Saturday, March 9, 2019

How to Build a Better Picnic Table

ISBN 1-4243-0963-8

This is not your average picnic table.


My goal here was to design a better picnic table, and a booklet with everything you need to know to build this table.

This Picnic Table is being built around the world by Homeowners, Schools, Colleges & Restaurants.

It's Handicap Accessible
It's Easy to Build and Kits are Available
It has No Exposed Screws on the Table Top
It's Easy to Move around the yard
It Stands-Up for Easy Cleanup and Storage

This table is Handicap Accessible

This unique picnic table is Handicap Accessible because it has room for a person in a wheelchair or an extra bench at the ends of the table, and because someone can sit at the ends of the benches without lifting their leg over the bench.

Whether you're new to woodworking or building picnic tables to sell, this step by step booklet will show you how to build a better picnic table. Over 200 picnic tables using this design are built every year and I truly believe this is a better picnic table. As a woodworker when I put this booklet together it was important to me to keep it simple, yet written with enough step-by-step detail that a reader with no woodworking experience can actually build this table.

This picnic table design is becoming increasingly popular with Homeowners, Schools, Colleges & Restaurants, and my single bench version is being used as an outside Event Table. I truly believe that you can build this table, and that you will have fun doing it.

The table is designed to stand back while you cut the grass.

In the spring & summer we have to cut the grass several times a month. This table was designed to stand-up out of the way and to be easy to move.

When cutting the grass first I stand all my picnic tables on one side and I cut the whole lawn;
then I flip them all to the other side and cleanup around the tables;
then I flip them all down and put the mower away.
It really would not be any easier to mow if I had no tables to cut around.

Cleaning & Storage

I also stand my tables on one side to store them for the winter. Just remember a strong wind may knock one over.
To help my tables last and to help keep them clean the boards are well gaped; this allows rain water to drain through,
and I build my tables with stainless steel carriage bolts and corrosion resistant deck-screws.

Most of the wooden picnic tables you see are a copy of the original picnic table built 100 years ago. I guess no one told them it was not a great design. Some people think to build a picnic table; you just nail a few boards together. Well that's almost true but let's skip the nails, add a little bit of thought, and build a better picnic table this weekend.

A few years ago I set-out to design and build a better picnic table.
The traditional picnic table is typically hard to get in and out of; it can be clumsy to move;
and with most tables the legs will weaken each time you tip the table on to its side.

When designing this picnic table I had three goals. I wanted it to be handicap accessible, to be easy to move, and to be easier to get in and out of. I accomplished all of this and more by carefully planning my unique table design.

This picnic table is built using roughly (88) Deck-screws, (13) 2x6x8's and (2) 2x4x8's

I normally use 8 carriage bolts -w- Nuts & Washers; for high traffic tables I use 16 carriage bolts.


I truly believe you can build this table, and that you will have fun doing it.

If you would like a copy it's $12 with Free Shipping
You supply all Hardware & Lumber.

The Picnic Table Plans include easy to follow step by step instructions. A full materials list, and helpful tips, photos, diagrams and more to help you build your table quickly.

No fancy tools are required. US Postal Service First Class Mail ®
(Free Shipping within United States & Canada Only)

Qty: 1   Email: dave@dfb.net

Thanks for stopping by to look at my picnic tables

Moved my site to Blogger

You may have noticed things have changed. My websites had been hosted on Godaddy for many years but last week I moved them to Blogger.

I started using GoDaddy prior to 2000 and was happy for many years, but for the past few years I've felt the performance has slowed.

My blog site grayharley.com was using the wordpress backend, and my other sites were running combination of HTML, PHP, and MySQL. I like php and mysql over plain html but as I said the performance on Godaddy had declined. I'm a Google fan, so I decieded to look into moving my blog from Wordpress to Blogger. It worked well, yes I had to do a bit of cleanup but I was happy enough that I decided to move dfb.net and all the townof sites as well.

