Picnic bench What timber?

That time of year, well was last week , too darn cold at moment, to think of sitting outside.
Previous experience tells me patio sets etc are a bit pointless, they need set up , which usually means not bothering. Picinic benches are ideal, always available and with addition of parasol make great all weather smoking shelters.
Looking at the B&Q item it appears to be made from some treated pine and find it hard to believe it retailed at 95 quid never mind the 55 they now ask.
Suspect pine is wrong material as trying to avoid rebuilding and retreating on annual basis,
B&M had a reasonable looking model in at around 70 quid but a hardwood without any FSC or any nod to origin, feel a bit guilty sitting in garden on bit of cut cleared rainforest TBH
IKEA model has the stamps but is formed out of comb jointed bits where they seem to have used a non waterproof glue..
Plenty of picnic bench plans around on web even simple enough for my very basic joinery skills, not sure what sort of timber should be looking for or indeed where to get it?
Guessing some hardwood of some type or is treated softwood going to be good enough?
If a hardwood , where am I best looking for supplies, timber merchant sawmill ,yellow pages?
and what am I asking for? prefer not to waste peoples time and/or look an idiot
Also seen picnic tables topped with planks cut with one edge still showing the bark, presume need to chat to a sawmill about getting planks in that state, but what would they be called?
Thanks Adam
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If you want cheap and easy to make, you're probably best with regularised and treated softwood - the stuff that's used for timber framing.
Every timber merchant and builders merchant carries it - order a bunch of 50*100mm - say 6 lengths of 4.8m (long pieces are better as it's easier to juggle cutting out the lengths you need).
Expect to pay around 1.50/meter.
This will make a very solid and rather heavy picnic bench, and will be very tolerant of basic joinery skills.
Tools wise, you'd need a handsaw, and a cordless drill/screwdriver (or even better, an impact driver).
Construction can be all butt joints and lap joints, with a few substantial screws (use something like 6*80mm turbogold from screwfix) to secure each joint.
The convenience of the largish timbers (50*100mm) and largish screws, is that you can put screws into the endgrain securely - pretty much eliminating any need for cutting wood joints - all you need is to be able to cut the ends square - either with a handsaw, or more easily with a powered mitre saw.
Fact of life is that basic-range timber products at the diy sheds cost barley more than the cost of the timber.
Hardwood is not the place to start a first joinery project that will use substantial quantities of timber.
Unless you have an ultra-low-cost local source, some sort of doner- item/salvage - or want to develop the skills to use rustic greenwood (i.e. tree-surgeons offcuts/firewood) - avoid the hardwood option.
Another option though, may be to look at the garden fencing timber section, or the garden-decking supplies of your local diy store, or better still a fencing or farm suppliers - they by necessity, have to offer substantial, reasonably rot-resistant timbers at a low price.
Decking and some ingenuity may serve you very well.
Light and elegant furniture this will not be, it'll be much more like the stuff you see at picnic sites and pub gardens - designed to be low cost, stay outside year-round and take some rough treatment.

Waney-edged board.
There's also the log-sidings that are taken off the trunks when they're cut square at the sawmill. If you know someone milling up some timber in-situ with a portable saw-mill, they may be happy to give away some of the scrap after slabbing up the trunk.
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snipped-for-privacy@gglz.com wrote:
Some excellent advice. Can't add much...

Ideal material because it has the corners rounded off. Some places stock 89mm x 38mm http://www.wickes.co.uk/Timber/Stud-Work/icat/ststudwork which would give a slightly less 'bulky' look.

Even better if you have even a basic chop saw, or a cheap circular saw and a small 'sawboard' (GIYF)

Can't beat SF turbogold, they will go in without a pilot & dont split the timber.

<SNIP>> .

Pub gardens are excellent places to research dimensions. As long as you buy a pint nobody is going to mind you measuring up the picnic bench. Tough job, someone has to do it :-)
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The Medway Handyman wrote:

I wouldn't use SPF stud timber outdoors. It's mainly spruce, which has zero tolerance to the elements IME. Anything in the way of fencing materials should be ok and pretty cheap. You could cobble something together out of posts, gravel board etc. The only bits that will rot are where there is prolonged contact with water. If the feet are on slabs, and the top is slatted, it should last well.
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Yep, I can second that. I did some similar research a couple of years ago.
Best allow a long summers evening for each measurement though - I found it took several pints to get all the dimensions double checked.
Actually, thinking about it, I never did make the bench. Might have to start checking again...
Darren
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wrote:

Ones in pubs seem to be well preserved through the copious layers of spilled beer, cigarette ash and bird droppings.
Why do we have to pay the same price so sit in such squalor. Do the landlords / managers ever look at their gardens?
A good scrub at the start of the sit outside season wouldn't go amiss.
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Thanksfor the comprehensive answers everyone , couple questions if I may

Treatment, is treated timber suitable for a food serving table top, seem to be some conflicting advice about wether tanalised or equivalent timbers are safe for extended skin and food service area.
Some mention of some treatments not likeing some metal fnishes as well.
What about cut ends?

