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Forum topic by Van G posted 838 days ago 2837 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Van G

15 posts in 844 days


838 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: outdoor couch cedar

First post on LJ and a growing woodworker. Be gentle!

I need to build a couple of couches (3 seat and love seat) and two ottomans for our back deck (lounge in the city).

We purchased a bunch of cushions on clearance from Pottery Barn that belong to this outdoor sectional

I’m working on a design that will include a small extension at each end to act as a table or a ‘extra seat in a pinch.’

I planed to use pocket screw joinery and glue since I have tackled other joinery except lap and butt.

So, my questions:

What material should I use for solid outdoor furniture economically in Toronto climate?
Deck is cedar with Aussie Timber Oil (natural), sample PB piece is eucalyptus.
Finished product will be stained dark (slightly warmer than a walnut).

AND

Try not to laugh, but… How do I build this?:
- Frame construction?
- What angle should be used for the backs and how do I create this?

I’ve attached an image of the deck as a secondary focus – my daughter likes her camera time. Gives you an idea of colour and style.

Cheers

-- Andre, Great White North


13 replies so far

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Van G

15 posts in 844 days


#1 posted 838 days ago

Note: I’m not trying to duplicate the PB sectional, it was a reference for the cushions.

I’ve added a full shot of the deck. Proposed seating is to go under the pergola section which will have curtains running the length of the two beams for privacy.

-- Andre, Great White North

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Van G

15 posts in 844 days


#2 posted 809 days ago

No takers?

-- Andre, Great White North

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bill4123

24 posts in 1174 days


#3 posted 795 days ago

The angle of the back is really a matter of personal preference and really so are all the other dimensions. If you have no idea where to start measuring, try sitting on your couch at home with a tape measure and take a few measurements of what is or would be comfortable. Pay attention to where your knees and where your butt/back are because everything else ties in to these two points.. Here are all the critical dimensions you should think about:

seat height Do you like sitting up high or down low? Will you be putting your feet up and if so what will you be putting them on? A existing table being used as a foot rest will limit this measurement. back height Do you put your arms on the seat back and if so what is comfortable? armrest height or another way to think about it is difference in height between seat and armrest seat depth If you sit with your feet up you will want a deeper seat. Feet on the ground needs a shorter seat depth so you can get lower back support without slouching. length How long do you want it to be? back angle try a few different chairs in your house and see what is comfortable for you. This also ties in to the seat depth. If you’ll be sitting with your feet up and have a deeper seat then you’ll want something more tilted back. If it’s more of a feet on the ground type thing you’ll want a less tilted back much like a dining chair.

If your planning on using the cushions you’ll want to start with those dimensions and start the rest of the design based around those.

Pocket screw joinery should be fine for this but you’ll want to use something suitable for decks so it won’t rust in the rain.

For construction techniques I’m envisioning something much like a bed frame where you have the two rails (front and back of the couch) with a small strip not visible to hold the weight of the slats laying on top and supporting the cushions and screw the slats in place by either going straight into the strip or pocket screw into the rails.

I haven’t made any outdoor furniture yet but I too have been wanting to make something along the lines of what you’re after. I’ve read that redwood, cedar, and teak are good for outdoor furniture.

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Van G

15 posts in 844 days


#4 posted 795 days ago

Thanks for the reply Bill. I’ve got my dimensions based on the cushions and height from the PB model which I referenced.

I’m going to use Ipe as the frame and cedar as the seat and back slats. I was concerned about using wrc for the frame since it’s a softer wood.

For joinery I plan to use the domino’s (birthday gift :) and the Kreg Stainless Steel or BlueCoat screws if needed.

I like the clean look of the PB piece but I can’t figure out how to make the back support? Would you cut that from a 2×4 or 2×6 with jig saw to get your first piece and then use it as the template and router the remaining pieces? Might be tough in Ipe.

-- Andre, Great White North

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1555 days


#5 posted 795 days ago

I wouldn’t really put that much faith in pocket hole joinery for a seating application. There are other fasteners that will hold up to the strains and stresses better and are easy to work with such as hex head connecting bolts and barrel nuts

http://www.mcfeelys.com/product/0612-CDB/14quot--20-x-34quot-Centered-Barrel-Nuts

If you’ve got the Domino jointer, that would be perfect

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Van G

15 posts in 844 days


#6 posted 795 days ago

What about festool domino joints (sipo tenon, glued)?