One of the good things about moving eight sites in one week is I got a lot of experience with Blogger quickly. So far I'm very happy. I like the extra features in Blogger and I like the Google photos integration. I'm still looking for a better way to display my google Photo Albums and the Links Gadget does not include a open in new tab option but overall I'm quickly becoming a Blogger fan.

Dave

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Ez-Hanger

If you have ever had to hang a shelf or cabinet, I think you will find that the Ez-Hanger will make that task easier.

I was making a hanging Paper Towel holder with two shelves. While making it I kept thinking how can I make it easy to hang. I had several ideas, this one was easy to make using the tools I already owned.



Well my Paper Towel holder and Shelves are done and I have decided to hang it on the wall above my sink. Next to the sink is a door. I want the bottom shelve to be at eye level and the side to be about 4 inches from the door.

I simply hang the Ez-Hanger so the Bottom is at eye level and the side is 5 inches from the door. Now I can hang my shelve unit on the Ez-Hanger and i'm done.



The Ez-Hanger was so easy to hang. My walls are regular dry-wall walls, so I held up my Ez-Hanger on the wall in the general location I wanted. It has two screws to hold it on the wall and the screws were already inplace. I used a hammer to carefully tap in the first screw. Then I used my level to make sure the Ez-Hanger was level and then I carefully hammered in the second screw. Since I have dry-wall walls it came off just as easy as it went up.

Now I will use two self taping dry-wall screw nuts. They say you don't have to pre-drill but I have found that they work better if you pre-drill so I will use a 1/4 inch drill bit and enlarge the two screw holes I just made in my wall. Then I will screw in the two self taping dry-wall screw nuts. Now I use my screw driver and re-hang the Ez-Hanger. All my holes lined up like I measured, but I did not have to and it went up quick and easy.


Wednesday, April 6, 2005

The Chicken Yard

The chicken yard is fenced in with 6ft high chicken wire. Click photo to enlarge.

The Chicken Coop is 4ft x 4ft wide, its 6ft high in the front and 5ft high in back. It has a large window and a fiberglass roof to provide light. The window is covered with chicken wire and has shutters so it can be closed at night and in bad weather. The coop has two doors a small one for the chickens and a large one for people, both doors can be latched closed. Inside the coop are 8 nests, two roosts, a feed can and water can.

A water can heater that turns on when its below 30, and a heat lamp that turns on when its below 55. The thermostat on the heat lamp is adjustable so it can also be used to keep baby chicks warm or to turn on the light at night. There are two access flaps for gathering eggs with out having to enter the chicken coop or yard.

Monday, March 7, 2005

Chickens are Smart

Chickens are smart. If you provide them with a place to live with food and water, they will be home every day before dark. If one should get out and can't get back in you will probley find it roosting in a nearby tree very close to the Hen House.

If you are planing to add a roster to your Hen House, be carefull not to get between him and the girls. You don't want him to consider you a threat. If you can get along with your roster you will find he makes a good watch dog. Letting you know when someone enters the yard, and he will act like a sheep dog, watching over and keeping the girls together. A large roster may be more than you can handle, consider a smaller breed.

Chickens will eat almost anything. In addition to chicken feed and scratch grain, I feed mine table scraps. I tell my friends and anyone that will listen to my chicken stories that I feed my chickens everything but chicken. I also say that cows and pigs are scared to walk through my yard because if my chickens see them they will be thinking "Lunch". Think about it. They eat plants and bugs, so you know they will like left over vegies and steak. I cut the left overs up into little bitty pieces. They come running everytime they hear the house door open to see if I'm bringing them a snack.

I know they are looking for a snack, but I can be home for an hour or more before I see my cats, and when I call my chickens they come running. I call my cats and they can't be bothered.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Chicken Behavior

Leading animal behavior scientists from across the globe now tell us that chickens are inquisitive and interesting animals whose cognitive abilities are more advanced than those of cats, dogs, and even some primates. Chickens understand sophisticated intellectual concepts, they learn from watching each other, they demonstrate self-control, they worry about the future, and even have cultural knowledge that is passed from generation to generation.

