Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry Updated 3rd Edition: Complete Plans for Beautiful Backyard Building Projects

Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry Updated 3rd Edition: Complete Plans for Beautiful Backyard Building Projects

by Editors of Cool Springs Press

Paperback(3rd ed.)

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In this updated third edition of the best-selling BLACK+DECKER The Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry you will find a wealth of popular building projects that are fun and easy to build. The wood projects are shown in full detail with color how-to photos, step-by-step instructions, and exploded-view building diagrams, along with cutting lists and shopping lists. 

Carpenters of just about every skill level love to build outdoor projects. A picnic table has a different set of expectations than a dining table, which makes us more comfortable building it ourselves. Dimensional lumber, simple joinery, sturdy, satisfying results...these are just a few of the qualities we love about outdoor furniture.

Inside are complete plans for creating your own:

  • Adirondack chairs
  • patio tables
  • garden benches
  • cooking and entertaining accessories
  • a handsome four-post pergola
  • and more!
Build your carpentry skills while beautifying your outdoor space and making it more usable with this comprehensive guide.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780760365380
Publisher: Cool Springs Press
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Series: Black & Decker Complete Guide Series
Edition description: 3rd ed.
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 8.35(w) x 10.85(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

The Editors of Cool Springs Press have produced the highest quality DIY home improvement books for more than 30 years. In conjunction with the experts at BLACK+DECKER™ they have combined resources to create more than 200 home improvement titles that provide consumers and weekend DIYers with the information they need to get the job done right. Their books have set the standard for do-it-yourself publishing, featuring clear, professional photography and concise step-by-step instructions that get straight to the point. View our full catalog at or connect with us on Facebook (, Twitter (@quartohomes), or Pinterest (

Read an Excerpt


Seating Projects

You'll never fully enjoy your backyard without comfortable seating. Chairs, benches, and swings are mainstays of outdoor living. In this chapter you'll find a dozen seating projects that range from fanciful to simple, classic to retro, and nautical to Eastern-inspired.

Each design in this chapter has been carefully shop-tested for comfort. A couple of degrees of slant in a seatback might not appear to make much difference when you're drawing up a plan, but your body can tell immediately. And if your seating is not comfortable, what use is it? You can be confident that the benches and chairs that follow have been subjected to hands-on (well, not hands exactly) testing from sitters of all sizes.

If you are a relative newcomer to carpentry, consider starting with one of the simpler projects, such as the Knockdown Garden Bench or the Slatted Garden Bench. If your skills are a bit more advanced, think about tackling the Porch Swing and Porch Swing Stand or perhaps the Luxury Sun Lounger that's crafted from mahogany and features stainless steel brightwork.

In this chapter:

[] Side-by-Side Patio Chair

[] Classic Adirondack Chair

[] Slatted Garden Bench

[] Knockdown Garden Bench

[] Sling-Back Adirondack Chair

[] Porch Swing

[] Porch Swing Stand

[] Recyclables Bench

[] Luxury Sun Lounger

[] Trellis Seat

Side-by-side Patio Chair

You can share a view, some shade, and a table for snacks and a beverage with a friend when you've got this side-by-side patio chair in your backyard. You might recognize the design, as it was inspired by the side-by-side chairs that were often included in the ubiquitous redwood patio sets popular in the '50s and '60s. Those sets typically included a lounge chair, some small tables, a patio table with an umbrella holder, and a side-by-side table and chair similar to the one shown here.

You'll find that these seats are most comfortable when they're appointed with cushions, but they're still easy to enjoy when left bare. And just about any patio table umbrella can be used with this set — simply size the umbrella post hole to fit. The optional umbrella should also be secured in a weighted base that is placed under the table.

Even a beginner can build this side-by-side chair in a day using less than $100 in materials. It's easiest to build if you have a table saw, miter saw, jigsaw, and router. If you don't have a table saw, then you can use a circular saw to rip the 2 × 4 frame pieces down to 3" widths. The purpose for these parts being 3" wide is to give the set a more refined appearance, but you can simplify the design and avoid rip cuts by using full width 2 × 4s. If you choose to use full-width 2 × 4s, then you must move the front rail notch up ½" and the seats will end up being ½" higher.

Materials [??]

