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Supplement your outdoor furniture with these sturdy cedar stools you can build yourself. They’re ideal for outdoor dining or casual seating.
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These stools are designed to fit the cushions listed in the Materials section. If you use different size cushions, adjust the part lengths accordingly. The Cutting List and Cutting Diagram show parts for one stool.
Cut the aprons (A) to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List, Cutting Diagram). Position the aprons in a “pinwheel” orientation (one end of an apron butted against the mating apron and the other end overlapping the end of the next mating apron). Drill countersunk pilot holes, apply waterproof glue and drive 2-inch deck screws (Project Diagram, Drawing 1).
Where the screw holes are very close to the ends of the parts—about 3/8 inch in this step—drill countersunk pilot holes to prevent splitting when driving the screws. When drilling the pilot holes, only drill through the face of the overlapping apron and not into the end of the mating one. The screws will drive easily into the end grain without a pilot hole and will hold more securely.
Cut the wide uprights (B) and narrow uprights (C) to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List). Glue and screw together pairs of uprights to form four legs (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Set the legs aside.
For easy leg assembly, apply glue to the edge of the narrow upright. Position the wide upright on the narrow upright, supporting the wide upright with 1 x 3 scrap. Screw the legs together.
Measure the inside dimensions of the apron frame and cut the seat panel (D) to size, making a close fit (Project Diagram, Cutting List). Place four 13/16-inch-thick blocks under the seat panel and slide the apron frame over the panel. (Raising the seat panel on the scrap blocks creates a recess to hold the cushion in place.)
Retrieve the legs. Apply glue and position the first leg in the inside corner of the apron (A) frame with the end of the leg resting on the seat panel (D). Fasten the leg to the frame with 1 1/4-inch deck screws (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Repeat with the remaining three legs, orienting them so the wide uprights of each pair of legs face outward on opposite sides of the apron frames. This orientation gives you a symmetrical appearance on each side of the stool. On two opposite sides, only the faces of the wide uprights (B) are visible. On the other two opposite sides, the edges of the wide uprights and the faces of the narrow uprights (C) are visible.
Turn the stool right side up. Drill countersunk pilot holes through the seat panel at each corner and screw the panel to the legs (Project Diagram, Drawing 2).
Like the aprons (A), the stretchers (E) are installed in pinwheel fashion (Project Diagram, Drawing 1, Drawing 2). To determine the stretcher length, hold a 1 x 4 scrap against the inside of one leg and measure from the inside face of the opposite leg to the inside face of the scrap. Cut the stretchers to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List).
Measure the stretcher length close to the apron. This way, slightly splayed legs will be pulled into alignment when the stretchers are installed.
Drill countersunk pilot holes at the end of each stretcher (E). Orient the stretchers in pinwheel fashion (same as the aprons) and screw together the stretcher frame (Project Diagram, Drawing 1).
Place 13/16-inch-thick scraps under the stretcher frame at each corner and slide the seat/legs assembly over the frame. Clamp the frame in place.
Drill pilot holes through the stretchers (E) from the inside and fasten the stretchers to the legs with 1-1/4-inch deck screws (Project Diagram, Drawing 2).
To prevent splinters, sand slight bevels on all exposed edges and corners. Remove the sanding dust and apply an exterior sealer/stain to all parts, double-coating all exposed end grain. Triple-coat the bottoms of the legs. With the finish dry, nestle a cushion in the seat recess.