Chickens comprehend cause-and-effect relationships and understand that objects still exist even after they are hidden from view. This puts the cognitive abilities of chickens above those of small human children. Scientists are so impressed with what we now know about the intellect of chickens and other birds that a group of international experts recently called for a new naming system to reflect the complex, mammal-like structure of avian brains. Dr. Christine Nicol, who studies chicken intelligence, reflected, They may be bird brains,but we need to redefine what we mean by bird brains. Chickens have shown us they can do things people didn't think they could do. There are hidden depths to chickens, definitely.

When in their natural surroundings chickens form complex social hierarchies, also known as pecking orders, and every chicken knows his or her place on the social ladder and remembers the faces and ranks of more than 100 other birds. People who have spent time with chickens know that each bird has a different personality that often relates to his or her place in the pecking order—some are gregarious and fearless, while others are more shy and watchful; some chickens enjoy human company, while others are standoffish, shy, or even a bit aggressive. Just like dogs, cats, and humans, each chicken is an individual with a distinct personality.

Several research teams have recently published findings on chicken intelligence that have challenged old notions about avian cognitive abilities. For instance, scientists have found that chickens clearly understand cause-and-effect relationships, an advanced comprehension skill that puts their intellect beyond that of dogs. In the book The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken, Dr. Lesley Rogers, a professor of neuroscience and animal behavior, concludes, It is now clear that birds have cognitive capacities equivalent to those of mammals, even primates.

In one experiment that explored chickens understanding of causal relationships, researchers found that when injured chickens were offered the choice between regular food and food that contained a painkiller, the birds soon understood that the medicated food made them feel better, and they learned to seek it out it over the other choices. The chickens will take the analgesic every time, says Dr. Joy Mench, a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of California at Davis. They understood cause and effect and learned how to make the best decision.

Chickens can also grasp other complex mental concepts. For instance, according to Evans, chickens are able to understand that objects still exist even after they are hidden or removed from view. This level of cognition is actually beyond the capacity of small human children. Researchers also recently reported that chickens can anticipate the future and demonstrate self-control, something previously attributed only to humans and other primates. Scientists made this discovery after they observed that when given the option between pecking a button and receiving a small food reward instantly or holding out for 22 seconds in order to receive a larger food reward, chickens in the study demonstrated self-control by holding out for the larger reward over 90 percent of the time.

Chickens are social animals who form complex social hierarchies and interact in complex ways that are indicative of what anthropologists call culture. For example, researchers have shown that chickens learn from observing the success and failure of others in their community. One experiment that demonstrated this finding involved teaching one group of chickens to peck red and green buttons a certain number of times to obtain a food reward. Researchers were surprised to find that when a new group of chickens watched those who had learned how to push the buttons for food, the new chickens quickly caught on by watching the others. At a scientific conference, Dr. Christine Nicol, who worked on the on the study, told her colleagues, They may be bird brains, but we need to redefine what we mean by bird brains. Chickens have shown us they can do things people didn't think they could do. There are hidden depths to chickens, definitely.

Researchers have also found that chickens have a cultural knowledge that they pass down from generation to generation. John Webster, a professor at Bristol University in the U.K., set up a study in which he gave chickens a mixture of yellow and blue kernels of corn. The blue kernels were tainted with chemicals that made the birds feel sick, and they quickly learned to avoid the blue corn entirely (this is also another example of their understanding of cause and effect).

When the chickens in Webster's study had their young, he spread yellow and blue corn around the farm, and even though he made it so that both types were harmless, the mother hens remembered that the blue corn had previously made them sick, and they steered their young away from it. In an article in the London Times, Webster explains, What this tells us is that the mother hen has learnt what food is good and what is bad for her, that she cares so much for her chicks she will not let them eat the bad food, and she is passing on to her young what she has learnt. To me, that is pretty close to culture and an advanced one at that. Chickens are sentient creatures and have feelings of their own.

