How to Build an ADA Picnic Table

Difficulty: Medium  |  Estimated time: 3 hours  |  Help needed: 3 volunteers

Adults and children appreciate having plenty of seating areas in and near their playspace. Picnic tables provide seating, which encourages supervision when placed near a playground. Also, picnic tables provide opportunities for groups of people (families, friends, community members) to socialize and enjoy one another’s company. The Accessible Picnic Table comes with the added benefit of allowing adults and children with differing levels of mobility use the table together!

Download Instructions

Materials and tools

2 2x4x10' boards
8 2x6x8' boards
3 2x6x12' boards
1lb 2½" deck screws
16 ⅜"x3 ½" galvanized carriage bolts
16 ⅜" galvanized washers
16 ⅜" galvanized nuts
Tools needed:
Miter saw
Tape measure
Carpenter's square
Safety glasses
Screwdriver bit
9⁄16" socket with ratchet or 9⁄16" open-ended wrench
⅜" drill bit

Preparation instructions

  1. Sort all materials into piles by like item to ensure you have materials needed to complete project.

  2. Take [1] of the 2x6x12' boards. Cut into [2] 65 ¾" pieces.

  3. Take [2] of the remaining 2x6x12' boards. Cut each into [2] 72" pieces, for a total of [4] 2x6x72" pieces.

  4. Take [6] of the 2x6x8' pieces. Ensure that they are exactly 8' long, and then set aside.

  5. Take the remaining [2] 2x6x8' pieces. Cut each into [2] 39 ¼" pieces, for a total of [4] 2x6x39 ¼" pieces.

  6. Take [1] of the 2x4x10' boards. Cut into [3] 34 ¼" pieces.

  7. Take the remaining 2x4x10' board. Cut into [2] 32" pieces

  8. Angled cuts:

    • Take the [2] 2x6x65 ¾" pieces cut in step 2. Set the miter saw to a 38° angle and cut the angle off of both ends, creating [2] 65 ¾" trapezoids.
    • Take the [4] 2x6x39 ¼" pieces cut in step 5. Keeping the saw set to a 38°, cut the angle off of both ends, creating [4] 39 ¼" parallelograms.
    • Take the [3] 2x4x34 ¼" pieces cut in step 6. Keeping the saw set to a 38°, cut the angle off of both ends, creating [4] 34 ¼" trapezoids.
    • Take the [2] 2x4x32" pieces cut in step 7. Set the miter saw to a 26° angle and cut the angle off of both ends, creating [2] 32" parallelograms.

Build instructions

  1. Before building, inventory and sort all of your materials.

    4 2x6x72" pieces
    2 2x6x65 ¾" trapezoids
    4 2x6x39 ¼" parallelograms
    3 2x4x34 ¼" trapezoids
    2 2x4x43" parallelograms
    6 2x6x8' boards
  2. Assemble the A-frame sides as shown. Line up the bottom corners of the 2x4x34¼" table top supports with the outside of the 2x6x39¼" legs. Make sure legs are flush with the top support. Attach with two deck screws to hold in place.

  3. Next, line up the 2x6x65¾" so they are level with the ground, and the top edge extends 12⅛" from the legs on either side. Secure with two deck screws to hold in place.

  4. Attach each intersection with carriage bolts: Drill ⅜" holes and use the carriage bolts to secure the connection: keep the bolt heads against the seat and top supports (facing outward) and the washers and nuts against the legs (facing inward on a completed table). Make sure the bolts are staggered as shown.

  5. Attach seats: Begin by first standing up the two A-frame sides, making sure the seat supports and top supports are facing outwards and the legs are towards the inside. Then attach one (1) 2x6x72" seat on each side of the A-frames, flush with the end of the seat support. Overhang the end of the 2x6 seats 6" past the outside face of the seat support. Attach with two screws.

  6. Next, secure the second 2x6x72" seats. Be sure to leave a ¼" gape between them. (Hint: Use a pencil to ensure a ¼" gap when attaching the seats with deck screws).

  7. Attach tabletop boards and center support:

    • (a) Lay the two (2) 2x6x96" tabletop boards on either side of the table so they overhang the A-Frames by 6", with most of the overhand concentrated on the other side. This is where someone in a wheelchair would be able to sit.

    • (b) Attach the 2x4x31¼" top support, parallel and centered between the A-frames, with two screws down through the tabletop boards.

  8. Then install the diagonal 2x4x32" braces flush with the center tabletop support and the seat supports (stagger slightly as shown in "Top View"). Attach with two screws at either end.

  9. Attach remaining tabletop boards: Install the remaining 2x6x96" table top boards with two screws on either end, ensuring that they extend beyond the A-frames by 6" and have a ¼" gap between them.