Introduction: Adjustable Modular Furniture

Picture of Adjustable Modular Furniture

This is a piece of furniture that can be bent like a snake and is screwed solid with nuts. You can create lots of different tables and chairs. I will make 8 sections but you can choose to make as many sections as you want. You can always add sections later.

Step 1: Materials to Make 8 Sections

Picture of Materials to Make 8 Sections
  • 32 - 1 foot sections of 2x4
  • 9 - 15" sections of threaded rod ( I used 5/16" rod )
  • 18 - grade 8 nuts (size of rod)
  • 100 - 1 1/4" outer size fender washers (size of rod)
  • 300 in2 - 60gt sandpaper
  • Wood Stain
  • Glue

Step 2: Cut the Boards Into 8 Peices

Picture of Cut the Boards Into 8 Peices

I cut my 8' 2x4s into 11 3/4" pieces with a chop saw. Just try and pick a length that you want that uses your wood efficiently.

Step 3: Cut 3" in on Each Side

Picture of Cut 3" in on Each Side

There's probably a better way to do this (like a band saw), but I set up a jig on my chop saw. You SHOULD cut slightly to one side to compensate for the blade thickness, but I will just fill in this gap with washers.

Note that the chop saw will not cut 3" straight all the way down, I had to flip the boards over and even then, there was a "V" shape left inside.

Step 4: Cut Off the Blocks (or Try)

Picture of Cut Off the Blocks (or Try)

I clamped 8 together at a time and ran them through the table saw at the right height to cut out the blocks. Notice they still stay in because of my faulty technique in the previous step.

Step 5: Pop Em Out and Sand Smooth

Picture of Pop Em Out and Sand Smooth

They snap out with a hammer easily and left less of a problem than I thought. I just sanded the "V" smooth with a circular sander.

Step 6: Drill Holes

Picture of Drill Holes

A drill press and quick jig would make simple work of this but I was without one. Marked the spot and just eyeballed what's straight. Make sure to use a bit that is quite larger than the threaded rod, don't use the same thickness, it'll be too tight!

Step 7: Make Sandpaper Washers

Picture of Make Sandpaper Washers

The friction of wood against wood alone will not support much weight so washers covered with sandpaper are put in between all the cracks; 63 needed, I made 70. View picture comments for instructions.

Step 8: Sand and Stain

Picture of Sand and Stain

I sanded with a random orbit sander and stained them with black walnut danish oil.

Step 9: Cut Your Rods and Bolt Your Peices Together

Picture of Cut Your Rods and Bolt Your Peices Together

Cut the rods to 15" or however short you feel conferable (the width of 4 2x4s is 14"). Screw the nut on the end, slip two washers on and push the rod though the pieces, adding sandpaper washers in between each piece. Finish the end off with 2 fender washers and another grade 8 nut.

Tighten the nuts at least a quarter inch in on each side and It will be rock solid. To change the shape, unscrew the nuts until they're loose and at will move around easily.

Step 10: Imagine the Possibilities, All Infinity of Them.

Picture of Imagine the Possibilities, All Infinity of Them.

Please rate and comment.


ShilpaAtwaal (author)2016-05-27

What a wonderful
idea very neat

frazeeg (author)2009-07-01

A chisel would probably be faster and give you more accurate results. A nice sharp blade would cut through that pine like butter without over-rounding the right angle there.

theRIAA (author)frazeeg2009-07-01

I tried a chisel first, this way was about 10 times faster, and I was in a rush.

