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The Editors Mailbox

How to Make Outdoor Furniture

comments (7) April 12th, 2010 in blogs

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Build this comfortable, lightweight version an American classic, the Adirondack Chair.
Ultimate guide to garden furniture. Find an extensive collection of outdoor furniture on including details for making this mahogany garden bench. Watch a video on how to make it or order the digital SketchUp plans from our store.  
Adirondack with a twist. Find details on making this chair in the latest issue of Fine Woodworking. Click here to read the article online.
Build this comfortable, lightweight version an American classic, the Adirondack Chair. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Build this comfortable, lightweight version an American classic, the Adirondack Chair.

Photo: Anissa Kapsales

Barbeque season is here but how is your patio furniture holding up? It's never too late to whip up some new garden furniture--especially since many in the U.S. are heading into a long, three-day independence weekend. hosts a collection of outdoor furniture project and plans that you can build: See complete list below. A recent issue of our magazine included three outdoor chair plans. You can watch how to make one of them from start to finish in an eight-part video workshop. Watch the intro video below. Other projects on our site include an ipe table, a classic Adirondack, and more garden bench plans.

So, what’s on your agenda? Will you craft pieces for the outdoors this year? Or, if you recently made any projects, upload photos in our gallery. And, if you have any tips for fellow patio-furniture makers, be sure to share them in a comment below.

Make a garden bench:  Watch the free video introduction.

Become an online member to watch the rest of this series

More outdoor furniture projects

A Classic Adirondack Chair
Our version updates the original design with a curved seat and back, making it even more comfortable for relaxing. It's made of western red cedar, assembled with screws and carriage bolts.

Video: Assembling the Adirondack chair 
Order the complete project plan

Sturdy Outdoor Chair
Joinery takes center stage in this chair designed by master furniture maker Hank Gilpin. It includes mortise-and-tenon joints, bridle joints, and lap joints.

Adirondack with a Twist
Michael Fortune designed this chair with comfort in mind. It’s loosely modeled on the traditional Adirondack chair but more comfortable and features more curves. Read 3 Outdoor Chairs for drawings on making this chair.

An Outdoor Table in Ipé
This 5-ft.-dia. table seats six. The top is made of boards surrounded by an outer frame constructed from 12 thicker segments. Gently curved legs attach to the base with mortise-and-tenon joints.

Order the complete project plan 

A Japanese Garden Bench

A curved back rail and armrests, plus tapered back splats with a cross rail blend Asian esthetics and traditional Tudor style. The bench uses mortise-and-tenon joints throughout.

Order the complete project plan

The Lutyens Garden Bench
Designed more than 100 years ago by noted architect Edward Lutyens, this bench features a whimsical frame around classically regimented slats on the back and seat.

Order the complete project plan


Colonial Garden Bench
Inspired by outdoor furniture built during Colonial times, this bench has contoured back slats and arms that make for comfortable seating. Mortise-and-tenon joinery ensures a solid bench that will last for years.

Order the digital project plan 


Build a Potting Bench
Build this redwood potting bench for yourself or the gardener in your life. It's perfect for seed sowing, transplanting, and potting up cuttings.

Download the free plan

Your Outdoor Furniture Projects
Upload photos of your outdoor furniture projects in our gallery like Charles Griffith of Pound Ridge, N.Y. who posted pictures of a set of stackable Adirondack chairs. Click here to upload photos of your own.


Build a Deck

Need a new deck to go with your new patio furniture? Go to for everything you need to know about building a deck.

More on building for the outdoors 

Torture Test for Outdoor Finishes
A Durable Exterior Finish
Wood Against Weather
The Ultimate Outdoor Finish

posted in: blogs, outdoor furniture

Comments (7)

Matt_GCS Matt_GCS writes: Sometimes maintaining the wooden furniture can be a bit of a hastle. I stick to all weather furniture for my seats and go with wood for elegant arches etc.
Posted: 11:21 am on April 18th

user-2445799 user-2445799 writes: I would like to order the Classic Adirondack chair plans but I have no idea how to do it. I click the "order chair project" and I get a page full of stuff and don't know where to go next??

Posted: 2:17 pm on March 24th

Jeffiejean Jeffiejean writes: A fine looking website. I wish I was younger and had more time to make these beautiful items. Jean
Posted: 7:48 pm on July 6th

Refined_Wood_Designs Refined_Wood_Designs writes: I've written to Michael Fortune regarding the Adirondack chair and he pointed my questions back to Fine Woodworking. I hope to hear something from them. I'm thinking that Fine Woodworking only paid for partial plans.
Anyway... Is anyone up to work as a team to reverse engineer this chair?
Posted: 2:23 pm on June 7th

saschafer saschafer writes: @Thoronymous: I think you're supposed to take a cue from Michael Fortune's philosophy: "I'm not big on copying..." and "You'll need to draw a full-size side view to work out the arm curve." -Steve
Posted: 9:31 am on April 14th

Thoronymous Thoronymous writes: I'd love to make the adirondack chair in this article unfortunately they seem to have left out a lot of information. The back of the chair is obviously curved but they left out those dimensions. Also, the author says he made a jig to cut the grooves in the arms for the legs but offers no details at all how to do it. I don't understand their lack of detail, Fine Woodworking usually has it together with things like this.
Posted: 8:13 am on April 14th

GEide GEide writes: Or... if you don't want to take the FINE route... "PVC is the key to making patio chairs" according to a headline this weekend... :)
Posted: 3:37 pm on April 13th

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