How to Build an Outdoor Lounge Chair

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Introduction: How to Build an Outdoor Lounge Chair

About: I am a self taught maker that has fallen in love with making instead of buying. I create how-to videos about the projects I love and make. Check out my YouTube channel for more!

In this project I'm showing you how to build an Outdoor Lounge Chair made of cedar from your local home center. This chair would also make an awesome indoor chair!

Be sure and watch the video above for an even more detailed tutorial.

Supplies

Step 1: Cut Material to Length

The frame for this chair is gonna be made from cedar 2x4s. I chose cedar because this is an outdoor project and cedar is naturally resistant to water and rot.

I started by cutting all of my leg pieces.

I cut 2 of each of the 3 base pieces to make up the two legs.

Step 2: Cut the Base Angles

I used an angle gauge and lined out my angle for the first base piece. And then I cut that angle with my track saw. You could also easily use a circular saw.

I continued finding all of the remaining angles for the leg pieces and then cut them with my track saw. And again, I have plans linked above to help you with these angles: https://bit.ly/3gnzcWn The plan also includes a full cut list and material list.

Step 3: Prepare the Seat Back Side Supports

Before I can glue up the base legs I need to make the cuts for the seat back side supports to fit in.

To make this joint a little bit stronger and get the look I’m going for, I’m using a half lap joint. This means I’m going to remove half of the material from both of the members so that they overlap and join.

You can use different tools to create a half lap joint but I'm using a circular saw. I set my circular saw to the correct depth and then clamped the two members together so I could cut them to the same width at the same time. And then I made many passes and cut away the bulk of the material. I used a scrap piece of wood in front of where I was cutting so I had a flat surface for the bed of my circular saw to rest on. It also helps prevent tear out.

You won’t be left with a perfectly clean joint, but a chisel will help clear any rough spots out.

Step 4: Build the Base

To avoid screws showing, I’m gonna screw them together from the bottom when I can. To do this I glued and clamped the first two pieces together. I drilled out a recess with a 3/8th” bit and then screwed the two pieces together. I’m using a waterproof glue throughout this project since these are outdoor chairs.

To join the next two boards, I used a pocket hole that will be hidden under the seat slats. And then for the last two pieces, I again recessed and screwed in from the bottom.

Step 5: Attach the Seat Back Side Supports

With the base legs done I can now attach the seat back side support.

I grabbed my 3/8ths inch forstner bit and drilled about a half inch into the wood. I’ll be gluing and screwing this half lap joint together but I’m using this bit to recess my screws.

Then, I added wood glue, clamps and then screwed my pieces together.

Step 6: Fill the Holes

To fill the recesses, I’m using this 3/8th’s tapered plug cutter. This way I can cut plugs from the same cedar I built with. And alternative would be to just buy a cedar dowel.

I then added some glue and then knocked in the plugs. I recommend paying attention to the orientation of the grain of the dowels. It looks best if the plug grain is running with the grain of your board.

And then sawed them flush with my flush trim saw.

Step 7: Attach the Stretchers

I cut a back stretcher to attach the two sides together. This board will be attached using pocket holes.

The front stretcher has a unique angle of 50 degrees, and my table saw will only cut to 45 degrees. So my fix for this was to tilt my blade to 5 degrees and cut a small wedge off of one side of a scrap board. Then I taped the wedge to one side of my stretcher. Now, with the extra 5 degree slant, I can now tilt my saw blade to 45 degrees and get a 50 degree cut. Be sure to watch the video to get a better feel of how that was done.

With the cut made I then added some pocket holes and glue and screwed it into place.

The top stretcher had a simple angle, so no fancy cuts necessary. And I just repeated the process of pocket holes and glue.

Step 8: Attach the Center Seat Support

The bottom seat slats are going to need a center brace for extra support. I used a cedar 2x4, cut the the front angle (to match the angle of the front stretcher) and then set it into place. I again used my off cut to get the depth of how far down the brace should sit.

To secure the brace from the back side, I’m again going to recess screws. I then pre-drilled, drove in screws and then added more cedar plugs, just like before. By the way, you don’t need to recess and plug screws. I just love the way this looks.

Step 9: Attach the Seat Slats

The seat slats are all going to be the same size, so I set up a stop block with a clamp at my miter saw station and made a bunch of repeatable cuts. I added pocket holes to the back of my seat slats and started adding them in. I used glue and screws and used an off cut for my spacer.

Step 10: Attach the Feet

To protect the bottom of the chair, I’m adding these rubber furniture feet. This adds general protection but I also like the idea of propping the chair up just a tad off the ground so it doesn’t sit in water when it rains.