-- Andre, Great White North

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bill4123

24 posts in 1174 days


#7 posted 794 days ago

I think if you wanted to use the router it would only be to clean up a already very-close-to-final-shape piece. A jig saw will do well for cutting out the back support pieces. You might want to make a template out of some 1/4” material by using the jig saw and then sanding it to perfection and then just trace it onto your 2-by-whatever. Once you get the 2-by-whatever very close to final shape you can then use the router with your template as a guide to get the piece to perfection. I drew a picture in MS Paint for one way of making this. It’s very simple but shold get the job done well enough.

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Van G

15 posts in 844 days


#8 posted 794 days ago

Thanks for the reply and your time Bill. Excited to start this project next.

I’m assuming I need a back support per cushion? Love seat has 3 back supports, Couch with 3 seats would have 4

Is 1×3 adequate material (Ipe) for the frame? Legs will be 2×2, seating slats will be 5/4×6 WRC deck boards, seat back slats will likely be Ipe 1×3 joined with domino m&t

-- Andre, Great White North

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bill4123

24 posts in 1174 days


#9 posted 793 days ago

2×2 legs will be plenty strong enough with proper joinery. You may want to consider corner blocking the legs with the frame rails even with the dominoes for a little extra rigidity http://furnituremaking.com/wordpress/?p=51 the first picture) . The only problem you may find with 2×2 for the legs is you won’t be able to cut much of a curve into the back legs so there won’t really be any back angle. As long as the cushions are puffy enough and the back height is low enough (maybe the bottom to the middle of your shoulder blade in height) then you shouldn’t have any problems with the straight back because the cushions will take care of that for you.

1×3 should be fine for the frame rails and back slats but depending on how long the 4 cushion couch is you may find it sag in the middle. If 1×3 is a design constraint then you may want to break the 4 cushion couch into 2 2-cushion couches so you won’t have to worry so much about flexing in a long span. Otherwise, you could add a center leg and back support “leg”. Maybe someone can chime in with a “Don’t exceed this length for a 1×3 frame”. Plus, if you make the 2-cushion one first and decide it’s pushing the limits for your design at least you won’t have invested time and materials into a 3-cushion model which could be broken down into a 2 and 1-cushion model. An added bonus to the smaller sectional pieces is how much less twisting and flexing will be going on when you’re carrying them from place to place…and less strong members of the household will also be able to move them without much difficulty.

5/4 deck boards are probably overkill for cushion slats but if the price is right then go for it. They will likely be forever out of sight because of the cushions so you could even get away with using 1×6 pressure treated lumber for that part. The small support strips that the slats can rest on could also be made from pressure treated lumber since it will never be visible.

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Van G

15 posts in 844 days


#10 posted 785 days ago

Wondering if I could get a setup suggestion for cutting the mortises into the frame rails and legs?

The rails are 1×4 and the legs are 2×2. Rails butt into the leg top and dead centre using Sipo 6×20 x 40 tenons

From what I can figure, the stop pin and side stop pin don’t work well with the dimensions of material I’m using.

I have 28 legs so I’d like to get a production setup going as opposed to pencil marking everything?

The best I could come up with was to use the stop pin on the base for the first mortise, and then the side stop pin (same side) set to a certain dimension for the second mortise. The side stop pin would catch the end of the material as opposed to catching the first mortise.

Any suggestions?

-- Andre, Great White North

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Rick M.

3747 posts in 966 days


#11 posted 783 days ago

If you haven’t started yet, I would consider building them from mahogany then you won’t have to stain, worry about trying to match ipe and cedar, and there will be a lot less cursing (if you don’t have the patience of a saint now, you will by the time you finish with the ipe). Also, mahogany is about 2/3 the price of ipe.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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Van G

15 posts in 844 days


#12 posted 782 days ago

I’m well into the project and have the Ipe in my shop so it’s too late to turn back.

Ipe with pennofin is the desired look, not trying to match cedar which has Cabot’s Aussie on it.

What don’t you like about Ipe?

Mahogany is about triple the price here compared to Ipe!

-- Andre, Great White North

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Rick M.

3747 posts in 966 days


#13 posted 782 days ago

Ipe is fine, it’s just hard as a rock. Checking locally (NC), ipe is $8/bf, mahogany ranges from $4.90-$6.50 depending on width. Weird how prices vary so much. Ipe used to be dirt cheap, then it got popular.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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