply a separate sealer and I would totally recommend it for outdoor items…. indoor we totally go a different route! You can see the variance of color in the table… we love it! Cedar is red and beautiful on it’s own so if you don’t want huge variances, just apply a sealer.

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And we are done! Whew-ey! We have loved doing this “Let’s Build It” series together this month and cannot wait for next month!

In case you missed a tutorial for this series you can go here:
Build Your Own Cedar Picnic Table
Part One: Table Top
Part Two: Table Legs
Part Three: Benches

Have a great weekend and build something together!

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Build Your Own Cedar Picnic Table: Part Three: Benches

Today is our last building day! We have already built the table, in case you missed one of those tutorials you can find them here and here. Today we are going to bust out some simple benches so we can sand, stain and enjoy.

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First we need to cut our pieces. I did a whole shopping list and cut list here but the following is a simple reminder:

Benches:

  • (4) 2×4 @ 58 1/2” (mitered at 45)
  • (4) 2×4 @ 14” (mitered at 45)
  • (4) 2×6 @ 55 1/2”
  • (4) 2×6 @ 11”
  • (8) 4×4 @ 15”
  • (2) 2×4 @ 11”

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First, screw your 11” 2×6 into your posts/legs. Make sure your 4×4’s are both on the same side and are even and flush with the 2×6.

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Use your 4” screws and make a triangle shape, you don’t want your bench legs to twist.

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Do this on both side.

Next, flip the legs over and screw them into the bench tops. Use your 4” screws again and make sure everything is flush and even.

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If you are lucky you may even have a cute side-kick to help hand you screws… complete with Spider-man jammies and bedhead!

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While the bench is flipped over – screw an extra 2×4 (11”) into the middle. This adds a little bit more stability and strength.

To finish off your bench you will need the bench skirting.

Instead of reinventing the wheel you can read skirting instructions here. You do the same things you did to skirt the table. Miter the ends at 45 degrees and screw them on.

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Repeat these steps to ensure you have both benches!

I am not sure why… but I don’t have a finished picture of the benches before the stain, sorry! But you can see from the finished product what they look like and if you followed all the directions, yours will look just fine!

All we have left is sanding, staining and the clear finish!

In case you missed a tutorial for this series you can go here:
Build Your Own Cedar Picnic Table
Part One: Table Top
Part Two: Table Legs

See you tomorrow!

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Build Your Own Cedar Picnic Table: Part Two: Table Legs

It’s day two of “Build Your Own Cedar Picnic Table” and we are talking about legs! Yesterday we showed you how to build the tabletop and today we are going to attach the legs and add the table skirt – and then the table is done! Here we go.

Cut your 4×4 posts to 29 1/2”.

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Install a post into each corner by pilot drilling and screwing them in.
Use your 4” screws.

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Use your Miter Box and cut your mitered and  compound mitered pieces.
8 @ 16” four left and four right.
First, Cut all 16” pieces with a 45 degree miter.
Second, cut 4 compound miter left at 45 degrees.
Third, cut 4 compound miter right at 45 degrees.

Follow the links – we have made tutorials and videos for you!

Pilot drill your compound pieces into your post.

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Sink your 4” screws into the compound pieces.

Then drill them into the posts.

The compound angles are attached to the post but not to the tabletop. To attach them to the tabletop, take a 4 inch screw and drill it in through the mitered corner into the tabletop. Measure with your screw on the outside first to find the best spot. After all this hard work you would be so sad if you drilled through the top of your table.

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Repeat on each corner.

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Why do we do the compound angle brace? It seems like such a hard step? We do it because it adds strength to our table legs. We don’t want them too fall off when we move it back and forth. We also didn’t want to bump our legs on an underneath brace either. We both wanted it open underneath. Make sense?

Now let’s add our table skirting and be done!

Use your 42” and 73” mitered pieces for the skirting. Make sure your miters are cut the same way and that they are 45 degrees.

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Use Liquid Nails on the outside and drill in from the inside.

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I had a hard time with this very last step because up until now there were no holes in the tabletop… but we added a screw on each mitered end to make them nice and tight. I knew I would have to do some patching down on the legs and after some coaxing from Spencer, wood filling 4 holes on the tabletop turned out okay.

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Tomorrow we will show you how to build the benches and then we’ll end with filling those darn holes, sanding and staining!

Only 2 more posts to go! Thanks for staying with us and I hope your table is looking awesome!

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Build Your Own Cedar Picnic Table: Part One: Table Top

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Today is part one of our “Build Your Own Cedar Picnic Table” series and we are excited to share it with you. Yesterday we showed you pictures of the finished picnic table and today we start building.

