Building Patio Furniture for Fun and Profit

If you’ve ever looked to purchase patio furniture its either cheap and crappy …or expensive and still crappy.

So I decided to make my own. Because I wanted to drink beers on my porch and tell kids to get off my lawn.

With no further ado:

Before During After

Figure 1: My Porch Before, During, After

Step 1: Find Plans.

I’ve never used any Ana-White plans before, but I found these that seemed reasonable. After some review though, I found the cutlist sucks so any of the pieces with angled cuts are listed at final dimensions rather than initial rough cut dimensions. Namely the angled stretchers need to be cut long (34″ish) and then angled. Same goes for the back legs (~22″) and the 2×2 arm supports (~28″). So do your own due dilligence before slicing all your lumber up.

Step 2: Cut All the Lumber

Pine sucks and I hate paint. So I went with Cedar.

Rough Cedar

Figure 2: Rough Cedar from Menards

Cut Lumber

Figure 3: Cut to Size and Length

Rough Sand Cuts

Figure 4: Apply Belt Sander

I recommend using a belt/drum sander on any of the rough cuts to give it a cleaner finished look.

Step 3: Follow Directions (Assembly)

Aside from the cutlist, the plans are straightforward and easy to follow. I built the sides and back as assemblies because I couldn’t transport a completely assembled chair in my car.

Follow Directions part 1

Figure 5: Side Assembly

Following directions somewhat p1

Figure 6: Chair Back Assembly

I deviated from the design a bit as I didn’t feel like using a jig saw, so I just set the miter saw for 45deg and lopped off each corner of the back (which you’ll see in the final assembly pictures)

Starting Assembly

Figure 7: Starting Assembly

I transported the large pieces back to my apartment so I could put it together on-site. I don’t have any pictures of the middle steps, so it kind of jumps from here to completely assembled. Read the directions, you’ll know what to do.

Testing p1

Figure 8: Assembly Done (Structural Testing)

Ta da. A chair.

The beer made up for the sunburn.

Step 4: Finishing

Like I mentioned above, I don’t like paint. So I winged this phase of the project.

I like oil based finished to bring out natural color, so I grabbed a can of Danish Oil. Cedar is naturally rot and insect resistant, but since I had some spray Spar Urethane lying around I figured a coat of that couldn’t hurt either. Lastly, because I like the texture of wax finishes I applied Paste Wax to any of the upright surfaces where you’d touch the chair in normal operation.


Figure 9: Done!

I applied the Danish Oil  by hand, which was a pain, but worked out well enough in the end it seems.

Step 5: Build a Second Chair

This second one is a little better finished based on some in-process learnings from the first chair. I picked up a countersink bit to help clean up the exposed screw holes and tried a little harder to be symmetric and even with the holes as well.

I need to either build a table, or figure out a way to add a cupholder feature. (But so far the porch itself works fine)

Step 6: Fin

Before During After

Each chair was something like $41 for material not including screws, glue, and finishes and took approximately 4 hours to cut, assemble, and finish.




How to Build a Kitchen Table in an Assortment of Easy Steps

The Finished Product (so you keep reading)

14 - Finished1

So I moved into a new place and need furniture (which you might tell from the background of some of these photos). But, I kept looking at big box store stuff and it was expensive and poorly made. So I figured I could build something myself for cheaper and it would last longer! Plus I get to build something, which is half the fun.

Step 1: Find Inspiration

Chadhaus Furniture ($6,400)

From Etsy

Step 2: Design Your Own

I drew out a bunch of hand sketches to figure out dimensions and proportions. I actually wandered through a couple furniture stores and checked their measurements for a 6 person table… I also measured the room its going in to make sure I had space to get around it.

Then I pulled out my middle school drafting skills and an engineer’s scale to see if everything would work and kind of went from there.

Step 3: Buy Material

01 - 200 bucks worth of Cherry

This was something like 45 board feet of 6/4 cherry that I had roughly planed. By this point in the project I didn’t really know if I wanted rough cut lumber or if I was going to plane/sand/joint the whole top together as one solid piece.

