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DIY Wood Furniture Plans: What Are My Options?

It may not seem like the season to be thinking about outdoor patio furniture - let alone making it yourself. But actually, now is the time to get those woodworking skills underway, so that when the first signs of Spring arrive, you have your furniture all ready to go. 

So, we are not talking about the wooden patio furniture you pick up at the garden centre - this is about doing it yourself. Yes, we are going to ask you to build furniture. Trust us, it will be fun!

Patio furniture made from wood might look complicated, but there are a huge number of easy plans for classic wooden furniture items that you will love and which will look amazing on your patio. 

Wood is great for outside, after all, it is where trees live! Even cut wood will last a long time in all weathers and if you take the time to protect the wood with varnishes, paints and waxes, your furniture can literally last a lifetime.

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Once you have your wood ready to go, you need to choose a project that is within your capabilities and will work for your patio area. We have found a few projects that will be perfect for you, no matter what your DIY skills are like

Sourcing Your Wood

You have a few choices when it comes to creating your wooden patio furniture. You can go with recycled wood such as old pallets, sleepers, driftwood or crates or you can choose to use off-cuts from other wooden projects.

If you want to have a more pristine look to your project you can opt for newly sourced wood from timber yards. They will even cut it to the correct sizes for you - so, often this is the easier, but less rustic, option.

The wood you choose should always be properly sourced and certified to not be from rainforests. Most DIY stores and timber yards will only supply certified wood, but do look for the FSC stamp on the wood to ensure that it has been sustainably sourced and planted. You should also opt for treated wood as it will last longer in outdoor conditions and should be free from pests like woodworm. 

In the case of off cuts and recycled wood, you are going to need to use your eyes to decide on its quality. Look for soft sections that might be rotting or the pinprick holes that indicate woodworm or any other wildlife that might be growing on the wood. You might also want to avoid wood that is full of nails or screws as this can ruin your saw and are hard to remove.

Once you have your wood ready to go, you need to choose a project that is within your capabilities and will work for your patio area. We have found a few projects that will be perfect for you, no matter what your DIY skills are like. 

Almost everyone can follow these projects and create patio furniture to be proud of - or a least furniture that will be usable and practical.

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In the case of off cuts and recycled wood, you are going to need to use your eyes to decide on its quality. Look for soft sections that might be rotting or the pinprick holes that indicate woodworm or any other wildlife that might be growing on the wood. You might also want to avoid wood that is full of nails or screws as this can ruin your saw and are hard to remove

Sleeper Benches

Now these are probably the easiest and most flexible outdoor furniture options you can make. Plus, they are perfect for a beginner. Old railway sleepers are very rustic looking and are full of character. You can create seating, smaller tables and even raised beds that double as seating - all with the basic technique.

All you need is a heavy duty saw - even a chainsaw will do and bolts for fitting pieces together. A good drill and drill bits are also essential.

●    Cut the bench top to the desired size. Remember you might want to move it around, so don’t make it too long and heavy.
●    Create two pieces to use as legs. These can be cut from the same sleeper. Ensure these are cut straight so that your bench isn’t wobbly.
●    Fix the legs to the top using a counter-sunk bolt and washer straight through from the top of the bench and into the legs. You will need to drill a pilot hole first.

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You can use recycled wood or new wood depending on your preference. You will need a metal, ceramic or even plastic insert for the centre. It needs to have a lip around the top so it can rest inside the hole you will create. A reclaimed butler sink is ideal, but a washing up bowl/bucket will work fine too!

Pallet Chairs

Pallet wood can be very easy to work with, but you need to prepare it first by pulling apart the pallets if required and removing all nails and staples. Check for toxic paints or treatments that might need to be sanded back. This basic chair plan can be adjusted to turn it into a two seater if you wish.

●    Take two pallets (one for the seat and one for  the back) and attach them together along the back edge using long screws.The back will be further supported by the back legs in the next step.
●    Using standard 2x4 timber cut four legs of equal length. These should reach from the floor to the height of the armrest. Decide for yourself what height you would like your seat to be. 
●    Attach the legs to the front of the seat pallet and to the rear seat pallet and backrest.
●    Choose some pallet lengths to use as armrests and attach these from the rear leg top to the front leg top.
●    You can also add lengths of pallet to the area beneath the armrests to give it a more decorative look.
●    Using foam or cushions, create seat pads if you wish. You can also paint the chair.
●    To turn this into a longer seat - use four pallets and add extra legs to the centre.

Wheeled Drinks Table

This is so practical, you might want to take it inside too. It is a table on wheels that features a central cutout where a large bowl or sink will rest to hold ice for your wine or beers. 

●    Create a framework of standard timber in the size you would like your table to be. Bear in mind you will need enough space for the central cutout and to rest the drinks around the edge. Your frame should have 4 or even 6 legs for stability, but leave the centre empty (do not use cross braces that pass through the centre, but to each side of the centre).
●    Using lengths of pallet wood or any attractive hardwood create your tabletop by attaching the lengths of wood to the upper frame. Make the entire top and then cut out the middle section. This way you can simply trace around the bowl to get the exact size. Additional support may be needed around the cutout to allow for the weight of your ice bucket.
●    Add wheels to the four corner legs - choose wheels that will not rust outside.
●    Drop the sink or bowl into the central hole - fill with ice and beers and enjoy!

These three projects are easy to achieve and give you a table and seating to accommodate all the family and your friends. Take your party outside and enjoy the sun once it finally arrives!