5 1 × 4" × 8 ft. boards
5 2 × 4" × 8 ft. boards
1 2 × 6" × 8 ft. board
1 5/4 × 12 ft. deck board Deck screws (2", 2½")
Exterior-rated glue Finishing materials

Side-by-Side Patio Chair


Cut 2 × 4 boards to make the legs, back supports, and seat supports. These parts must be rip-cut down to 3" wide to conceal their telltale 2 × 4 look (for best results, rip ¼" off each edge to get rid of the bullnose profile milled into most 2 × 4s). Use a table saw or a circular saw and edge guide to make the rip cuts. It is often easier to cut the parts to length first and then rip them to width because the shorter boards are more manageable.

Use the construction drawings (see page 11) to lay out the notches, miters, and radius-curve profiles on each piece. These details must be correctly noted onto the parts. Lay out the notches that will hold the front rail in between the front legs and the back rail in between the back legs. Drill a 3/8" blade access hole in the inside corners of each notch and then cut the notches out with a jigsaw. Clean up cuts with a chisel or small profile sander.

Miter-cut the ends of the back legs at 14º angles. Be careful to cut the miters in the correct direction so that the notch is on the front edge of the back legs. Miter-cut one end of each seat support to 14º (photo 1). Note: Parallel angled cuts on the ends of a workpiece are called "plumb cuts." Miter-cut the bottom end of the back support to 14º and cut a 3" radius in the top back corner.

Cut the front and back rail to length. Mark the locations along the back face of the front rail where each seat support will be attached. Attach the seat supports to the front rail with 2½" screws (photo 2). Rails should be located 1½" and 19" in front of each end.

Apply exterior-rated wood glue to the bottom face of each notch. Place the front rail in the front leg notches and the back rail in the back leg notches. Keep the ends of the rails flush with the outside faces of the legs. Attach the rails to the legs with screws (photo 3).

Adjust the positions of the parts so that the front leg is plumb and the arm support is level. Then attach the back legs to the outside seat supports and the arm support to the front and back legs (photo 4).

Cut the table bottom crosspiece to length and width. Attach the back supports to the seat supports with 21/2" screws (photo 5). In addition, attach the two outside back supports to the arm supports. This completes the assembly of the chair frame.


The appearance of your side-by-side chair is greatly influenced by the uniformity and spacing of the back slats and seat slats. The best way to achieve uniform lengths for the slats is to set a stop block for your power miter saw. Use spacers between the slats to ensure regular gaps. For the 1/8" gaps required here, you can use 16d common nails as spacers.

Cut all of the back slats and seat slats to length (photo 6). Sand the ends prior to installation while you still have unrestricted access. Place the slats on the back supports, leaving a 1/8" space between slats. Drill two 1/8"-diameter pilot holes and countersinks through each slat end, centering the holes over the back support. Attach the slats to the supports with 2" screws (photo 7). Attach the seat slats to the seat supports, again leaving a 1/8" gap in between the slats.


Cut the table posts, table supports, tabletop planks, and armrests to length. Use a coping saw or jigsaw (an oscillating jigsaw is best) to round the front corners of the outside tabletop planks and armrest. Cut each corner to a 1" radius (roughly the same as a can of tomato paste). Sand the edges smooth with a power sander. Also use the jigsaw to round the back outside corners of the armrests to a 4" radius. Use a compass to mark the 4" radius (slightly larger than a 1-gallon paint can).

Round over the outside edges of the tabletop and armrests with a router and 1/4" piloted roundover bit. Attach the crosspiece between the two middle seat supports. Attach the table posts to the inside face of the front rail and front face of the table bottom crosspiece with 2" deck screws. Attach the table supports to the table posts with 2" screws. Finally, attach the tabletop planks to the table supports with 2" screws, leaving a 1/8" space between the planks, and attach the armrests to the arm supports with 2" screws. Center the pilot and countersink holes over the supports.

Optional: Drill an umbrella posthole through the middle plank (photo 8). The typical patio umbrella pole diameter is 1½". For increased comfort, order back cushions and seat cushions. A good size for a back cushion is 3" thick × 19" square. The seat cushions should be around 3" deep × 17" long × 19" wide.

Classic Adirondack Chair

Adirondack furniture has become a standard on decks, porches, and patios throughout the world. It's no mystery that this distinctive furniture style has become so popular. Attractive but rugged design and unmatched stability are just two of the reasons for its timeless appeal, and our Adirondack chair offers these benefits and more.

Unlike most of the Adirondack chair designs you're likely to run across, this one is very easy to build. There are no complex compound angles to cut, no intricate details in the back and seat slats, and no complicated joints. It can be built with basic tools and simple techniques. And because this design features all of the classic Adirondack chair elements, your guests and neighbors may never guess that you built it yourself (but you'll be proud to tell them you did).

