Since I know several of you out there (Jen, Cindy, and Mom - coincidentally the only ones who read this blog) are planning on making picnic tables, I thought I would post my lessons on this one - things I will do differently on my next project (under-table drawers for the train table if you were interested).
1. Let the wood age in the garage for a week or two. I don't know if our little corner of He!! is drier than kiln dried (entirely possible, especially today) or what the deal is, but the table we so painstakingly leveled now has one short leg again. I don't know if the leg is short or the top warped more, or what. I think letting the wood sit for a few weeks and do all its warping and craziness beforehand might have helped.
2. Make sure the pilot holes are large enough. I assumed the 1/8" pilot on the countersink for my #10 screws was enough. Maybe it would have been for a burly carpenter, but this 105 pound mama needed a little more help. After the fact, my dad told me to go down two drill bit sizes from the screw size. This would've made assembling the top MUCH less frustrating.
3. Take your time finishing. As much fun as it was to let the boys help prime, I should have given it a really thorough sanding after. I missed some of their multitude of paint drips and they can still be seen on the finished product.
Just because I can't give you a post without a picture, here is Christopher enjoying ribs the other night. Mike had tears in his eyes at this beautiful sight.