Spring is here and the smell of fresh cut grass is in the air. Life just feels better this time of the year. A few pieces of outdoor furniture makes it all more enjoyable. But STOP! Don’t even think about buying pre-made, overpriced imported furniture. Instead, MAKE IT! The best way to enjoy the great outdoors is by making your very own outdoor furniture. Making instead of buying is incredibly rewarding. Not only will you save money buy building instead of buying but you might learn something you didn’t already know. All you need is a couple every day tools. So if you have a couple hours and feel like getting something done, lets build some furniture! You can download the sketchup file I used by clicking here.
Outdoor 2×4 Project!
I really like this build as the chairs are super comfortable to me. This is a limited tools project that anyone can make. And I mean anyone. The tools needed are:
- Drill, cordless or corded.
- Some type of saw. A circular saw or jigsaw will be fine. I also recommend a miter saw if possible.
- Kreg Jig. Not absolutely needed but I recommend attaching the arms with pocket hole screws.
- 2 wood clamps would help if you have them.
- A couple pencils to mark with and use as spacers.
- 2 thicker spacers such as large dry erase markers.
- A square of some sort, carpenters or small speed square.
We also need the following materials:
- 2-1/2″ or 3″ coated screws rated for outdoor use. Approximately 2 pounds
- Tightbond III wood glue or any type of outdoor wood adhesive
- 16 2-1/2″ blue Kreg screws (if using the pocket hole method).
- 13 8′ 2x4s for two chairs and a table or 8 for one chair and a table. Get the FULL 8 FOOT 2x4s, not the precut 2×4 “studs.”
Cut out all of the pieces according to this cutlist. The top two boards are needed to make the table. As you can see there will be two rip cuts here to make the 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ x 18″ legs. The bottom 6 boards are used to make one chair. Simply duplicate the bottom 6 boards for two chairs (note: you only need an additional 5 boards for the second chair. You will have enough scrap to make up the 6th board). All angles on the cutlist are either 15° or 90°. Instead of giving each piece a label for you to remember I will refer to each piece by their length.
Before we begin any assembly it will help if we layout the pieces. Stack all the 25″ legs in two piles for the left and right legs like shown. If you are using pocket hole screws to attach the arms, use a pocket hole jig such as the Kreg Jig to drill pocket hole screws on one end of each of the legs with the holes on the bad side. This is how you will attach the arms to the legs. Make sure the pocket holes are drilled with left and right legs in mind so you don’t end up with all the legs identical.
Begin the leg assemblies with the legs oriented so that the pocket hole screws are on the top. On each leg mark 17″ up from the bottom. This will be the starting point for our 20″ pieces. Place glue at this joint and align the 20″ piece so that the 15° angle is lined up with the leg. All of the leg joints in this build should be glued. A parallelogram is formed where the pieces intersect. Always screw the pieces together with two screws along the longer diagonal of the parallelogram. The picture shows a left leg assembly and a right leg assembly. I put both in the picture for reference purposes but I just build one at a time.
Use an extra piece of 2×4 material as a spacer below the 20″ pieces to locate the 23-3/4″ pieces. Secure them to the legs with glue and screws as well.
At this point we need to attach the 14-1/2″ arms. They are attached horizontally so that the inside of the arm lines up with the inside of the leg. One arm needs to be overhanging on the left, one overhanging on the right. If you drilled pocket holes you will secure them from below with the pocket hole screws. If you opted not to drill pocket holes you will attach the arm from above with 3″ screws.
After the arms comes the 31″ back support. I apologize if this sounds confusing but take a look at the picture and it should make sense. The 15° angle of the back support will align with the bottom of the 23-3/4″ lower leg rail. The 31″ piece will then intersect the end point of the top leg rail. We need a left and a right according to the arm direction. This joint is also glued at both horizontal pieces as well as screwed with two screws along the longer diagonal at each joint.
With the leg assemblies done we can start adding the slats. The first 21″ seat slat is added with clamps first. Make sure they are perpendicular to the leg assemblies by using a speed square. Then screw the slat down with 2 screws on each side. Each of the remaining slats are secured with 2 screws on each side as well.
Add three more 21″ seat slats while using pencils for spacing.
Using the larger marker spacers, add the first 21″ back slat. The second 21″ back slat is spaced with pencils.
Add the remainder of the 24″ back slats with pencils as spacers. You can use a larger spacer item if you would like the slats spaced out a little farther.
The final piece to install on the chair is the 18″ lower stretcher.
The table will go together pretty fast. Drill pocket holes on each end of the 18-1/2″ and 10-1/2″ pieces on their bad sides. Screw the 10-1/2″ pieces to the legs first and then connect each leg assembly together with the 18-1/2″ pieces.
The final pieces are the top slats. I have made some of these tables with no top spacing and others with the pencil spacers. Either way it is up to you.
This is the most important step. You have to take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. A job well done.
Here are a few pics of some completed chairs and a step by step video series to guide you through the build!