Modern Outdoor Chair




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Add a modern touch to your outdoor or indoor living space with this inviting and versatile chair. Many questions came in about the bulkiness of the wood, and why. Although though it adds a ton of weight this is the look I wanted. 2 x 4 lumber just couldn’t deliver this style. In most situations, you will want to use pressure treated wood. I knew I wouldn’t have the flexibility with the color choice if I went that route. With that in mind, I opted for Douglas Fir, I don’t plan to have direct contact with the natural element. Otherwise, I would highly recommend pressure treated wood. Although I used a traditional cherry stain, you can use whatever color will enhance your exterior aesthetic.


For the material list and measurements get the free plans here>> DOWNLOAD

Tools Used:

Dust Mask

7/8 Forstner Bit

Drill/ Driver

Flush Cut Saw

Miter Saw –

Cutech Jointer-

Measuring tape –

Table Saw

Bessey Clamps

Jaw Horse

2 in 1 Jig Saw

Multitool Oscillating tool

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Step 1: Cutting the Lumber

I used a miter saw to cut the lumber to the desired lengths (see plans here). I then used a jointer to remove a few layers from the lumber to cut down on my time sanding later on.

Step 2: Making Joint Cuts

In order to facilitate the assembly process later, I made all the joint cuts first. I used a table saw to cut rabbets on both ends of three of the seat pieces. Although a table saw would be the fastest way to complete these cuts, you can achieve the same cut by using a reciprocating saw, circular saw or hand saw. After making your cuts, you want to test the pieces by dry fitting them into place.

Step 3: Assembling the Arms

To assemble the arms of the chair, you want to first start by laying the pieces of lumber as shown. Apply wood glue to each joint and use the glue applicator to ensure an even layer. By using the wood glue, you are preventing future squeaks and added strength. Use clamps or ratchet straps to hold pieces together while the glue dries. Next, you will prep your joints for the lag screws. You will start by using a 7/8 bit to drill a 1.5-inch deep hole at the center of each joint. Then, use a small bit to drill in the center of each hole and into the lumber behind it. Finally, drive the lag screw from one lumber into the next. Repeat these steps for the other arm.

Step 4: Assembling the Body of the Chair

Set up the arms next to each other so you can attach the back and the bottom of the chair. I used some scrap pieces of wood to make sure the seat would be the same height in the front and the back. Use wood glue and clamp the structure together. Then, use the same scrap pieces of wood as a guide for the front of the chair. Next, attach the arms to the back of the chair using the same lag screw method from Step 3. Use the same technique for the remaining joints.

Note: The holes used for the lag screw should be off-center a little so it doesn’t intersect with the previous screw.

Step 5: Plugging the Holes

To conceal the screws, I used the 7/8 dowel to plug the holes. I brushed some wood glue onto the dowels and used a rubber mallet to hammer them in. This should be a tight fit. Then, I wiped away any excess glue from around the dowel and used a flush cut saw to cut down the dowels.

Step 6: Assembling the Seat

I started to assemble the seat by first adding the two outer ends of the seat, as shown in the picture. Then, glue the support piece under the bottom of the chair and screw it into place. Next, use scrap pieces of wood to keep a consistent distance between the remaining seat pieces. Glue and clamp. After that, I turned my attention to the bottom of the chair. I secured the lumber using two screws per board. Now it was time to remove the outer ends of the seat and apply glue to them so they can be reattached, clamped, and secured with screws.

Step 7: Sanding and Applying the Finish

I sanded the chair, then applied some wood conditioner that would help reduce any splotches. After the wood conditioner dried, I stained the chair using a traditional cherry stain. Finally, add a couple of layers of polyurethane to ensure durability.

Step 8: Glamour Shots

Here are some photos of the finished product. I love this look and i’ve already started designing the matching sofa. If you like to build your own, I have a free set of plans here . I’d love to hear what you think about this build. Also, if you are new here, be sure to subscribe for future posts and updates.

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    12 Discussions


    10 months ago

    Looks great!

    I should get some white sheets for my garage next time I make an instructable.


    10 months ago

    Good job sir, it looks good and I wish you many years of use out of it, small girl very cute. Just one comment which is not confined to this job but which I have seen on many instructables, that is screwing into end grain. My woodwork teacher, a difficult man with three fingers missing from one hand, would have a fit. I’ve never done it, does it work?

    1 reply

    Reply 10 months ago

    I'd also be concerned with screwing into end grain, maybe a half lap or similar would suit better.


    10 months ago on Step 8

    Very cool!! I would have used some tenons though instaed of butt joints but i love the clean design, well done.


    10 months ago

    Like the 4x4 chunky style.

    I'm considering a few minor changes...

    * 2x4 for the seat platform -- look nearly the same, but lighter, cheaper and easier

    * Arm on top of the verticals -- stronger, higher, easier to extend

    * Back on top of arm on top of verticals -- higher, maybe stronger

    * Either add a block (or hockey puck) under the four corners as a foot, or raise the bottom rail an inch or so, maybe both -- sit better on imperfect surfaces, less moisture pickup

    (And I like HeadLOK screws instead of lags)


    10 months ago

    Very beautiful. May try some day. Is it solid enough being butt jointed? Why didn't you do some jointery?


    10 months ago

    Nice project. The only thing I would suggest is when you glue outside furniture, always use a waterproof glue. TiteBond III is such a glue and is available everywhere they sell wood glues. TitBond and TiteBond II are not waterproof. Thumbs Up!


    10 months ago

    I’m with you on the look of the 4x4! What total length is needed for one chair? I followed your link, but it only says “5” in the material list.