How to Build a Lazy Lounger (With a Drawer!)
Build it in a weekend, enjoy it for years
IntroductionSearching 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!
- Brad nailer (optional)
- Caulking gun
- Drill driver
- Miter saw
- Orbital sander or sanding block
- Spring clamps
- Table saw with combination blade
- Tape measure
- 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
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Project step-by-step (12)
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.