“I need instructions for building a picnic table; the kind with unattached benches. The ones I see at the stores all have attached seats.” The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands the difficulty of climbing over attached benches and the desire for the flexibility of removing the benches from a table.
The first item that came up in a search of the online catalog was Build It Better Yourself by the editors of Organic Gardening and Farming. The picnic table in the chapter Outdoor Furniture was one with attached benches. This same chapter also has plans for a small table with the traditional crossed or slanted legs seen in larger picnic tables. If our patron were very handy he might be able to use the instructions for both these pieces of furniture to design his own, but he preferred to have a set of plans from which to work.
Weekend Woodworking for the Garden by Cindy Burda with Thomas Stender has an unusual picnic table and bench combination made from various lengths of 2 X 4s, stacked and threaded together by steel rods. Individuals who wish to use a variety of materials in their building will find Better Homes and Gardens Outdoor Projects You Can Build filled with interesting ideas. There are benches made from wood along with your choice of flue tiles, a window well, or clay tile reducers. These benches could be used with the book’s Contemporary Picnic Table which has the crossed legs. Building Outdoor Furniture by Ed & Stevie Baldwin has instructions for a round table with separate benches and the requisite hole for an umbrella. Better Homes and Gardens The Best of Wood Book 3 has a very pretty table and bench set on its cover with hearts cut into the leg panels. Also included are the instructions for a matching Comfy Country Chair which is similar to an Adirondack chair.
Our Internet search revealed more types of picnic tables and benches than we imagined. There was one which could be broken down for easy portability, one with a roof, a set of curved picnic benches to put with your choice of table, and another table that splits into two bench seats with backs. Finally at the Popular Mechanics site [http://www.popularmechanics.com/home_journal/woodworking/1779112.html ] we found the plans for the classic cross legged table and benches desired by our patron.