Build a luxury sofa to invest in some serious outdoor relaxation.
Garden dining settings and deck chairs have their place, but nothing tempts you outside like the prospect of a peaceful afternoon curled up on a supremely comfy, well-built day bed.
This simple project might be the most luxurious outdoor furniture you will ever own. It is built from primed H3 LOSP (light organic solvent preservative) finger-jointed pine, and is designed to fit a single mattress.
The timber is weatherproof but the mattress needs to be stored undercover. If you’d prefer to leave it exposed to the elements, alter the dimensions to fit an outdoor mattress of your choice.
TIP If you prefer a natural timber finish you can use hardwood instead of treated pine, but it will cost a lot more.
Make it simple
Joining legs to rails is a complex task, but we’ve made it simple by building each leg from an outer and inner piece.
The inner leg is shorter by 90mm, equal to the width of the rail. This allows the base rail to sit on the inner leg and finish flush with the outer leg.
Cut the components with a sliding compound mitresaw, cutting 45º opposing mitres on the baseplates, base rails and top rails, and mitring the upper end of the uprights.
For a professional finish, fill the screw holes with two-part filler and sand with 120 grit abrasive paper before painting. We used matt black acrylic for an oriental look.
Use 65mm x 10g treated pine screws for the base frame, legs and centre rail. Attach the slat supports to the baseplates with 32mm x 8g screws.
Secure the slats with 40 x 2mm nails, and use number 20 biscuits in the mitred baseplate joints to keep them all flush.
Keep the baseplates flush
To keep the mitre-joined baseplates flush and neat, we used exterior PVA adhesive and number 20 biscuits.
Biscuits are oval-shaped fasteners made from pressed beech, and they are available in three different sizes.
A biscuit joiner is a power tool that resembles a small angle grinder with an integrated fence that ensures the slots for the biscuits are located and cut precisely.
TIP Dowels could also be used to secure these joints.
Step 1. Cut two biscuit slots
Cut two biscuit slots in each mitred end of the baseplates. Take extra care not to make the slots too close to the long point of the mitre so that the blade doesn’t breach the outer face of the baseplates.
Step 2. Apply adhesive
Apply adhesive in the biscuit slots and over the entire surface of both mitres. Insert the biscuits into the slots and press the two mitred ends together. Reinforce each joint with two screws.
Drill 5mm clearance holes through each inner leg then secure to the outer leg using adhesive and screws. Assemble the mitred base frame by drilling clearance holes through all pieces, offsetting the screw positions so the mitred joints are pulled tightly closed.
Clamp the centre rail in position then secure using adhesive and two screws at each end. Use adhesive and screws to attach the legs to the base rails 400mm in from the ends. TIP Slightly recess the screw heads so they can be filled over.
Assemble the mitred joints of the baseplate frame using biscuits or dowels and leave to dry. Position the baseplate frame with even overhangs on the base and leg assembly then drill 5mm clearance holes through the baseplates and secure with screws.
Set up a trim router with a 5mm roundover bit and adjust the depth to match the existing radius at the edges of the timber. Rout the slat ends, working in the correct direction of feed by moving the router from left to right. Seal the raw ends with primer.
Drill 4mm clearance holes through the slat supports at 200mm centres. Secure two of them to the baseplate frame with adhesive and screws, flush with the underside. Centre the third slat support along the centre base rail, securing with adhesive and screws.
Arrange the slats roughly over the slat supports then use offcuts of 66 x 30mm timber to space the slats evenly. Start from the centre slat and work towards the sides, securing with adhesive and two nails skewed through each end of the slat.
Build the side frames by securing the uprights to the rails with adhesive and screws. Assemble the back frame by attaching the trimmers and centre upright to the back centre rail then secure the uprights, and back, top and lower rails with adhesive and screws.
Measure and mark the position of the back frame on the baseplate frame so the lower rail is centred over the base rail. Attach one side frame then the back frame and the opposite side, using screws to secure the frames to the baseplate and one another.