We made our Adirondack chair out of cedar and finished it with clear wood sealer. But you may prefer to build your version from pine (a traditional wood for Adirondack furniture), especially if you plan to paint the chair. White, battleship gray, and forest green are popular color choices for Adirondack furniture. Be sure to use quality exterior paint with a glossy or enamel finish.

Materials [??]

1 2 × 6" × 8 ft. cedar board
1 2 × 4" × 12 ft. cedar board
1 1 × 6" × 14 ft. cedar board
1 1 × 4" × 8 ft. cedar board
1 1 × 2" × 12 ft. cedar board Moisture-resistant glue Deck screws (1¼", 1½", 2", 3")
3/8 × 2½" lag screws with washers Finishing materials

Classic Adirondack Chair


Sprawling back legs that support the seat slats and stretch to the ground on a near-horizontal plane are signature features of the Adirondack style. Start by cutting the legs to length. To cut the tapers, mark a point 2" from the edge on one end of the board. Then, mark another point 6" from the end on the adjacent edge. Connect the points with a straightedge. On the same end, mark a point 21/4" from the other edge. Then, on that edge mark a point 10" from the end. Connect these points to make a cutting line for the other taper. Cut the two taper cuts with a circular saw. Use the tapered leg as a template to mark and cut identical tapers on the other leg of the chair (photo 1).


The legs form the sides of the box frame, which supports the seat slats. Where the text calls for deck screw counterbores, drill holes 1/8" deep with a counterbore bit. Cut the apron and seat support to size. Attach the apron to the front ends of the legs with glue and 3" deck screws.

Position the seat support so the inside face is 16½" from the inside edge of the apron. Attach the seat support between the legs, making sure the part tops are flush. Cut the seat slats to length, and sand the ends smooth. Arrange the slats on top of the seat box, and use wood scraps to set 5/8" spaces between the slats. The slats should overhang the front of the seat box by ¾".

Fasten the seat slats by drilling counterbored pilot holes and driving 2" deck screws through the holes and into the tops of the apron and seat support. Keep the counterbores aligned so the cedar plugs used to fill the counterbores form straight lines across the front and back of the seat. Once the slats are installed, use a router with a ¼" roundover bit (or a power sander) to smooth the outside edges and ends of the slats (photo 2).


The back slats are made from three sizes of dimension lumber: 1 × 2, 1 × 4, and 1 × 6. Cut the back slats to length. Trim off the corners on the widest (1 × 6) slat. First, mark points 1" in from the outside top corners. Then, mark points 1" down from the corners on the outside edges. Connect the points and trim along the lines with a saw. Mark the 1 × 4 slats 2" from one top corner in both directions. Draw cutting lines and trim the same way (these are the outer slats on the back).


Cut the low back brace and the high back brace and set them on a flat surface. Slip 3/4"-thick spacers under the high brace so the tops of the braces are level. Then, arrange the back slats on top of the braces with 5/8" spacing between slats. The untrimmed ends of the slats should be flush with the bottom edge of the low back brace. The bottom of the high back brace should be 26" above the top of the low brace. The braces must be perpendicular to the slats.

Drill pilot holes in the low brace and counterbore the holes. Then, attach the slats to the low brace by driving 2" deck screws through the holes. Follow the same steps for the high brace and attach the slats with 1¼" deck screws.


The broad arms of the chair, cut from 1 × 6 material, are supported by posts in front and the arm cleat attached to the backs of the chair slats. Cut the arms to length. To create decorative angles at the outer end of each arm, mark points 1" from each corner along both edges. Use the points to draw a pair of 1½" cutting lines on each arm. Cut along the lines using a jigsaw or circular saw.

Mark points for cutting a tapered cut on the inside back edge of each arm (see Diagram page 17). First, mark points 3¼" in from each inside edge on the back of each arm. Next, mark the outside edges 10" from the back. Then, connect the points and cut along the cutting line with a circular saw or jigsaw. Sand the edges smooth.


Cut the arm cleat and make a mark 2½" in from each end of the cleat. Set the cleat on edge on your work surface. Position the arms on the cleat top edge so the arm back ends are flush with the cleat back, and the untapered edge of each arm is aligned with the 2½" mark. Fasten the arms to the cleats with glue. Drill pilot holes in the arms and counterbore the holes. Drive 3" deck screws through the holes and into the cleat.

