DIY Home · Outdoor Space

Updated: (Re)Building Outdoor Furniture

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. Dan’s need for constant, continuous improvement is admirable. Even if it comes at the expense of projects that were once perceived as his pride and joy.

Remember that impressive furniture set he built for our garage last summer? Those beautiful wooden frames with the comfy cushions that forced me to learn how to sew?

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Garage set-up with original furniture

Well, if you guessed that Dan came up with a bigger, better idea, then you guessed right. But in this case, it’s actually a smaller, less bulky version of it’s former self.

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Chair concept and framing

The lighter design will make the furniture more mobile in our outdoor space, as we never really know what the day is going to bring. One day, the garage turns into a full-on workshop, and the next, we’re left sweeping up the sawdust because we’re having company over. Because of this, furniture that I can actually pick up will make my life a whole lot easier.

Frame It

Dan used his trademark white oak to frame the two chairs and couch, cutting the wood into squared strips that were assembled into slatted, mission-inspired furniture.

The theme of framing this furniture is that you can never have enough clamps. Better yet, the theme of any carpentry build is the need for an excessive number of clamps. And dowels and wood glue, of course.

First, the chairs…

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And now, the couch…

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Finish It

This post is just a snapshot of what it took to build this furniture, and doesn’t do justice to the work that Dan put into it. With that said, you’d be missing out if I didn’t share that I also got my hands dirty with this project.

Lots of slats and corners on this project meant that Dan was going to leave the staining to me. We used none other than Dark Walnut stain to bring this furniture to life.

Dan then finished the chairs off with chair webbing that will act as a base for the yet-to-be sewn cushions. Sounds like there’s a winter project added to my list. More to come on this project as I get my butt moving and re-sew some cushions.

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Adding cushions (Update: 2/21/19)

While Dan finished building this furniture months ago, it took until now for me to get my butt in gear and sew some new cushions for them. We decided to stick with the same look as before (medium wood stain finished with black cushions), but learned our lesson in choosing the right fabric. Last time, we used a thin, shiny black fabric, thinking it would be easier to clean and maintain in their outdoor space. What we didn’t think of was how slippery they’d actually be once you sat down on the furniture (and also how hard the material would be to work with when sewing). So for this go-round, we went with a black linen material that was still soft and much more durable (and easier to work with).

The previous chairs used two 5″ foam cushions, one for the seat and one for the back. We found that this was a bit too stiff and not as comfy as we were hoping for. So for these cushions, we stuck with the 5″ foam base, but used over-sized, 24″ pillows for the back cushions instead, adding a bit of extra batting to help fill them in. Luckily I was able to re-use the majority of materials from the previous cushions (foam, pillow inserts, even zippers), aside from the fabric itself.

A few Sunday afternoons in January made for the perfect time to sew. There’s still no guessing whether I was swearing at playoff football on TV, at my poor sewing machine, or simply at myself for being a novice-at-best seamstress. But in the end, my sewing skills are slightly improving, and the cushions turned out just the way we wanted them to. For now, the chairs will live in our office, until it’s finally time to move them outdoors and put these to good use come Spring (whenever that is).

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3 thoughts on “Updated: (Re)Building Outdoor Furniture

  1. Have I got a deal for you ! ! You”re both creative and inventive & I’ve got a tool to give away to enhance your artistic constructions. Many years ago your grandfather, known in our family as “Good Old Uncle Ray”, gave me a used Router Pantograph that I’m sue he acquired in his travels to auctions & sales. I saved it since then, thinking I’d find an application for it. – Never Happened. – I’m willing to donate it to a creative & ambitious couple in the hope of expanding your ideas. Delivery is available.

    https://www.shopyourway.com/craftsman-deluxe-router-pantograph/286583

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    1. Dan has always wanted to try his hand at a CNC machine. Using a Pantograph, the original CNC machine, could be just the ticket! We also wouldn’t mind a little venture out to The Woods, as Dan is secretly hoping for a tour of your workshop!

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      1. The shop & winery at In “the Woods” is open for tours & stories just about any time. We occasionally venture out to restock our larder so call ahead to check on availability, 592-5449.
        We are in a long, slow session of downsizing our priceless, and little used possessions so there may be other things that catch your fancy in our junk pile. All is free and worth every penny. We’ve been very luck to have lived here so long but maintenance is getting to be a problem so the end may be in sight. We’re not doddering yet but we’d like to make the final exit easier……..Looking forward to your visit

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