The L-Up Chair comes from a series of designs by me to see how many outdoor furniture works I could come up with that can be made with simple tools and materials and without complicated angles and joinery, all the cut angles being straight or 90 degrees. To my amazement, just with casual and dining chairs, the number continues to grow. Working on my second volume of Outdoor Furniture You Can Make Using Simple Tools and Materials, the collection has risen to 30 dining chairs alone.
As with any size house, modernist impulse leads to an intimate relationship between indoors and outdoors in designing space. Especially important for the tiny house, outdoors areas increase the living spaces through decks and patios. The chair becomes one of the most significant furniture additions to any outdoor venue.
The chair, which I will tell you how to construct, has a floating look due to the difference between the front and back supports and emphasis based upon the way in which color is applied to the chair. As with all the designs in the series in which this comes from, this chair requires few materials. In this case, five standard size 2 x 4 studs. Every cut is made at 90 degrees and can be done with a miter box, although an electric miter saw is recommended.
In terms of joinery, the following instructions do not include any particular method. Some of the pieces such as the seat and back slats could even be set into place with nails. However, in the above mentioned book, the suggestion to use pocket joinery makes for a strong connection. Plus, a good and generous use of exterior wood glue helps keep water from deteriorating the ends of the wood pieces. Being very much a modernist, I quite enjoy when mechanisms or differing materials are left exposed. So when joining the slats for this chair, for instance, a large washer and lag bolt proudly showing on the side of the chair would make for a strong and attractive attachment. At any rate, wood screws of 2 1/2″, lag bolts or construction screws of the same length or 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws with a pocket hole jig will provide excellent fasteners.
The first Kreg Jig Kit comes to $39 and the Mini Kreg Jig Kit only $19. Extremely easy to use, these jigs will give a strong joint that will last a very long time. However, rather than always use the jig, a place where a construction screw will go straight through the material and into the end of a piece, with glue, gives a very strong joint and cuts out the added time of drilling the pocket holes. For this chair, in formation of the side structure, pocket hole joints will work great. The rest is up to you which joinery you would like to utilize. Just remember, my second choice for joints is construction screws that are weather resistant and tough to break a grip.
You will need 5 standard length studs (92.675″). If you have or obtain 96″ or 8′ studs, then the cut list can remain the same. You will have a little more waste. If you are a viewer from a metric country and stud sizes are different, possibly the instructions will be clear enough to allow you to still construct this chair. The illustration below shows how the studs will be cut. Remember to cut each length separately. If you draw lines on the board and cut along the lines, then the pieces will be inaccurate. The blade of the saw will take out material on both sides of the incision. Instead, to ensure that a 17″ length is 17″ in the final cut, you must cut one at a time with the saw cutting up to the line, but not over it in any way.
This chair contains two Ls on the sides, one up and one upside down. The chair floats on a back piece that juts out 2 inches on either side. Let’s make the side frames.
Once you have these pieces assembled, add the top, upright piece. The top/side pieces should be attached to the cross top piece first and then you may attach to the bottom seat frame.
The slats on the back, attached flush to the front, are approximately 1/2″ apart. However, you may wish to adjust the spacing slightly because you do not want to go past the end of the 14 1/2″ lengths. The bottom seat slats will need to go underneath the lowest back slat. To set the slats consistently, make a spacer to place between the pieces.
The lowest front slat should line up with the back strengthening support cross-piece, so both should be placed starting at 9″ from the ground. If necessary, adjust the slat spacing.
To begin adding slats to the seat, start from the front of the chair and work your way back leaving 1/2″ spaces between them.
The back legs are rather straightforward. The strengthening cross support is flush to the front because the seat support that crosses the middle of the bottom of the seat slats is secured to the center of this support. Remember to attach the cross support’s bottom edge 9″ from the bottom end of the side leg. (If you wish to use the full width of the top length to secure to the seat/back piece to the back legs, refrain from attaching the cross support until after attachment to the seat/back.)
Secure the completed seat and back construction flush to the length of the back leg assembly leaving 2″ on each side.
The only thing left in terms of building this chair is the middle support that connects the back legs to the seat/back L shape.
The central attachment at 16 1/2″ attaches to the lowest front slat and the back cross piece attached to the legs.
As previously mentioned, the lowest front slat and the back cross-piece should align by being 9″ from the ground.
With all the pieces connected, the chair is ready for paint or stain. I strongly suggest creating a difference in color between the seat/back and back leg pieces. The design purposely emphasizes the difference so the chair seems to float. Even so, sand and prime the chair and use a good exterior paint such as Arbor Paint by Benjamin Moore. Get creative and bold with paint and you can take an inexpensive DIY chair such as this and have something very useful and attractive that will last a long time.