How to Build a Lazy Lounger (With a Drawer!)

Build it in a weekend, enjoy it for years

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Searching for patio furniture, I encountered endless chairs and benches. But I wasn’t looking for just a place to sit: I wanted a comfortable spot where I could curl up with the dog and recline with a book. 
 When I finally found the right sofa, it was crazy-expensive (more than $1,600!). So, I chose to build one and vowed to make it even better than the one at the store. I made it larger and more comfortable, customized it to complement the space, and even added a drawer. Best of all, this weekend project is built to last, and it’s dead simple, too. If you can cut wood and drive screws, you can build it!

Tools Required

  • Brad nailer (optional)
  • Caulking gun
  • Drill driver
  • Miter saw
  • Orbital sander or sanding block
  • Spring clamps
  • Table saw with combination blade
  • Tape measure

Materials Required

  • 1-1/4" exterior screws
  • 1-1/4” brad nails
  • 1x12 x 6' cedar boards (4)
  • 1x2 x 8' cedar boards (8)
  • 1x4 x 8' cedar board (1)
  • 1x6 x 36" solid oak boards (2)
  • 2" exterior screws
  • 2x4 x 8' cedar studs (3)
  • 4' x 8' x 3/4" AC plywood (1)
  • Exterior caulk wax
  • Paint or wood finish
  • Quart of exterior urethane
  • Quart of stain

Figure AFamily Handyman Figure BFamily HandymanFigure CFamily Handyman

Project step-by-step (12)

Step 1

Prepare the Pieces

  • Cut the back and sides of the box frame (E and F).
  • Because the back, the internal support rails and the braces (M and N) are exactly the same length, cut them all at the same time.
  • Don’t cut the front (H) to length quite yet.
    • Time-Saving Tip: Before you cut the drawer slide parts on the table saw, seal the oak board with a coat of urethane.

The Family Handyman
Step 2

Assemble the 
Box Frame

  • Screw the sides to the back, then attach the bottom braces (M).
  • Once these parts have been assembled, measure the width of the box frame.
  • Cut the front (H) to that length and assemble.

Step 3

Cut Drawer Slides

  • Each drawer slide consists of three parts, all cut from the same board.
  • Set the blade on the table saw to 
10 degrees and the fence to 1-1/2 in. and make the first cut. Label this part P.
  • Set the blade back to zero, the fence to 2-1/2 in. and make the second cut. This gives you parts Q and R.

Step 4

Lubricate the Slides

  • Sand the edges of the drawer slides with 320-grit sandpaper and clean off the dust.
  • Rub wax along the beveled edges of the drawer slides; really work it into the surface of the wood.
  • Rub off any excess with a cotton cloth.
    • I prefer to use beeswax, but paraffin or any candle will work well too.

Step 5

Install the 
Drawer Slides

  • Start with part P, snugging it tight to the bottom braces.
  • Be sure the bevel is angled into the side of the box frame.
  • Pre-drill and screw it down.
  • Place part Q snugly against part P and place a 1/8-in. spacer (Figure C) on top of it (about 10 playing cards works perfectly for this).
  • Place part R against the spacer and screw it to the box frame.
  • When you remove the spacer, part Q should easily slide out the front.
  • Repeat this process on the opposite side.

Install the drawer slides

Step 6

Measure for the Drawer

  • From one of the 4 x 4-ft. pieces of plywood, rip three strips at 4-1/2 in.
  • Cut the drawer box sides (D) to length.
  • Measure the distance between the left- and the right-side drawer slides and subtract 1/4 in. Write this number down: it’s the absolute width of the drawer box.
  • Further subtract 1-1/2 in. and note that number. This confirms the dimensions of the front and back pieces (B) of the drawer box.
  • Cut the pieces to length.

Measure for the drawer

Step 7

Assemble the Drawer Box

  • Assemble the drawer box by screwing the sides to the front and back.
  • Measure to confirm the exact dimensions and cut the drawer bottom to that size.
  • Attach it with glue and screws.

Assemble the drawer box

Step 8

Add the Drawer Box Slide

  • Set the box frame on its side.
  • Insert part Q in the box frame, making it snug to part P.
  • Now set the drawer box in the opening, ensuring there’s enough space above and below, and mark where the top of part Q meets the drawer box. Transfer that line all the way down both sides of the drawer box.
  • Place part Q to the line, front edge flush with the front of the drawer box, and screw it down.

Add the drawer box slide

Step 9

Attach the 
Drawer Face

  • Drive two 1-1/4-in. screws through the front of the drawer box so the tips of the screws protrude just shy of 1/4 in.
  • Position the drawer face (G) and tap it with your fist.
  • The screws will dig in, holding the drawer face in place.
  • Using a spring clamp or two to help keep the drawer face from moving around, drive those screws home.
  • Add three more screws.

Attach the drawer face

Step 10

Add the Top Supports

  • Spacing the 2x4 top supports (N) evenly, attach them with 2-in. screws.
  • Mark their locations to help position the screws for the top.

Add the top supports

Step 11

Install and Seal the Top

  • Double-check the internal measurements of the box frame and cut the top (A) from the plywood.
  • Test-fit the top, and then screw it down to the 2x4 top supports.
    • The sofa I built is intended for outdoor use, so I also sealed the plywood with urethane and caulked around the perimeter to help keep out moisture.

Install and seal the top

Step 12

Add the Cladding

  • I used 1x2 cedar strips for the cladding detail.
  • Fasten them with exterior wood glue and brads, starting at the top and working down.
  • Space the cladding with a scrap of 1x2 cedar.
  • Next, double-check the measurement for the side cladding (K), cut and attach.
  • Finally, double-check the total width, cut the front cladding (J) and attach.

Add the cladding