Scientists have been so impressed with the cognitive capabilities of birds that a group of international experts recently called for a new naming system to reflect the advanced nature of birds brains. According to an article that appeared in The Washington Post, The new system, which draws upon many of the words used to describe the human brain and has broad support among scientists, acknowledges the now overwhelming evidence that avian and mammalian brains are remarkably similar a fact that explains why many kinds of bird are not just twitchily resourceful but able to design and manufacture tools, solve mathematical problems and, in many cases, use language in ways that even chimpanzees and other primates cannot.

The Fascinating Lives of Chickens

Brainy, Social, Talkin Birds with Big Personalities

Chicken's make fun pets
Chickens make great yard pets, and they can be as much fun as cats and dogs. I keep a few chickens in the yard as pets, and everyday when the weather is good I let them out of the fenced chicken yard and into the open yard. I try to wait till noon to let them out, hoping that they will be done with their egg laying and that other creatures that may prey on my chickens will have already found their meal elseware. My chickens like to play in the open yard, and when they see me comming to let them out its like watching an anxous child. Another advantage of letting the chickens out is it's easier to clean the hen house when they are not under foot. Sometimes I close the gate behind them so I can finish without having their help.

One of the first things you need to consider when your thinking about getting chickens are where are they going to sleep. Your not building a Hen House or chicken coop to keep the chickens in. Your building a hen house or chicken coop to keep other animals out. If you don't do a good job, one morning you may wake up and find your chickens have been eaten by racoons.

Chickens are smart. If you provide them with a place to live with food and water, they will be home every day before dark. If one should get out and can't get back in you will probley find it roosting in a nearby tree very close to the Hen House.

If you are planing to add a roster to your Hen House, be carefull not to get between him and the girls. You don't want him to consider you a threat. If you can get along with your roster you will find he makes a good watch dog. Letting you know when someone enters the yard, and he will act like a sheep dog, watching over and keeping the girls together. A large roster may be more than you can handle, consider a smaller breed.

Chickens will eat almost anything. In addition to chicken feed and scratch grain, I feed mine table scraps. I tell my friends and anyone that will listen to my chicken stories that I feed my chickens everything but chicken. I also say that cows and pigs are scared to walk through my yard because if my chickens see them they will be thinking "Lunch". Think about it. They eat plants and bugs, so you know they will like left over vegies and steak. I cut the left overs up into little bitty pieces. They come running everytime they hear the house door open to see if I'm bringing them a snack.1

I know they are looking for a snack, but I can be home for an hour or more before I see my cats, and when I call my chickens they come running. I call my cats and they can't be bothered.

Chickens are smart, leading animal behavior scientists from across the globe now tell us that chickens are inquisitive and interesting animals whose cognitive abilities are more advanced than those of cats, dogs, and even some primates. Chickens understand sophisticated intellectual concepts, they learn from watching each other, they demonstrate self-control, they worry about the future, and even have cultural knowledge that is passed from generation to generation.

Chickens comprehend cause-and-effect relationships and understand that objects still exist even after they are hidden from view.2 This puts the cognitive abilities of chickens above those of small human children.3 Scientists are so impressed with what we now know about the intellect of chickens and other birds that a group of international experts recently called for a new naming system to reflect the complex, mammal-like structure of avian brains.4 Dr. Christine Nicol, who studies chicken intelligence, reflected, They may be bird brains, but we need to redefine what we mean by bird brains. Chickens have shown us they can do things people didn't think they could do. There are hidden depths to chickens, definitely. 5

When in their natural surroundings, not on factory farms, chickens form complex social hierarchies, also known as pecking orders, and every chicken knows his or her place on the social ladder and remembers the faces and ranks of more than 100 other birds.6 People who have spent time with chickens know that each bird has a different personality that often relates to his or her place in the pecking order some are gregarious and fearless, while others are more shy and watchful; some chickens enjoy human company, while others are standoffish, shy, or even a bit aggressive. Just like dogs, cats, and humans, each chicken is an individual with a distinct personality.

