Troy Dolittle/Topdog Illustration

Tackle the frames once you are done with the ends

1. To make the frames for the table and benches, cut four 90-inch-long 2-by-4s and two 87-inch-long 2-by-4s (the latter will be used for the inner sides of the benches).

2. Cut eight 10-inch-long 2-by-4s for bench crosspieces and three 29-inch-long 2-by-4s for table crosspieces. Cut two 15 1/2-inch lengths of 4-by-4s (from the remainder of the 10-footers) for the center leg of each bench.

3. For the table frame, center one crosspiece and equally space the remaining two. Join the butted joints with two 2 1/2-inch screws running through the frame sides.

4. Center two of the bench crosspieces on opposite sides and flush with the top of each 4-by-4 bench leg, and attach with 2 1/2-inch screws. Center and attach this assembly at the midpoint of one 90-inch and one 87-inch 2-by-4, using 2 1/2-inch screws. (The shorter board will be on the inside of the bench.)

5. With the aid of a helper, stand up each end frame, space them 90 inches apart, and add temporary diagonal bracing to keep them vertical. Attach bench frames to connect with bench beams at three places per end: (A) two 2 1/2-inch screws through end of inner (87-inch) bench frame into shorter (44-inch) 2-by-6 bench beam; (B) two 2 1/2-inch screws through longer (67-inch) bench beam into end of inner bench frame; and (C) two 2 1/2-inch screws through ends of outer bench frame into longer bench beam.

6. Attach table frame. At each corner drive two 2 1/2-inch screws through frame into each post and two 2 1/2-inch screws into ends of each 2-by-4 table brace. Remove diagonal bracing.

7. To make the beams that support the pole roof, cut the 10-foot 2-by-6s to 114 inches long. On the tops of the beams, measure 6 inches in from one end and, at 8 1/2-inch intervals, mark the location for the poles. The ends of the beams have a tapered profile. Measure 2 inches up and 12 inches in from the corner, draw a diagonal line between those points, and cut out a triangular shape. Round the ends with a saber saw.

8. Clamp each roof beam flush with tops of posts so the ends extend 12 inches. Where the beam meets the center of each post, mark one point 1 1/2 inches from the top edge and another 1 1/2 inches from the bottom edge. Drill 1/2-inch-diameter holes through the two boards at those eight points. Attach with 5 1/2-inch carriage bolts and secure with washers and nuts.

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