Great Outdoor Furniture Plans: How To Build a Table, an Outdoor Chair, and More
Build a simple, stylish alternative to the classic Adirondack chair in four hours or less
Easily build beautiful pieces that will look great for years
While built to dress up your patio, porch or garden it could just as easily work as a coffee table in your living room
How to Make Outdoor Furniture (But First, How Not to Make it)
By Dan Farnbach, Online Editor
Quartersawn wood (right) is much more resistant to splitting that plainsawn wood (left). If you have a choice, always use quartersawn wood for exterior exposures.
What Not to do When You're Building Outdoor Furniture
Don't jump out of bed on a Saturday morning and drive to the lumber yard with a vision in your head of how to build an outdoor table, expecting to drive home with all your materials, spend two hours assembling the project and be sipping a beer on the porch before dinner time. You may know how to build a picnic table – you may even be an intermediate woodworker with a couple outdoor table plans under your belt – but that does not necessarily mean you know how to make outdoor furniture that will stand up to the elements. Outdoor furniture plans need "something extra," because nature will show no mercy on what you make. Does that mean the project has to take all weekend? No. But it does mean you have to be smart about it.
Where to Start When You've Decided You Want to Build Outdoor Furniture
This may sound backwards, but you should start by thinking a little bit about the finish you want to use. That's because the finish will dictate what type of wood you choose in building outdoor furniture. Bob Flexner, our finishing expert, says that if it's going to be painted, any type of wood will be suitable for your outdoor woodworking plans. If, on the other hand, you want to maintain an unpainted look, you'll need to choose quartersawn boards (which resist splitting better than plainsawn boards). You may also want to choose a rot-resistant species like cypress.
The beautiful and inviting Titanic Chair! Make one for your patio today!!.
Next, Let Your Skill Level Guide You to the Right Outdoor Furniture Plans
If you're a beginner, it's a good idea to start with a video of a fairly simple project, rather than a book or an advanced project. The video format will give you more knowledge for your money. But make sure you choose something like BUILDING THE 4-HOUR OUTDOOR MORRIS CHAIR – something that looks classic and stylish – because you want to feel like more than a beginner when you're done with the project!
Outdoor wood furniture plans come in all skill levels, and if you're intermediate or above, it may be time for a comprehensive book that covers everything from Adirondack chairs to outdoor dining table plans. Don't be fooled by the title of EASY-TO-BUILD OUTDOOR PROJECTS. It doesn't mean "beginner outdoor furniture plans" (though there are a few of those, as well). This book includes a range of 29 great outdoor furniture plans that involve mastery of almost every intermediate woodworking skill. The GREENE & GREENE GARDEN TABLE is a perfect example from the book, and it's also available as an individual download if that's what you're looking for. So enjoy your outdoor furniture plans! Build smart, and maybe you'll have time for that beer before dinner!
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Dan Farnbach is the Online Editor of Popular Woodworking. He's into sports, making things, and being way out in the woods. At seventeen he designed and built a footbridge in the Idaho wilderness, and realized this craft was pretty satisfying. Since then he has learned custom cabinetmaking and dabbled in fine furniture, working for two professional shops. Connect with him and other woodworkers on the Popular Woodworking Facebook page.