Cut the posts to size. Then, use a compass to mark a 1¾"-radius roundover cut on each bottom post corner (the roundovers improve stability). Position the arms on top of the square ends of the posts. The posts should be set back 1½" from the front ends of the arm and 1" from the inside edge of the arm. Fasten the arms to the posts with glue. Drill pilot holes in the arms and counterbore the holes. Then, drive 3" deck screws through the arms and into the posts (photo 3).

Cut tapered arm braces from wood scraps, making sure the wood grain runs lengthwise. Position an arm brace at the outside of each arm/post joint, centered side to side on the post. Attach each brace with glue.

Drill counterbored pilot holes in the inside face of the post near the top . Then, drive deck screws through the holes and into the brace (photo 4). Drive a 2" deck screw down through each arm and into the top of the brace.


To complete the construction, join the back, seat/ leg assembly, and arm/post assembly. Before you start, gather scrap wood to brace the parts while you fasten them.

Set the seat/leg assembly on your work surface, clamping a piece of scrap wood to the front apron to raise the assembly front until the leg bottoms are flush on the surface (about 10"). Use a similar technique to brace the arm/post assembly so the back cleat bottom is 20" above the work surface. Arrange the assembly so the posts fit around the front of the seat/leg assembly and the bottom edge of the apron is flush with the front edges of the posts.

Drill a ¼"-diameter pilot hole through the inside of each leg and partway into the post. Drive a 3/8 × 21/2" lag screw and washer through each hole, but do not tighten completely (photo 5). Remove the braces. Position the back so the low back brace is between the legs and the slats are resting against the front of the arm cleat. Clamp the back to the seat support with a C-clamp, making sure the low brace top edge is flush with the tops of the legs.

Tighten the lag screws at the post/leg joints. Then, add a second lag screw at each joint. Drill three evenly spaced pilot holes near the top edge of the arm cleat and drive 1½" deck screws through the holes and into the back slats (photo 6). Drive 3" deck screws through the legs and into the ends of the low back brace.


Cut or buy ¼"-thick, 3/8"-diameter cedar wood plugs and glue them into visible counterbores (photo 7). After the glue dries, sand the plugs even with the surrounding surface. Finish-sand all exposed surfaces with 120-grit sandpaper. Finish the chair as desired; we simply applied a coat of clear wood sealer.

Slatted Garden Bench

Casual seating is a welcome addition to any outdoor setting. This lovely garden bench sits comfortably around the borders of any porch, patio, or deck. With a compact footprint, it creates a pleasant resting spot for up to three adults without taking up a lot of space. Station it near your home's rear entry for a convenient place to remove shoes or set down grocery bags while you unlock the door.

The straightforward, slatted design of this bench lends itself to accessorizing. Station a rustic cedar planter next to the bench for a lovely effect. Or, add a framed lattice trellis to one side of the bench to cut down on wind and direct sun. You can apply exterior stain or a clear wood sealer with UV protectant to keep the bench looking fresh and new. Or, leave it unfinished and let it weather naturally to a silvery hue.

Materials [??]

1 2 × 8" × 6 ft. cedar board
4 2 × 2" × 10 ft. cedar boards
1 2 × 4" × 6 ft. cedar board
1 2 × 6" × 10 ft. cedar board
1 2 × 2" × 6 ft. cedar board
1 1 × 4" × 12 ft. cedar board Moisture-resistant glue Wood sealer or stain Deck screws (1½", 2½")


Excerpted from "The Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc..
Excerpted by permission of The Quarto Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction, 6,
Side-by-Side Patio Chair, 10,
Classic Adirondack Chair, 16,
Slatted Garden Bench, 22,
Knockdown Garden Bench, 26,
Sling-Back Adirondack Chair, 32,
Porch Swing, 38,
Porch Swing Stand, 46,
Recyclables Bench, 52,
Luxury Sun Lounger, 58,
Trellis Seat, 66,
Trestle Table and Benches, 72,
Cedar Patio Table, 80,
Teahouse Table Set, 84,
Folding Table, 92,
Occasional Table, 96,
Children's Picnic Table, 100,
Traditional Picnic Table, 104,
Patio Prep Cart, 108,
Pitmaster's Locker, 114,
Timberframe Sandbox, 118,
Compost Bin, 124,
Freestanding Arbor, 128,
High-low Potting Bench, 134,
Trellis Planter, 138,
Raised Bed with Removable Trellis, 144,
Versailles Planter, 148,
Jumbo Cold Frame, 152,
Pagoda Lantern, 158,
Firewood Shelter, 164,
Shelter with Swing, 168,
Four-Post Patio Pergola, 178,
Conversions, 204,
Credits/Resources, 205,
Index, 206,

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