Solid and heavy is good, want to have a good time in the garden not worry about the furniture ;-)
basic joinery skills with empahsis on the basic.

Have the venerable Aldi SCMS which has done a couple of loftbeds before.
It does make the repetitive cuts that much more fun frankly :-)

very true baut not sure want a banana shaped picnic bench :-)

I wish I had Andy`s skills and teh tools to use them, here on the desert island with woodworking skills of retarded chimp will just have to literally bash on.

Remote garden that is destination is in ruralsville with couple of sawmills withing roofrack range, not sure if they are more used to dealing in the kilometre range rather metre range of order though.

Sounds like worth looking around

That describes project goal eloquently

Thanks
Worth asking around now ahve trough idea what its called,
For anyones refernce later came across these plans
http://www.sticksite.com/picnic/index.html
http://members.shaw.ca/bomr/ptabl.htm
Theres a few outh there.
Thanks Adam
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I'm no expert on timber treatment, but I think borate treatment is more common and less toxic than CCA (Copper, Chrome, Arsenic - or whatever the modern non-arsenic equivalent is).
Breathing the sawdust for long periods possibly not good - but I can't see how you would absorb any significant amount of the treatment otherwise. I'd imagine inhaling barbecue smoke does you more harm.

Yup, something on the cut ends would be good. Simply putting black gloss paint on would probably look appropriate and unobtrusive.

We're both talking the same language then - that's exactly what I had in mind.
I think I prefer the 2nd design because it has a slightly simpler assembly method - though I might borrow the design for the diagonal braces under the table top, from the first design.
As with any unfamiliar project, have a practice with timber scraps to produce joints you're happy with.
I hadn't thought about using coach bolts, a big bag of them complete with nuts ad washers, from screwfix is cheap enough.
Coach bolts may make things a little easier if you don't have an impact driver to drive in large screws. But only where you can do through-holes in both timbers, which won't be everywhere.
Either big self-cutting woodscrews (like Spax or screwfix turobgold) or coach bolts are good for slightly out of true/not quite cut right timbers - to pull the joints up tight. For that reason I'd skip nails altogether.
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Adam Aglionby wrote:

Its not really a food service top - the food won't be in contact wih the timber - it will be on plates surely? Never heard of it affecting skin, certainly doesn't during the building of 30+ decks.

Not heard of that either.

Treat with end grain treatment - Cuprinol do one.
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On 5 May, 20:45, "The Medway Handyman" <davidl...@no-spam- blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:> > Some mention of some treatments not likeing some metal fnishes as

It's why decking screws are green. Some perfectly adequate rustproofing finishes for outdoor screws (black Parkerizing) just don't hold up in contact with CCA timber, hence the green stuff instead.
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Guessing as TMH has mentioned Screfix Turbogold in relation to decks the finish on these should be OK?
Cheers Ada,
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On 08/05/10 15:12, Adam Aglionby wrote:

Turbo Ultra Stainless are stocked by Screwfix - nice self cutting countersunk. The are more prone to shearing than steel, but no problems with softwood. Oak is worth drilling a pilot hole.
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I bought a trade case when they first launched them. After finding quite how prone to shearing they are, I only use the very small screws for trims, and for this they are excellent (particularly window beading).
But the larger ones I found so prone to shearing, even if infrequently, that it wasn't worth the hassle and time taken to remove broken screws.
Spax now do stainless. Haven't tried stainless spax, but generally when comparing equivalent size spax and turbogold/ultra, spax have that bit more meat to them.
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snipped-for-privacy@gglz.com wrote:
snip

I must get my eyes tested, I read that as
> Spax now do stainless. Haven't tried stainless spax, but generally > when comparing equivalent size spax and turbogold/ultra, spax *wave* > that bit more meat to them.
Dave
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It's quite normal to have screws wave to you. Nails like to say hello, and you can often hear a group of bolts singing a jolly little tune.
But are the little pills the doctor gave you talking about you behind your back?
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Rivets sound like tiny frogs croaking.
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snipped-for-privacy@gglz.com wrote:

No, but it could stem from the beta blockers I have just been weaned off.
Dave
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Adam Aglionby wrote:

I use the green screws for the boards & turbogold coach screws for the joists. They are described as 'Zinc & Yellow-Passivated'. Never had a problem, first deck I used them on is 10 years old.
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On 5 May, 20:45, "The Medway Handyman" <davidl...@no-spam- blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

Did wonder if any contras against skin contact, seems like it should be OK
Was thinking about seats and top in contrasting timber, redwood looks nice but expensive.

Thanks for that.

Hving had closer look at proposed site looks like be back for decking advice shortly ;-)
No such thing as a little job.
Cheers Adam
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Adam Aglionby wrote:

I build decks all the time, done 30 - 40 of them. HTH.

Oh how true :-) Especially when SWMBO says 'it won't take you 5 minutes'.
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