3 Power Tools, 1 Great Outdoor Sofa

A tutorial by .



1/4" Bit
Tape Measure

This DIY Outdoor Sofa is easy to make and only requires three basic power tools. I used a circular saw, cordless drill and orbital sander to cut and assemble 2x6 lumber into this Outdoor Sofa. I used ready made outdoor seat cushion that I bought from Home Depot which means that no sewing is required.

Basic Tools

1/4" Bit
Tape Measure

Ben Uyeda

HomeMade Modern | @benjaminuyeda

Ben Uyeda stepped away from the award-winning architecture firm he co-founded, as well as an Ivy League teaching position, to develop media companies that deliver affordable designs to the masses. In the last four years, Ben’s design ideas have reached more than 50 million people and the free designs he gives away are being built on six different continents. Despite the populist and affordable nature of his work, Ben’s designs have been featured in an exhibition and workshop at the Vitra Furniture Museum in Germany.

Today we're going to build an outdoor sofa. I designed this project so it could be built with just three power tools and a few accessories.

Step 1:
Cut the pieces of wood to length

We're going to start by using the circular saw and speed square to cut the wood to length. All of the wood pieces for this sofa are made out of two by sixes. Use a circular saw to make all the cuts. When I'm making right angle cuts like this, just use a speed square to guide the blade. I need a three-inch-wide piece for the front of the sofa, so I'm going to clamp down another two by six as a guide and cut this two by six into two pieces. The 3-inch piece is going to be used for the front, but we’re going to use the leftover piece to make supports for the underside of the seat.

Step 2:
Sand it down

Sand down all the pieces to a 150 grit.

Step 3:
Make side panels

To make the side panels for the sofa, join three of the two-by-six pieces together. To do this, use a dowling jig. Drill three holes in the first piece, insert these little metal markers, and then press one piece against the other to transfer the mark on the holes perfectly.

Step 4:
Glue the panels

Apply some Gorilla Wood Glue and glue up these panels. Be careful not to apply too much glue, as you don’t want it oozing out the cracks because that would create extra sanding work. Use a few clamps to clamp the panels together.

Step 5:
Assemble the second panel same as the first

See Step 4.

Step 6:
Make the seat

Begin assembling the seat for the sofa upside down, screwing from the bottom so that none of the screw heads will show. I'm using two and a half inch long screws and being careful not to over drive them too much so that they come out the other end. Then screw on the front piece of the sofa. This would be a lot easier if you didn't care about hiding the screw heads. You’ll need to add these extra pieces so that you could screw in from the back. Use 3-and-1/8-inch-long finish screws to attach the side panels.

Step 7:
Angle the backrest

Having the back rest for the sofa at a slight angle will increase its comfort. Cut a 20-inch long piece of 2 by 6, draw a line corner at a corner, and then cut it into two pieces with a circular saw. Place a one-and-a-half-inch-thick piece of wood underneath it, then draw a line even with the edge of the side panels. This line tells you how much to trim off. Then use the angle on this piece of wood to set the angle on the circular saw blade. Then cut an angled piece that will be used at the top of the backrest.

Step 8:
Screw the supports to the side panels

Screw backrest supports to the side panels, and then screw on the two by sixes that will create the backrest.

Step 9:
Make it look good

I am using premium kiln dried cedar two by sixes, which are really nice, but any two by six will work for this project. Just try to go through and pick out the straightest and nicest ones. Use L brackets to fasten the top piece if you don't want the screw heads to show.

Step 10:
Add hairpin legs

Flip the sofa over and add some more short pieces of two-by-sixes that will give a nice wide surface to attach the hairpin legs to.

Step 11:
Attach the cushions

I got these outdoor seat cushions that have cloth strings on them that allow you to tie them to a structure to keep them from blowing away. Drill holes in the backrest to allow these strings to feed through and tie the cushions to the frame. Touch up the frame with the orbital sander, and then place all the cushions on. This design could easily be adjusted to accommodate cushions of any size, and it would also look really good if you painted it or stained it.

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