Tuesday, April 10

2x4 Simple Outdoor Table with Benches {two styles!}

I've always liked the look of Ana White's simple outdoor table & benches. With the popularity of our 2x4 building series, I thought I'd just make a quick twist on her original design to make a 2x4 version!  I dream of eating outdoors on summer evenings, and I feel like this set-up with a roomy table and long benches would be the perfect place for the family to gather. Plus it would be a great compliment to a 2x4 outdoor sectional!


I made two simple variations for the table top - one with the top boards running length-wise:


And one with the top boards running across the width:


The dimensions will be the same for either table: 67 1/4" long x 33 1/2" deep x 30" high


I'm also including plans for matching 2x4 benches to tuck under the table.  Perfect for some backyard summer fun! Ready to get started?




Measure twice, cut once (seriously, though). Use glue in every step (be careful to clean up any drips, because they will mess up your finish at the end!). Read through all the instructions before you begin. Use 3" screws unless otherwise indicated. Pre-drill and countersink all your screws. Be safe, have fun, and let me know if you have any questions! Please note I have not built from these plans myself (you might be the first!), so double check everything as you go. 

Shopping List:
4  -  2x4  @  8'  (table base)
9  -  2x4  @  6'  (table top)
6  -  2x4  @  8'  (two benches)
4  -  2x4  @  10'  (four of the seat boards for each bench)
3" wood screws
wood glue
wood filler
finishing supplies
optional: Kreg Jig with 2 1/2" pocket hole screws (instructions for the Kreg included in italics)

Table Cut List:
(A)   2  -  2x4  @  62 3/4"  (aprons)
(B)  2  -  2x4  @  30 1/2"  (side aprons)
(C)  4  -  2x4  @  28 1/2"  (legs)
(D)  1  -  2x4  @  62 3/4"  (support for short top boards)
        OR    1  -  2x4  @  27 1/2"  (support for long top boards)
(E)  18  -  2x4  @  33 1/2"  (short top boards)
        OR   9  -  2x4  @  67 1/4"  (long top boards)

Bench Cut List (this is for one bench, so you'll need to repeat it for the second bench):
(F)  2  - 2x4  @  49 1/4"  (aprons)
(G)  3  -  2x4  @  12 1/2"  (side aprons & support)
(H)  4  -  2x4  @  16 1/2"  (legs)
(I)  5  -   2x4  @  52 1/4"  (seat boards)

Let's start with the table. Begin by attaching the aprons (A) to the side aprons (B). Drill through the side aprons into the the ends of the front & back aprons as shown below. Or use a Kreg Jig to make pocket holes in the ends of the front/back aprons (A) and attach them to the side aprons (B) with pocket hole screws. 

Also make pocket holes along the top of all the apron boards before you assemble it. You can use these to attach the table top later so you don't have any visible holes in the table top! The easiest way is to first lay out your table top boards, lay the aprons on top, and mark where each tabletop board will sit on the aprons. Then make two pocket holes for each tabletop board.


Attach the legs (C). Line them up flush with the top edge of the frame, and let the outside edge of each leg overhang the frame by 3/4". Attach them by drilling through the legs, being sure to hit both the apron and side apron with a couple screws.


Next add the support board (D). The top table shows the layout for the shorter top boards, the bottom table shows the layout for the table with long top boards. Either way, center your support board and attach it by drilling through the apron (or side aprons) into the ends of the support board. For the Kreg Jig, make pocket holes in both ends of the support board and attach it to the aprons with pocket hole screws. 

Also make pocket holes along the top of the support board before you install it. You can use these to attach the table top in the next step. The easiest way is to first lay out your table top boards, lay the support board on top, and mark where each tabletop board hits the support. Then make two pocket holes for each tabletop board.


Install the top boards (E). They should be flush with the outside edges of the legs, with a 1/4" gap between each board. Attach them by drilling down through the top boards into the aprons and support boards, using two screws per board in each of those places. For the Kreg Jig, attach the top boards with pocket hole screws using the pocket holes you drilled in the aprons and supports in earlier steps.


Your table is done! On to the benches!

For each bench, begin by attaching the side aprons (G) to the aprons (F) by drilling through the aprons (F) into the ends of the side aprons (G). For a Kreg Jig, drill pocket holes in the ends of the side aprons (G) and attach them to the aprons (F) with pocket hole screws. NOTE: you'll probably have to do these on the outside face of the side aprons because a drill won't fit in the middle, so you may be better off sticking to regular screws for this step (which means smaller holes to fill since they will be visible either way). 

Also drill pocket holes along the top edges of the aprons and side aprons before you assemble them. You can use these to attach the seat top boards later without any visible holes!  The easiest way is to first lay out your seat top boards, lay the aprons on top, and mark where each top board sits on the apron. Then make two pocket holes for each seat top board.


Install the support board (G) in the center of the seat frame by drilling through the front/back aprons into the ends of the support board. For a Kreg Jig, you probably won't have space to use it to install this boards, but go ahead and drill pocket holes along the top edge of the support board just like you did with the aprons (for attaching the seat boards later).


Attach the legs (H). Line them up flush with the top of the frame, but let them overhang the front and back by 1 1/2".  Attach them by drilling through the legs into the frame.

Pay no attention to the support board running the wrong way. K thanks. :)

Now you can install the top boards (I). Line them up flush with the outside edges of the legs, with a 1/4" gap between each board. Attach them by drilling down through each seat board into the aprons and support boards, using two screws per board in each of those places. For a Kreg Jig, attach the top boards using pocket hole screws in the pocket holes you drilled in earlier steps. Easy peasy and no holes in the top!


To finish, fill any visible holes with wood filler then sand everything down really well. This is the most important step for a professional finish! Start with a rough sand paper, then go over everything with a medium paper, then again with a fine paper. Once it's super smooth, finish it with whatever paint or stain and sealer you like. If you'll be using your table outside, be sure to pick an appropriate weather-resistant finish.



That's it! Now you'll be ready to kick off grilling season with your friends and family. Happy building!

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