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Shopping List

  • (15) 2×4’s (8ft)
  • (3) 2×2’s (8ft)
  • (2)2×6’s (10ft)
  • (2) 4×4’s
  • 2 1/2” exterior screws
  • 4” exterior screws
  • Liquid Nails
  • Paint Brush
  • Choice of Stain
  • 120 Grit Sandpaper
  • Polyurethane

Tools

  • Power Drill/Impact Drill
  • Miter Box
  • Square
  • Measuring Tape

Cedar Picnic Table Cut List

Table:

Benches:

  • (4) 2×4 @ 58 1/2” (mitered at 45)
  • (4) 2×4 @ 14” (mitered at 45)
  • (4) 2×6 @ 55 1/2”
  • (4) 2×6 @ 11”
  • (8) 4×4 @ 15”
  • (2) 2×4 @ 11”

 

As you cut your wood – trim the ends off of both sides with your miter box so your table top will be right and straight. Sometimes the mills cut them a bit crooked. For tips on using a miter box go here.

Cut and line up your 20 2×4’s cut at 39” in a row. Check both sides of the wood and lay the best side FACE DOWN and arrange them anyway you want. The underside of the table will be face up.

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Next, you will attach all the tabletop pieces together. To do this you will need your 2×2 pieces.

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Attach your shorter 2×2 pieces to each tabletop end piece.

To ensure it is even and straight, hold up a 2×4 next to the 2×2 and end piece.

Use an 1/8” drill bit and pilot drill each hole. You do this for two reasons. First: So the pieces of wood stay tight together. Without the pilot hole the screw would push the bottom piece of wood away. Second: So the pieces of wood stay aligned and do not shift. Use your 2 1/2” screws and screw it together. Do this on both end pieces.

 

Next, attach every tabletop piece together by using your long 2×2 and running them lengthwise. Make sure they are even and straight by first placing the 2×2 next to the tabletop pieces and using a square.

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Then pilot drill and screw in every single one of the 20 tabletop pieces on both sides.

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Aside from the table skirting which goes on after the legs are one, your table top is done and ready for the legs… which we will teach you tomorrow!

You can make this table in a day… unless you have cute little distractions like we do….

… who like to “help” every step of the way!

See you tomorrow!

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Build A Backyard Fire Pit

In a week or two Fall will be in full swing. Our mornings are a bit crisper and the sun is setting earlier each day. We have been slowly working on our backyard and knew that one thing we could not miss out on was a fire pit. With the cooling temperatures, one of our favorite things to do as a family is sit around a warm fire, roasting hot dogs and making s’mores so we knew we had to build a backyard fire pit.

We have loved having it in our backyard and have used it so much already! It has been an awesome addition and we get so many compliments from our friends about it.

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We decided to do it above ground for a few reasons – but mostly to keep our children safe from falling into an open pit. The bricks that we choose are also thick enough that the outside stays nice and cool so you can brush up again the brick and not have to worry about it being too hot or burning your skin. I love the bricks – I think they are beautiful… as far as rock is concerned! We bought the bricks in the Garden section at Home Depot and we love them!

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Have we convinced you to build your own? Here! We will show you how!

Build a Backyard Fire Pit

First we need a base for the fire pit so we are going to pour a cement pad. Our pad is 34”x34”. Using 2×4’s and stakes, we built a wooden form for our pad. We then mixed our cement, poured it into the wooden form and smoothed it out. For cement/concrete tips you can go here.

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  • Let your concrete set for at least 24 hours, then remove the wooden form.

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  • Using a large sponge – wet the entire surface of your cement pad.

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  • Spread on a thin layer of mortar, about a 1/4” thick.

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  • Use your sponge and wet the bottom of each brick you place.

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  • Lay your bricks.
    With two bricks the long way and one turned sideways the outside will measure 29”. This also helps with stacking the brick. We centered our bricks on the pad, with a 2.5” cement border.

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  • Lay the first row and wet the top of those bricks.

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  • Spread another layer of mortar.
  • Wet the bottom of the bricks you are placing.
  • Place the bricks on top of the first row so the joints do NOT match.

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  • Use your sponge and clean up the extra mortar that falls off the side.

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  • Keep building your rows until you get your desired height. Our fire pit is 5 rows high.

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  • After your brick is placed and the outside is clean – use the rest of your mortar and float the inside of the fire pit.

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  • Using a tile float – cover the entire inside of your fire pit with mortar. Use the mortar from your bucket and float it evenly on each side.

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  • Use your sponge to even and smooth out the mortar.

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Let the mortar cure for about 48 hours and then check it. You might find little cracks in the mortar like these:

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Mix up a small batch of mortar and patch it up a bit.

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After your mortar sets add some sand into the pit. This brings your fire up a bit and lets any water that might get inside drain down and out.

  

Wait 48 hours for all the mortar to set and dry and then strike up a fire and bust out some marshmallows!

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I know that waiting those 48 hours for everything to dry… twice… is hard. Trust me though and wait! Your fire pit will look so much better if you do. Have a fun gathering with your family around a nice warm fire and making some new, awesome memories!

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