First part of the bill, $200 for all this wood.

Step 4: Rough Layout

02 - Rough cut to size

I bought most of this material before I actually had a scale drawing I liked and before I had final measurements that I was going to build to. So I rough cut these to 66/68 inches long as I knew I would end up losing a bit of length during glue up.

Step 5: Build the Legs

Substep 5.1: Miter the steel for the legs.

The legs were 1×3 inch steel tube. 24 inch for the width and 36 inch stock cut to 29 inches long. So that plus the ~1.5 inch table top would be right about 30 inches high. (which seems about standard)

03 - Miter table legs

You can also see one of the dimensional sketches I carried around for reference.

Something like $120 for all the steel.

Substep 5.2: Learn to Weld

(Something something, draw an owl.)

My uncle taught me how to weld a year or so ago to build a similar looking entry way table so I had some experience welding before this. Plus I can soldier, which is nearly the same thing.

04 - First pass at welding

This was my first attempt at welding the whole set of legs into a square structure.

05 - Second pass at welding


This was the second set of legs. This set went a lot smoother as I figured out the process a bit and got into a groove for welding.

I also welded on the little tabs which I drilled out for 1/4 inch lag bolts.

Substep 5.3: Grind.

06 - Lots of grinding and flap wheel


Lots of grinding. Also I ground my name into the underside of one leg to sign my piece. I also finished these with a clear matte finish so that they wouldn’t rust.

Step 6: Assemble the Table Top

At this point I decided that I wanted to edge joint everything together and I wanted the top smooth so I didn’t get little crap in the gaps. So I took it back to Kettle Moraine Hardwoods and had them plane the rough lumber down to 1 3/8 inch and straight edge both sides. Then I put everything together once more for a rough layout.

07 - Last rough layout before glue

Substep 6.1: Biscuits and Glue

A hearty breakfast?

Because the boards were still kind of rough as I didn’t plane them down enough to get all the warp out of them, I decided to use biscuits to help the glue up and keep the top aligned and flat so that once I had to finish it I didn’t loose any more thickness. Also I tried to match up colors a bit differently than when I had rough boards.

(Side note, remember to alternate grain on each board to help prevent cupping)

08 - Give em the CLAMPS

Substep 6.2 Sanding

09 - Blank after glue up

So here it is after glue up. To save myself a bunch of time I took it back to Kettle Moraine Hardwoods as they have a 42 inch drum sander you can use for a couple bucks in shop fees. Then I transported it to the Makerspace to use the panel saw to square up the ends and sand it again to finish. (40 grit drum sander, 80 grit -> 180 grit -> 320 grit on the palm sander)

10 - Rough sanding on belt sander then finished by hand

Step 7: Finish

I really like oil based finishes as they bring out lot of the natural color and figure of the wood. Plus I had some lying around from that entry way table I mentioned earlier so I knew how the finish would turn out. (Velvit Oil)

11 - Oil finish vs raw

You can see the difference in color (sorry for the poor color balance) but the cherry has a beautiful redness to it. I also applied Paste Wax to the top as extra insurance against stains and water, etc.

Step 8: Attach Legs

12 -  Attach the legs

I kind of eyeballed this. But I did use a square and my engineer’s scale to try to align everything as best as possible. I did pre-drill holes for the lag bolts as there would be no way the bolts go in without them.

Step 9: Celebrate!

13 - Celebrate with beer

With beer!

Also I stood on the table to make sure it was stable, and it was. So that worked out.

Alternate shots:

With perhaps more natural lighting.

14 - Finished1

And a close up of some of the figure in the cherry.

15 - Closeup of the figured cherry


So for $350 in materials ($200 for wood with lots left over, $120 for metal, $30 for shop fees) I built a table I’m pretty satisfied with. Plus its way cooler than MDF crap with veneer or paint to cover up crappy wood. And should last quite a while… I hope.