Step 11: Apply Finish

For a finish, suitable for exterior use, I’m going with a mixture of 70% teak oil and 30% spar urethane. I learned about this mixture from Izzy Swan’s YouTube channel. You leave it for about 5 minutes and then wipe it off. I did two coats.

My chairs are going to be under a porch and not directly exposed to the elements, so I feel that this is a good enough finish for my chairs. However, if you have outdoor furniture exposed to sun and rain, you might want to go with an even tougher finish.

Step 12: Done!

After a couple of coats of finish, this Outdoor Lounge Chair was done!

I built this chair slightly deep so I could accommodate deep, comfortable cushions. I had my cushions made for my chair. You can find the dimensions for my cushions, as well as some store bought options on my website here: https://www.makergray.com/wood/outdoorloungechair

For detailed instructions on this Lounge Chair, be sure and watch the video.

I'd love to see pics of yours if you decide to make your own! For more projects and tutorials, be sure and visit my YouTube channel and my website. You can also find me on Instagram @makergray. Thanks for following along!

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    27 Comments

    0
    Maker Gray
    Maker Gray

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thank you so much :)

    0
    briordan42966
    briordan42966

    7 months ago on Step 2

    From the below comments... Are the plans / cut list only available “for sale”? Might they be available without paying for them? I happen to agree with Annie Laird below regarding her thoughts of contradictory. Note to Instructables.... Please don’t promote “Paid For” projects. This is a Gorgeous Lounge chair... it’s too bad there’s a fee to build it.

    0
    AnnieLaird
    AnnieLaird

    10 months ago

    I guess I am the only one that thinks this is contradictory to the "Instructables" spirit. Beautiful chair, and I don't think poorly of the person charging for plans, just don't think this is an appropriate platform to post for paid access to actual instructions.

    0
    TrevorB23
    TrevorB23

    Reply 7 months ago

    You are not the only person who thinks that paid plans, no matter how awesome, should not even be allowed on Instructables.

    0
    Maker Gray
    Maker Gray

    Reply 10 months ago

    Thank you for your thoughts. I kindly disagree. I have given an entire written tutorial of instructions here, from start to finish on how to build the chair with photos. I've also supplied a full instructional video. The paid plans are separate and optional. The payment compensates me for the hours it took me to pull together all of the measurements and angles supplied. You can definitely learn how to build the chair here, in an Instructables spirit, without them.

    0
    AnnieLaird
    AnnieLaird

    Reply 10 months ago

    I understand all that you are saying, and even bought the plans...and happy to support you. I guess I just hope Instructables and its users don't forget the spirit of the site, and this become the norm. The value of the site is in the sharing.

    0
    Maker Gray
    Maker Gray

    Reply 10 months ago

    Thanks! Yes, I totally agree that the value in the site is sharing. It's a wonderful thing. I never intend to change that.

    0
    Maker Gray
    Maker Gray

    Reply 10 months ago

    Thank you so much!

    0
    Nicolas N GenevièveC
    Nicolas N GenevièveC

    Question 10 months ago

    Hey, looks like an awesome project! Can you tell me the angles for the chair? I mean the back rest to floor (this one I think is 50 degrees) and the angle seat to foor, and seat to back rest. I hope I'm not too confusing, thanks for your answer!

    0
    Maker Gray
    Maker Gray

    Answer 10 months ago

    Thanks so much! I've assembled all of the angles and dimensions for you in the plans, linked above.

    0
    flowgeek
    flowgeek

    10 months ago

    nice build and perfectly explained!
    any reason you did not put the screws for the seat back side supports from the inside? or woudn't just glueing be enough? (for am even cleaner look)

    0
    Maker Gray
    Maker Gray

    Reply 10 months ago

    Thank you! I like the look of dowel joinery, so I guess that's why I picked that method. I also didnt want the screws to be showing from the inside. But yes, you could totally screw from the inside if you like! Gluing might be enough alone but it is such a large joint that I wanted the extra strength.

    4
    Raleigh12speed
    Raleigh12speed

    10 months ago

    I think $10.00 is very reasonable consideringl the time saved trying to figure out all the dimensions, angles, set-ups and methods needed, plus the cost of extra material to replace what you botched the first time around.

    0
    Maker Gray
    Maker Gray

    Reply 10 months ago

    I agree. The plans take so much of the guesswork out for you. Thanks!

    0
    Raleigh12speed
    Raleigh12speed

    10 months ago

    How long did it take to complete the woodworking part of the project?

    1
    Maker Gray
    Maker Gray

    Reply 10 months ago

    I built two chairs. Took me a weekend to make the first one as I had to figure out all of the angles and how I wanted it all to come together. Then i built the second one in one day.