Brainy Birds
Several research teams have recently published findings on chicken intelligence that have challenged old notions about avian cognitive abilities. For instance, scientists have found that chickens clearly understand cause-and-effect relationships, an advanced comprehension skill that puts their intellect beyond that of dogs. In the book The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken, Dr. Lesley Rogers, a professor of neuroscience and animal behavior, concludes, It is now clear that birds have cognitive capacities equivalent to those of mammals, even primates. 7

In one experiment that explored chickens understanding of causal relationships, researchers found that when injured chickens were offered the choice between regular food and food that contained a painkiller, the birds soon understood that the medicated food made them feel better, and they learned to seek it out it over the other choices. The chickens will take the analgesic every time, says Dr. Joy Mench, a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of California at Davis. They understood cause and effect and learned how to make the best decision.8

Chickens can also grasp other complex mental concepts. For instance, according to Evans, chickens are able to understand that objects still exist even after they are hidden or removed from view. This level of cognition is actually beyond the capacity of small human children.9 Researchers also recently reported that chickens can anticipate the future and demonstrate self-control, something previously attributed only to humans and other primates. 10 Scientists made this discovery after they observed that when given the option between pecking a button and receiving a small food reward instantly or holding out for 22 seconds in order to receive a larger food reward, chickens in the study demonstrated self-control by holding out for the larger reward over 90 percent of the time.11

Chickens are social animals who form complex social hierarchies and interact in complex ways that are indicative of what anthropologists call culture. For example, researchers have shown that chickens learn from observing the success and failure of others in their community. One experiment that demonstrated this finding involved teaching one group of chickens to peck red and green buttons a certain number of times to obtain a food reward. Researchers were surprised to find that when a new group of chickens watched those who had learned how to push the buttons for food, the new chickens quickly caught on by watching the others. At a scientific conference, Dr. Christine Nicol, who worked on the on the study, told her colleagues, They may be bird brains, but we need to redefine what we mean by bird brains. Chickens have shown us they can do things people didn't think they could do. There are hidden depths to chickens, definitely. 12

Researchers have also found that chickens have a cultural knowledge that they pass down from generation to generation. John Webster, a professor at Bristol University in the U.K., set up a study in which he gave chickens a mixture of yellow and blue kernels of corn. The blue kernels were tainted with chemicals that made the birds feel sick, and they quickly learned to avoid the blue corn entirely (this is also another example of their understanding of cause and effect).

When the chickens in Websters study had their young, he spread yellow and blue corn around the farm, and even though he made it so that both types were harmless, the mother hens remembered that the blue corn had previously made them sick, and they steered their young away from it. In an article in the London Times, Webster explains, What this tells us is that the mother hen has learnt what food is good and what is bad for her, that she cares so much for her chicks she will not let them eat the bad food, and she is passing on to her young what she has learnt. To me, that is pretty close to culture and an advanced one at that. Chickens are sentient creatures and have feelings of their own. 13

Scientists have been so impressed with the cognitive capabilities of birds that a group of international experts recently called for a new naming system to reflect the advanced nature of birds brains. According to an article that appeared in The Washington Post, The new system, which draws upon many of the words used to describe the human brain and has broad support among scientists, acknowledges the now overwhelming evidence that avian and mammalian brains are remarkably similar a fact that explains why many kinds of bird are not just twitchily resourceful but able to design and manufacture tools, solve mathematical problems and, in many cases, use language in ways that even chimpanzees and other primates cannot. 14

Social Smarts
People who have spent time with chickens know that they have complex social structures, adept communication skills, and distinct personalities, just as we do. Colorado State University Distinguished Professor Dr. Bernard Rollins notes, Contrary to what one may hear from the industry, chickens are complex behaviorally, do quite well in learning, show a rich social organization, and have a diverse repertoire of calls. Anyone who has kept barnyard chickens recognizes their significant differences in personality. 15

