How to make wooden garden furniture

wooden bench image by Rikmo from

Wood patio furniture can add to the appeal of your outdoor living space. Wood offers opportunities for creativity ranging from very simple projects such as a table to complex projects such as folding chairs. Making your own patio furniture can give many hours of pleasure, from creating a handcrafted item to using sturdy, made-to-order items that are uniquely your own.

Cut four 50 by 100 mm (2 by 4 inch) boards 740 mm (29 inches) high. Cut two 50 by 100 mm (2 by 4 inch) boards 24 inches long. Cut two 50 by 100 mm (2 by 4 inch) boards 915 mm (36 inches) long.

Place the 915 mm (36 inch) boards on a level surface with the 50 mm (2 inch) edge turned up about 510 mm (20 inches) apart. Position the 610 mm (24 inch) boards perpendicular to the ends of the first two boards, creating a rectangle with the dimensions 610 by 1020 mm (24 by 40 inches). (This may not be perfectly exact because 50 mm (2 inch) milled lumber is usually about 40 mm (1 3/4 inches) wide rather than a full 50 mm (2 inches).)

Nail the corners together with 8 penny finishing nails. Use a countersink to drive them slightly below the surface.

Stand the 740 mm (29 inch) boards on the inside of the rectangle, one at each corner. Position them so the 100 mm (4 inch) side is flat against the 915 mm (36 inch) side of the rectangle and the 50 mm (2 inch) side is against the 610 mm (24 inch) side. Attach them temporarily by driving one nail into the short side through the outside of the rectangle into the 740 mm (29 inch) board.

Drill two holes through the long side of the rectangle through the flat side of the upright board, being careful to avoid the nail you just drove in to hold the board in place. Recess the outside hole slightly with a paddle bit. Use two bolts to secure the upright to the long side. Repeat at each corner.

Cut another 50 by 100 mm (2 by 4 inch) board 915 mm (36 inches) long. Cut two50 by 100 mm ( 2 by 4 inch) boards 610 mm (24 inches) long. Position the 915 mm (36 inch) board on the long side of the structure, about half way down the uprights. Use C-clamps to hold it in place. Make sure it is level. Drill two holes in each end through the 915 mm (36 inch) board and through the uprights. Sink the holes slightly with a paddle bit. Secure with bolts. Nail the 610 mm (24 inch) pieces on the ends (be sure they are level). Countersink the nails.

Turn the structure over so the ends of the uprights are on the ground and the rectangle is on top, where it will act as the base of the table top.

Cut 12 25 by 75 mm (1 by 3 inch) pieces of wood 660 mm (26 inches) long. Mark the centre on each one and then mark the centre on each narrow end of the frame. Position these pieces on the top frame, using the marks to help centre the boards. Use a nail or other item to measure the spaces between the boards so they are consistent. Allow the end boards to extend slightly beyond the edge of the frame on each end.

Nail the 25 by 75 by 660 mm (1 by 3 by 26 inch) boards to the top of the frame when you are satisfied with the spacing. Countersink the nails.

Mix sawdust with white or carpenter's glue. Fill the nail holes and the countersunk bolt holes with the mixture. Allow it to dry.

Sand or rasp rough edges. Sand down the sawdust filling. Paint with a clear finish or a colour as desired.

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