This is what our deck looked like up until recently, but we’ve made some big changes, including building our own deck furniture!
But first, I primed the railing and started painting, but it’s taking a while since lately it’s either raining or in full sun! So we went ahead with the furniture and we’ll get to the painting whenever we can. I hate to make you scroll all the way down, so without further ado, here’s the finished (for now) product!
Here’s what we needed to build the table and 3 custom sized benches to fit along the railing. (We probably would have shopped at Lowe’s to get our 5% off, but we had a $25 Home Depot gift card.)
See the end of this post for the finished dimensions of the pieces and how we cut up the lumber.
- 4 x 4 x 10 for legs of table – 1 = $12.77
- 2 x 4 x 10 for apron/supports of table and legs of benches – 1 = $4.57
- 2 x 4 x 8 for apron/supports of table and legs of benches – 4 ($3.67 each) = $14.68
- 2 x 4 x 8 that we realized we needed later and got at Lowes – 1 (after discount) = $2.97
- 2 x 6 x 8 for tabletop and seats of benches – 3 ($4.67 each) = $14.01
- 2 x 6 x 12 for tabletop and seats of benches – 4 ($6.97 each) = $27.88
Screws (must be polymer coated or galvanized for use in treated lumber)
- 2.5 inch Grip Rite star drive polymer coated screws – $7.27
- 3 inch Grip Rite polymer coated exterior screws – $4.00
TOTAL (plus 9.75% tax) = $96.75
We started by cutting our table legs out of 4 x 4. (FYI, we borrowed a friend’s miter saw for this project, and now we’re more convinced than ever that we need one!) Then we cut our carefully measured apron pieces out of 2 x 4 and laid it all out upside down on the garage floor to make sure it would be level.
Rather than doing pocket screws from the inside, we opted to use longer screws and a 2″ drill bit to countersink them from the outside to ensure the frame was nice and sturdy. We also don’t have a pocket hole jig, so this option is easier for us.
Then we added three 2 x 4s for support, one directly in the middle and the other two at the ends for the inner edge of our “breadboard” ends (the tabletop pieces that run width-wise). Apparently, that’s really what they’re called. Who knew.
We wanted to attach the tabletop from underneath so no screws would be visible, and originally we were planning on doing this with pocket screws. But again, no pocket hole jig. So since we had a bunch of leftover deck balusters from our railing (which are treated wood), we decided it would be easier to line the inside of the frame with those and screw up through them to attach the top.
They’re not very thick, so plenty of each 2.5″ screw sunk into the table top.
Then we cut all of our tabletop pieces out of 2 x 6, and centered them carefully on the table. Starting from the middle boards, I stood on each one while Andrew screwed them in from underneath. If you were doing it alone, you might need to turn the table upside down?
Then we measured the width again, and cut and attached our breadboard ends. Ta-da! It’s a table!
Then it was time for the benches! These went sooo fast. We decided we wanted these wider than your average farmhouse benches and instead, about the depth of an average chair because they will be right up against the railing. If they were too narrow, you would have to sit up super straight or you’d be hanging off the front. Not comfortable. Also, we needed readily available bench cushions to fit them, which seem to range from 17″ to 18.5″ deep. (More on that to come in a future post!)
We cut the tops first, laid them out, and then cut all the legs the same length and set them aside.
We measured the width of each side of the “tops”, custom cut a horizontal support piece for it, and then screwed two legs into it from the top. Then we turned the u shaped support over (horizontal piece plus legs) and screwed it into the 3 planks of the seat. And repeated. Sorry if that’s confusing…I didn’t manage to take any pictures of that process.
We didn’t want them to look too homemade or crafty, so we used some more leftover deck balusters to create little supports on the sides.
Pretty self explanatory. Measured each one individually so it’d be a tight fit and screwed it in. And there you have it! A bench! We also didn’t want the typical farmhouse bench style because we thought 4 x 4s for the legs would look too bulky with 3 benches all lined up.
Then it was time to move them back to the deck and make sure they actually fit in the space! We measured very carefully before, but still…makes you nervous. They fit exactly as we had planned (including the small gap on the side so it wouldn’t trap water or scrape the house as we moved it into place.)
Looks like a pretty good fit to me!
We also made sure that the two longer benches could fit under the longer sides of the table, in case we ever want to rearrange.
It was a super exciting moment. I may have gotten carried away with my photobombing.
We have to wait to do the finishing stuff (sanding, painting, and/or staining) until the wood dries out. Exterior lumber has chemical-laden water forced into it during the treating process (way more than would happen from rain) so if it’s not hot and dry it can take months to dry out.
I think it might be dry enough now since it has been so hot (should be under 15% using a moisture meter, or even less is better!), but we also have a few areas that might need some re-adjusting based on how the wood changed as it dried. If only we had a kiln to dry our wood before!
We went ahead and put all of it on the deck so we could start using it, but the next step is to sand it (to make sure the edges are rounded and smooth, the top is level, and to get rid of the stamps, obviously.) Then we need to decide if we want to stain or paint it! And paint the black chairs a fun color!
Until then, we’re already enjoying our new furniture (and new cushions that I’ll share pictures of later) and love that it was a cost effective way to get a lot of seating!
Table: 62″ long x 34″ wide x 31″ tall (we haven’t decided, but we might cut an inch off the legs)
2 longer benches: 48″ long x 16.5″ wide x 18″ tall
Shorter bench: 39″ long x 16.5″ wide x 18″ tall
- Legs: One 4 x 4 x 10
- Apron: One 2 x 4 x 10 and one 2 x 4 x 8
- Tabletop: Three 2 x 6 x 12
- Tabletop supports: One 2 x 4 x 8
- Supports: Three 2 x 4 x 8
- Seats: Three 2 x 6 x 8 and one 2 x 6 x 12