Like people, chickens each have a place or rank within their group some birds are dominant, and others are expected to be more submissive because they are on a lower social rung. Chickens know their places within the hierarchy, and they act accordingly for instance, when learning how to perform a new task, they often follow the lead of the dominant members in their group.16 Mench explains, Chickens show sophisticated social behavior. That's what a pecking order is all about. 17 Chickens also remember the faces of those in their social group; Mench continues, They can recognize more than a hundred other chickens and remember them. 18 Scientists agree that chickens complex social structures and good memories are undeniable signs of advanced intelligence comparable to that of mammals.

Talkin Chickens
Chickens communicate with each other through their clucks Mench explains, They have more than thirty types of vocalizations.19 They have different calls to distinguish between threats that are approaching by land and those that are approaching over water, and a mother hen begins to teach these calls to her chicks before they even hatch she clucks softly to them while sitting on the eggs, and they chirp back to her and to each other from inside their shells.20,21

Small Birds with Big Personalities
Like all animals, chickens love their families and value their own lives. The social nature of chickens means that they are always looking out for their families and for other chickens in their group. In the wild, chickens spend most of their time in groups they enjoy foraging for food, taking dustbaths, and roosting in trees together at night. After he toured United Poultry Concerns in 1998, Ira Glass, the host of National Public Radios This American Life, was so impressed with the personalities of the chickens he met that he hasn't eaten chicken or any other animal flesh since.

Mother hens care deeply for their babies Jesus even refers to the loving protectiveness of a hen toward her chicks in the Gospels, which were written almost 2,000 years ago.22 Indeed, a mother hen will turn her eggs as many as five times an hour and cluck soothingly to her unborn chicks.23 Hens prefer to have private nests for their eggs in protected areas far away from predators. According to The Humane Society of the United States, The desire for a private nest is so strong, in fact, that a hen will often go without food and water, if necessary, to use a nest. 24 This demonstrates the fact that hens will sacrifice their own comfort if it means protecting their chicks.

Besides bonding to their young, chickens also form strong friendships and enjoy spending time with their companions, just like we do. Kim Sturla, the manager of Animal Place, a sanctuary for farmed animals near Sacramento, recounts a touching story of two chickens. We rescued an elderly hen, Mary, from a city dump and later an elderly rooster, Notorious Boy. They bonded, and they would roost on the picnic table. One stormy night with the rain really pelting down, I went to put them in the barn and I saw the rooster had his wing extended over the hen, protecting her. 25

1 William Grimes, If Chickens Are So Smart, Why Aren't They Eating Us? The New York Times 12 Jan. 2003, late ed..
2 Grimes.
3 Grimes.
4 Rick Weiss, Bird Brains Get Some New Names, and New Respect, The Washington Post 1 Feb. 2005: A10.
5 Ananova, Chickens Not Just Bird Brains, 2005.
6 Michael Specter, The Extremist, The New Yorker 14 Apr. 2003.
7 Lesley Rogers, The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken, CABI Publishing: Oxfordshire, U.K., 1995: 217.
8 Specter.
9 Grimes.
10 Jennifer Viegas, Study: Chickens Think About Future, Discovery News 14 Jul. 2005.
11 Viegas.
12 Ananova.
13 Valerie Elliott, Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? London Times Online 18 Mar. 2005.
14 Weiss.
15 Bernard Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare: Social, Bioethical, and Research Issues, Iowa State University Press: Ames, Iowa, 1995: 118.
16 Ananova.
17 Specter.
18 Specter.
19 Specter.
20 Grimes.
21 The Humane Society of the United States, Chickens 2005.
22 The Bible, Matthew 23:37-38 (New King James version), BibleGateway.com 2005.
23 The Humane Society of the United States.
24 The Humane Society of the United States.
25 Alex Cukan, Chickens More Than Just Dumb Clucks, United Press International, 20 Sep. 2002.