LetL1 (author)theRIAA2016-05-04

I Believe your Correct fspatz!. You Should at least put a Patient. It's not Expensive to do. They will make a lot of Money off of your Genius Artistic Work. Please do this. It's really cool!. Alot of ppl will buy it & think of all that Money?. If you don't need the money. You should at least do it & make Donate it to whomsoever or what ever place you wish please. Like you said you can make it to Customize it. 2 Together & 2 Table side's or in the Middle or both. If you don't Someone else will & Take the Credit for you Genius Artistic Work think about that ? By the RIAA

fspatz (author)2011-03-16

really great idea! i think IKEA (swedish furniture factory) will copy this ;-)

LetL1 (author)fspatz2016-05-04

I Believe your Correct fspatz!. You Should at least put a Patient. It's not Expensive to do. They will make a lot of Money off of your Genius Artistic Work. Please do this. It's really cool!. Alot of ppl will buy it & think of all that Money?. If you don't need the money. You should at least do it & make Donate it to whomsoever or what ever place you wish please. Like you said you can make it to Customize it. 2 Together & 2 Table side's or in the Middle or both. If you don't Someone else will & Take the Credit for you Genius Artistic Work think about that ? By the RIAA

Raghuvaran (author)2015-09-10

very useful

Karl EmmanuelS (author)2015-07-28

This furniture is pure genious!!!
I'll try to build it as soon as possible

Jessie Marie (author)2013-04-20

This is amazing!

hbueso (author)2011-11-26

This is actually an excellent idea. And it also gives you inspiration to create more variations of this, hmmm!!

tdawber-mandeno (author)2011-07-31

its not hex its a octogon

stalledaction (author)2011-05-20

Might try this idea with cardboard instead of lumber.

pleszmc (author)2011-05-18

if you were making a box or a chair or a table with this, how would i support its self? it looks like it would sag at the bend points (not the corners, the're fine)

Derin (author)2009-06-21

By grade 8,do you mean M8 nuts?

gossumx (author)Derin2011-01-28

Apple_4_life (author)2010-06-27

ok, now THAT is effing amazing

shabagana (author)2009-06-13

This is awesome!! 5 stars

Pyr0technician (author)shabagana2009-07-13

Yeah, and IMO it looks nice enough to sit in the house as well, like he has it in his room. Great idea!

dunnos (author)2009-06-24

i like it :) but me not have the patience for it

afatflatcat (author)2009-06-22

This idea actually has potential. Show it to like Ikea or some lawn furniture place. Youll be rich in like a week.

camp6ell (author)2009-06-20

i love the technique for making the sandpaper washers. i can see that being parlayed into other things. thanks.

Pkranger88 (author)2009-06-17

So are you actually using it as modular furniture or as a conversational starter? Also, to avoid the issue with the nuts, you could recess the nuts using a forstner bit. Also, you don't need grade 8 nuts. You bought standard threaded rod, right? I believe that stuff is only grade 3 or grade 5 at best if you got it from a box store like Lowe's or Home Depot. I think the ingenuity is great though. It would be cool if you incorporated a cross member with preset holes in it that would align the furniture for different positions enabling "quick change" style adjustments. Good luck.

is it too much to ask for both? why not sit on it and then talk about it? -the best DIY functions for a purpose, but also is intriguing to talk about, would you agree?

Nope, I was just asking. I was hoping he was actually using it. As for the best DIY... I would say function, reliability and servicability are the 3 most important aspects of any design. Then we can get into "intriguing to talk about." But I'm a design guy. But I can say I agree.

theRIAA (author)Pkranger882009-06-17

I used grade 8 so they wouldn't strip on the outside (if i got lazy and used pliers). I actually would ideally like to have the nuts strip before the rod, but I also liked the zinc color, so I went with grade 8. I will be using it in a apartment in college and will probably change it's shape a couple times so it fits where I want it, or to change it's purpose. I wish I had this thing in my dorm last year :P

baggot (author)theRIAA2009-06-18

The weak link is the threaded rod. it will snap before the threads will strip. Unless you cross threaded ;-). Nice chair I would use something along the lines of a quick release setup from a bike wheel to tighten the diff positions. Nice

