A trip to the lumberyard and a few basic tools are all you need to build this versatile indoor-outdoor table set.
Before You Begin
Step 1: Cut the Parts
Step 2: Mark the Leg Notches
Step 3: Cut the Notches
Step 4: Install the End-Frame Top Rails
Step 5: Finish the End Frames
Step 6: Attach the Long Rails
Step 7: Attach the Braces
Step 8: Paint the Frame
Step 9: Install the Top Boards
Building the Benches
Use exterior polyurethane construction adhesive, such as Liquid Nails or PL Premium Polyurethane, for all connections. These moisture-resistant adhesives, applied with a caulk gun, are extremely durable. They give you about 30 minutes of working time and will bridge small gaps making them the best adhesive for the job.
To prevent rails from splitting as you attach them to the legs, predrill slightly undersized holes before driving the screws.
Prime the treated wood for the framework before assembling your table and benches. It allows you to prime nooks and crannies that would otherwise be difficult to reach.
Cut the parts to the required lengths. All cuts are square except for the 45-degree cuts made for the ends of the top rail pieces. You can use a circular saw instead of the miter saw shown.
Mark out the notches for the 3 1/2-in.-wide rails. Measure 6 in. up from the bottom to establish the position of the bottom rail. The tops of the legs receive notches on two sides; the bottoms just one.
Set the depth on a sliding miter saw to cut 1 1/2-in. deep, then make a series of parallel cuts spaced about 1/2 in. apart. Use a hammer and chisel to remove the waste, then smooth any ridges with the chisel.
Apply construction adhesive to the ends of the end-frame top rails, and position them in the leg notches. Use a square
to make certain the two members are perpendicular to one another, then install 3-in. galvanized screws.
Use adhesive and screws to install the end-frame base rails. Let the adhesive cure and harden for an hour before moving on to the next step.
Round up a helper, stand up the end frames and install the long rails. Again, use construction adhesive and 3-in. screws to secure the parts. If you're working alone, use long clamps for your helper.
Mark the centers of the end-frame base rails, then install the long base rail using 3 1/2-in. screws. Install the top braces about 22 in. in from each end.
Lightly sand the frame and use a chisel to remove any excess adhesive. Prime the wood (if you haven't already), then apply two coats of exterior paint. Apply an extra coat of paint to the bottoms of the legs to help protect against moisture.
Position the top boards with 3/8-in. gaps between; make sure the boards overhang the sides equally and on the ends by 2 in. Drill pilot holes and secure the top boards to the frame using 3 1/2-in. galvanized screws.
Before applying a clear finish to the table and bench tops, use a power sander to smooth the surfaces and slightly round over the corners. Remove all dust, then apply two coats of a good, clear exterior sealer.
Build the benches in the same basic manner you built the table. You'll be working with thinner lumber, so predrill holes before driving screws if the thinner 1x4s tend to split.
The legs on our benches measure 2 3/4-in. x 2 3/4-in., which means you need to cut down 4x4s to attain the proper dimensions. You can save time by using full-size 4x4s. The trade-off? Your benches will be a little heavier to move (and be a little "heavier looking").
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