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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 08-24-10, 02:17 AM   #1
Gareth
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How to make a flat pack for storage plywood picnic table.

OK, not exactly a Utility Cycling related subject, but these flat pack for storage plywood picnic tables are ideal for cycle events, and can be easily hauled on a bicycle trailer (6 tables flat packed will fit inside my AVD pedal-van with space to spare).

The picnic tables are made from a single sheet of plywood, take about 30 minutes to mark out, and about 1 hour to cut out.

These flat-pack plywood picnic tables have been a God send this summer for both me personally and for for my business; Cargo Cycles.

They have been hauled around to various shows and events that I have attended, been used as canteen seating in the unit workshop for Sammy and I. I've conducted business meetings sat at them. They've been loaned to my neighbours on the business estate for similar duties, have been borrowed by friends, etc. and in a few weeks time the students allocated to me by the probation service will sit at them as I train them in City & Guilds mechanical fitting, and these tables have proven to be a very valuable advertising media and asset for me.


You will need a copy of the plans, which you can download and save from here: http://familyfun.go.com/Resources/picnictable.pdf

To mark out the plywood, you'll need: a rule or tape measure, a pencil, a square, and a straight edge of about 4 feet long, or slightly longer.

I have used a cordless jigsaw for the rounded cuts, and cordless circular saw for the long straight cuts, but a jigsaw will be more than adequate for all the cutting requirements.

Pay close attention to the plans: being originally drawn by an American they are slightly odd: following both a Centre Line set of dimensions, and an accumulated set of dimensions from the bottom edge of the sheet of plywood. The only really tricky part of the plans and the dimensioning is the long recession the seat support.

Note: I have used cheap 18 mm thick shuttering plywood rather than the recommended 1" thick plywood: so if you follow my lead here, you'll need to reduce the joint let ins from 1" to 18 mm.

Ready to mark out:



The sheet of plywood marked out and ready to cut:



The best results will be obtained by using a jigsaw blade that will cut on both the up, and down strokes, and is suitable for cutting curves. You will also need to set the reciprocating motion function of your jigsaw to either 0 or 1. A close up photo of a jigsaw blade that cuts on both the up and on the down strokes:



The first cuts to make are: The table top, seat tops, and seat supports, by doing these first, it'll make the remaining piece of plywood a more manageable size:



Then cut out the curved detailing:





You should end up with something that looks like this:



The next piece to cut out is the main support:



And then you can cut out the two end pieces:



When the plans say that you can make this flat pack picnic table from a single sheet of plywood, they weren't kidding. Here is all the off cuts and the pile of saw dust that I produced:


Last edited by Gareth; 08-24-10 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 08-24-10, 02:18 AM   #2
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Now you can begin cutting the slip joint let ins and complete the detailing.

The table end:



You will then need to cut out the hand grips; 2 in either end, and 1 in the table top:









The hand hold cut outs are 2 inches X 4 inches and are more than big enough for my gloved hands:



The main support:



Assemble your table;






Last edited by Gareth; 08-24-10 at 02:30 AM.
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Old 08-24-10, 02:19 AM   #3
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Then turn the frame upside down and place it on the table top and centralise it. Cut 4 of these from two of the off-cuts left over to make the hold together clips:




Then glue and nail them to the table top only in each corner of the main support and table end like this:



Which should then look like this:



You can now assemble the Picnic table as in the photos above and use it. Here is Sammy who works for me sat at one of the tables:




It is now time to sand everything down and to round off any edges. You can then either paint the table, or give it a coat of wood preservative:


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Old 08-24-10, 02:20 AM   #4
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My six tables along with another 6-10, that I can borrow from my Church will be used during our house warming party in 3 weeks time; 40 odd guests, two bands, and 5 other performers.

I have however encountered an issue with them, not exactly a problem, but more of a niggle.

I had 4 very large ladies (and I mean very large; think 20 plus stones/280#/ 130kg a piece or just over 1/2 of a ton in total) sit at one of my tables and eat their picnic during one show (and they weren't even interested in my products), their combined weight sank the table legs almost 4 inches into a reasonably dry grass playing field, and I had one helluva job pulling the table out of the soil while Sammy, in fits of laughter stood by watching me.

I am lucky as I have a whole metalworking and woodworking workshop available for my every whim, and so the other day I fished out my 6 inch diameter hole saw and made some simple, but very effective plywood feet to spread the load, reduce the ground pressure, and prevent another situation of having to recover the sunken narrow legs of a table from the turf again.




















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Old 08-24-10, 02:21 AM   #5
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OK, I have used a hole-saw and a bench mounted pillar drill, but a jigsaw and pistol drill are more than adequate to make a set feet similar to the ones that I have made.[/quote]
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Old 08-29-10, 08:57 PM   #6
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Wow, really nice, I may have to make one....
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Old 08-29-10, 09:26 PM   #7
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they look cool. it is even cooler that it only takes one sheet of ply wood to build it. thanks for posting this. i might just have to build one of these for my sister so that she has a place to sit the kids when they eat outside.

i just realized that the 18mm is 1mm thinner than 3/4inch. good to know when dealing with plans that are using standard measurements.

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Old 09-20-10, 10:01 PM   #8
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Excellent build-along , will ave to make one for the grand kids ! Thank you !
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Old 09-21-10, 11:39 AM   #9
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This might be the wrong forum but it's a really neat & fun thread. Thank's!!
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My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
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Old 09-21-10, 03:03 PM   #10
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Nice job on the tables Gareth
I was thinking that you could make up a stencil and spray your logo and number onto the sides of the tables? This would be added advertisment for your business. You could also hire out the tables if you dont do this already.



Damn that Sammy, I had high hopes of becoming a CargoCycles apprentice

Regards
Tom
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Old 09-28-10, 04:24 AM   #11
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Mate, you can become Cargo Cycles apprentice if you want; Sammy only works for me on a partime casual basis during his days off from being a nightclub bouncer.

I already have the picnic tables liveried with Cargo Cycles decals, and have given 6 of them away to friends with businesses that attend various shows up and down the country. That means that Cargo Cycles gets on average 10 hours per day advertising (free) at shows and music festivals that I am not at.


Talking of shows: Tom, you have an invitation to come down and stay with Lois & I for the weekend of the Norwich Bicycle show next June. Cargo Cycles is hosting the show on the playing field adjacent to to the main workshop, and we will have various races on the running track, and sloping pathway including; Fixes and singlespeed, Trikes & recumbent, pedal racing cars, various other Human Powered Vehicles, down hill gravity carts (soap box racers to you and me), along with the opportunity for the general public to try out the whole range of Cargo Cycles products which will also include the husky dog racing rigs and the lightweight horse drawn Carts & Carriages I am now making.
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