Pkranger88 (author)baggot2009-06-19

Correct, the weak link is the threaded rod, which is much more expensive than the nut. Another (stronger) option would be to use solid rod and use a die, preferably a roll form die, rather than a cutting die to create the threads. Then you can buy just about any grade of steel you want. I would probably go with a stainless rod. Cross section area of the rod is the critical part. A 5/16th rod has a minor cross section diameter of about 0.24 in. If you were to use a solid 5/16 rod you get the full .3125. Does is really matter? Yep. The solid rod can withstand 69% more shear force and axial load. Which means that if a 200 lb person would bend the 5/16th threaded rod, it would take a 337 pounder to bend the solid rod. I personally have had many experiences where a threaded rod bent and even broke.

theRIAA (author)baggot2009-06-18

that's a great idea, although 18 bike quick releases is out of my price range...maybe i could make them... but anyways, I've experienced a lot of striped threads on nuts in my life, but have never had a threaded rod snap on me, so i went with this. You don't have to use grade 8.

Kristell (author)theRIAA2009-06-19

no..if you had this in you dorm room..i wouldve taken it for myself =P

theRIAA (author)Pkranger882009-06-18

also grade 8 nuts will make it stronger. If i use grade 5 rods and nuts, the nuts will be the weakest link, they will always strip out before the rod. Using grade 8 nuts will give a slight increase in strength but will strip the rod when too tight. I'm tightening these things down a lot.

sallost (author)2009-06-13

I love this idea. This summer I'm going to try this for sure! Just 1 question: How long do you thing the sandpaper washers hold until you need to replace then. Thanks

theRIAA (author)sallost2009-06-13

I think they will last very long, If you only adjust the thing into a different shape maybe twice a year, I don't see why it wouldn't last a lifetime. I'm more worried about the washers sanding down the wood so much that the cracks touch and the washers are just inside the wood with no friction.

arashiodori (author)theRIAA2009-06-18

Perhaps you could use soft washers, and use the nuts to 'squeeze' the construct in place when the desired position is achieved? Should last longer. ;P

theRIAA (author)arashiodori2009-06-18

you mean rubber washers? That might work but idk if it would hold as much weight as these sandpaper washers. Friction is critical if you're going to be sitting on it. are rubber washers expensive? humm idk...

arashiodori (author)theRIAA2009-06-19

Well, I tried it in the past with my DnT(Aka Workshop period) project, and I cracked the 2 'main' wood (Resembles White Oak visually, forgot the actual species) itself (The wood was slightly thinner than the ones you used) while testing for the structure. Worthless experiment yes, since I had to use a clamp to actually gather enough force to break it, but the wood was free. :P So yes, Rubber washers take quite some punishment.

theRIAA (author)arashiodori2009-06-19


blckpythn (author)2009-06-18

the "hex" has 8 sides...

theRIAA (author)blckpythn2009-06-18

I'm still surprised no ones called me out on the toddler-sized mini bar...

theRIAA (author)blckpythn2009-06-18

well maybe it's just an ironic nickname...

Should be an octagon. ;P

Crucio (author)2009-06-18

Fantastic result. What color stain is that?

theRIAA (author)Crucio2009-06-18

black walnut danish oil. I wish it was easier to buy pure black wood stain... I was gonna cover it in poly too but i felt lazy nearing the end there.

imrobot (author)2009-06-14

will this work with your cardboard lumber? and how do i keep the cardboard from rotting outside?

theRIAA (author)imrobot2009-06-14

It might if you use 100 or so overlapping 2" strips of cardboard (instead of 8 wood sections coming together like I do) do not laminate the cardboard together, it will not be strong enough for this design. This design takes cheap studs to their limits. You could make the cardboard somewhat weatherproof by drenching it in clear polyurethane.

Kristell (author)2009-06-14

how much does it cost for all the materials? ..and of course i get to use your new shop smith :D

theRIAA (author)Kristell2009-06-14

About $3.50. More than you can afford.

Kristell (author)theRIAA2009-06-14

f you mofo lol

theRIAA (author)Kristell2009-06-14

what evaaaa. I guess it cost about $40-50 for all the materials at the store.

theRIAA (author)2009-06-14

of course!

pokey02 (author)2009-06-13

Very impressive and interesting project, I am thinking of making one soon. How much does it weigh?

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