Building a Rustic Table

How to Build a Stylish Picnic Table with Gutter

I had plans to build a rustic-style table for my dining room before I built the RH Inspired 1900s Boulangerie Table. I already had the boards cut and pocket holes drilled for the tabletop but then I drew the Boulangerie table and, well, the rest is “history”… Sigh!

Later, I saw a picture of a picnic style table with a trough for drinks or wine bottles in the center! I was in love and had to have this table! I wasn’t able to modify my current picnic table so I decided I would go ahead and finish the rustic table I initially started but use it outside. Anyway, it took me a year to complete this table. Not because it is difficult, but because I just lost interest. My  goal was to get it finished before my son’s graduation party and I am proud to say I did it!!

building a rustic style table

(Note: The plans for the “gutter table” can be found at The Design Confidential .)

Today, I will share how I constructed this picnic gutter table for outdoor use…


  • Plans for the table (and all materials necessary to build it)
  • Screws for outdoor use (<– affiliate link!)
  • Metal gutter with left and right endcaps, screws
  • Sander & sandpaper (80 grit, 120 grit, 220 grit)
  • Stain & spar varnish

I used regular pine lumber for this table – it was not treated.

picnic style table with trough unfinished boards

At this point, the lumber for the table should be cut but not assembled!

Starting with the table top, thoroughly sand all of the pieces. I started with 80 grit, then 120, and finished with 220 for an ultra-smooth surface.

picnic gutter table drilling pocket holes in the boards

Stain the pieces in the color desired (I used Rust-Oleum’s Ultimate Wood Stain in Kona), then apply the recommended number of coats of spar varnish. I am using Rust-Oleum’s Spar Varnish in Satin and the recommendation is three coats. Make sure all sides of each piece are stained and varnished.

build a rustic table staining the boards

Once the varnish has thoroughly dried, assemble the top according to the plan instructions. Set the top aside and continue constructing the rest of the table. I moved on to the legs – cutting the pieces and putting them together with pocket hole screws…

picnic style table with trough x leg assembled

I drilled countersunk holes for 2-1/2″ screws, used a liberal amount of glue, and clamped the x-pieces together to form the legs.

building a rustic table glue on leg assembly

picnic style table with trough legs assembled and clamped together

Then I used 2-1/2″ screws to secure the pieces, filled the holes and sanded the excess filler away when it was dry.

picnic gutter table using wood filler in the holes

I stained the legs and used spar varnish to seal them. I also used clear silicone to seal any gaps in the legs.

building a rustic table staining the legss

Next, I assembled the frame and supports, and repeated the process.

picnic style table with trough building the frame for the top

I forgot to take pictures of the rest of the steps I used… I was too excited at the thought that I was actually finishing this table! I attached the frame to the legs by boring 1/2″ holes through the top of each leg assembly. I then clamped the frame to the legs, and bored holes through the frame. I used 5″ galvanized carriage bolts with a washer to secure the legs to the frame.

I cut the piece for the leg stretcher and drilled pocket holes at each end. I secured the stretcher to the center of each leg assembly which helped tie everything together.

I then attached the top with 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws that were drilled into the frame leaving space for the gutter.

Then, I cut the gutter to length and drilled a hole in the bottom of the gutter for drainage. I attached the endcaps and secured the gutter to the table frame using gutter clips.

FINALLY!! The table is complete so bring on the party!!

picnic gutter table completed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.