Home & Garden

Build these cottage classics

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

Build these cottage classics

Remember the low wood chair in Grandma's backyard when you were a kid? You'd sit on the edge, then slide down into it, hoping that no splinters would encounter your bare legs. The arms were flat and wide, perfect for holding your glass of lemonade.

And if you were chasing your brother or sister around the chair, you had to take care not to trip over those long, back legs that stuck out behind the seat.

To some, it's the Muskoka chair. Others know it as the Adirondack or Bermuda chair. Whatever you call it, it's a classic piece of outdoor furniture. Old ones are still around because these chairs are extremely sturdy, putting up for years with all the abuse that outdoor conditions and family life inflict, but new ones are hard to find ready-made.

We have re-created this perennial favourite as an easy do-it-yourself project and designed a porch swing to match. Make them in pine, cedar or redwood. Cedar or redwood is best if you plan to leave the pieces natural or stain them. Use pine if you're going to paint.

Tip:
When building the chair out of pine, use pressure-treated lumber for the legs to protect them against moisture from the ground.

Outdoor furniture is becoming increasingly colourful; you'll be right in style with colours like the ones we've used here from Benjamin Moore's line of exterior paint colours (YL-18 yellow, GR-319 green, AJ-368 aqua, and PR-466 pink). The fun is in using your imagination to work out fresh-looking colour combinations.

The chair and the swing are both made of board lumber. You simply cut boards to the length required, sand the rough edges and start screwing them together following our simple steps. You should build the frame (that's everything but the back and seat slats) first, and paint or stain this part. It's easier to get at the tops of the frame boards before you secure the seat and back slats. Then when you've given the frame its two or three coats of paint or stain, cover the slats with their first coat, screw them onto the frame and then finish with the last coat.

You need:
• Hammer
• Jigsaw
• Saw
• Large bit drill
• Measuring tape
• Sandpaper
• Screwdriver


Page 1 of 3 – Make your own Muskoka chair with the instructions and diagram on page 2.

Garden chair instructions
All measurements are given for rough-cut size. Dressed lumber will be slightly smaller in width and thickness.

Step 1
A: 2 front legs (2- x 4- x 21-1/2-inches)
B: 2 back legs (1- x 6- x 42-1/2-inches)
C: 1 back bottom brace (2- x 2- x 27-3/4-inches)

Step 2
D: 2 arms (1- x 4- x 29-1/2-inches)
E: 1 back top brace* (2- x 4- x 32-3/4-inches)

Step 3
F: 6 seat slats (1- x 4- x 27-3/4-inches)
G: 6 back slats (1- x 4- x 29-1/4-inches)
H: 1 front brace (2- x 2- x 26-1/4-inches)

*Rip top edge at a 15-degree bevel.

Download the diagram (PDF format, requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader)

To make:

1. Sand all edges that will be exposed after construction. Assemble legs (A and B) and back bottom brace (C) as shown. Bolt legs together with 3 bolts on each side.

2. Attach arms (D) and back top brace (E) with the bevelled edge of the back top brace against bottom of the arms. Centre the arms side to side on the front legs.

3. Screw on back slats (G) and cut top ends on a 27-inch radius with jigsaw. Screw seat slats (F) to top of back legs. Screw front brace (H) under front slat slightly recessed. Space all slats evenly.


Page 2 of 3 – Find easy instructions and a downloadable diagram to make your own matching swing on page 3.

Matching swing instructions:
All measurements are given for rough-cut size. Dressed lumber will be slightly smaller in width and thickness.

Step 1
A: 2 front legs* (2- x 4- x 17-1/2-inch)
B: 2 back legs* (2- x 4- x 18-inch)
C: 2 inside braces (2- x 4- x 24-inch)
D:2 front and back (2- x 4- x 51-inch)
E: 1 middle brace (2- x 6- x 24-inch)
F: 2 sides* (2- x 6- x 27-inch)

Step 2
G: 2 arms (1- x 4- x 31-inch)
H: 2 back supports (1- x 4- x 57-inch)

Step 3
I: 1 top support (1- x 4- x 52-inch)
J: 6 seat slats (1- x 4- x 54-inch)
K: 13 back slats (1- x 4- x 25-inch)
L: 2 side slats (1- x 4- x 11-1/2-inch)

*Cut the bottom edges of the front and back legs and sides on a 1-3/4-inch radius, if desired, as shown in photo. Cut the top of the back legs at 15-degrees.

Download the diagram (PDF format, requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader)

To make:
1.
Sand all edges that will be exposed after construction. Drill holes for holding chain. Cut braces according to plan, starting V-cut 2-inches from each end. Assemble basic frame by bolting the front legs (A) and back legs (B) to the sides (F) with back legs at a 15-degree angle. Then screw the front and back (D) to the inside braces (C) at each end and screw to the sides (F). Screw the middle brace (E) in place.

2. Screw on arms (G) and back supports (H).

3. Screw on back slats (K) first and cut to a 54-inch radius with jigsaw. (Mark radius on cardboard and cut a template to determine curve.) Screw the top support (I) to the slats. Screw seat slats (J) in place. Space all slats evenly. Screw on side slats (L) under arms.

Note: To hang swing, use heavy chain held by Iarge hooks. Use large washers under all nuts on hooks.


Page 3 of 3

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