Out at our new farm, we don’t have a lot of seating or a grill of any kind, so in this project we’re making a picnic table with two grills built in! This project involves gas and fire, so if you make one, do it at your own risk.
The overall concept that that I wanted to have two separate grill surfaces that could cook hotdogs, vegetable kabobs, or marshmallows in the center of a wooden picnic table. With Josh’s help, we worked backward from the key element, the fire. Wanting instant fire, I went with a propane burner design. Because of the compact nature of this concept, I didn’t want to use a large 20 lb. propane tank to power the grills. We found some replacement grill burners, gas lines with nozzles made for camping stoves, and some adapter fittings to fit common 1 lb. camping fuel bottles. This deconstructed arrangement mirrors the basic setup for most larger grills, and it worked great when paired with a simple push-button ignitor.
Because fire on a picnic table would lead to a burned up picnic table, we had to find a way to contain the heat from the rest of the table. Having recently finished my home-made forge, I used some of the left over fire bricks to enclose the two separate burner setups. In order for the gas nozzle to feed the burners, I had to cut a channel in the end cap fire bricks with a masonry cutoff wheel on my angle grinder. These fire boxes were designed using the size of the burner and the size of a replacement grill grate as a starting point. Once Josh tested the grill setup and verified that all of our replacement parts would work as expected, we began designing the picnic table around those two self-contained grills.
Using the cut list Josh generated from our 3d model, I began cutting the pressure treated lumber down to the specific sizes. Because we don’t have a miter saw station out at the farm, I cut all of these pieces on the floor. First, we assembled the benches by laying down the bench tops and building the leg assemblies up from there. If you would like specifics on how we assembled the table elements, check out digital plans we have available for download.
We repeated the steps for the bench again to make the second one and then started on the picnic table. Again, we built the table upside down because it is very heavy and awkward, so be prepared to flip it over when completed. The 2×8 top slats were butt together, making sure to space the center pieces to fit the burner boxes. Next we screwed down the horizontal braces that secured the top together. The braces on the ends had a 3/4″ dado cut into them so that the gas lines Josh got could fit into the cavities for the burner boxes. The legs assemblies, although bigger, went together in the same was as the benches. Josh helped me flip the giant table over and it was ready for the grills.
Because we had tested the burner arrangements prior to beginning the table, I was really simple to lay in the fire bricks, feed the gas line through the slot and hook up the burner. We hard mounted the ignitor button and made a platform for the propane bottles under the table. After testing the ignition of both burners, we added some heat deflectors like you’d find in a typical grill. These didn’t work as well as we’d hoped, so we removed them entirely. The replacement grill surfaces we purchased sat on top of the fire brick box perfectly and the table was ready for lunch.
Perfect Addition to Any Outdoor Setting
After moving the table out to of the barn and into the field, we got lunch ready. The grills are the perfect size for hotdogs, kabobs, and marshmallows. My family came out and had a beautiful fall lunch that they could cook in front of them. The whole setup was very safe and had plenty of room to accommodate plates, chip bags, silverware, and a host of kids moving around the table. I’m really happy with how it turned out and look forward to the memories we get to make outside cooking and enjoying the farm together.
In conclusion, if you are interested in making a table like this for yourself, the center section doesn’t have to be a grill; it can be an herb garden, a cooler, or a place to store things. We have plans available if you are interested, and we’d love to see what you’ve made!Get These Plans!
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- 10″ Evolution Miter Saw for cutting Steel, Aluminum, Wood, etc.