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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Backyard Patio: Tree stump to Day Bed

You know what I realized as I set out to write this post? I completely skipped out on showing you how we turned the stump into a bench in the first place! So this post got twice as long, oops...If you aren't caught up on all the backyard going-ons, I've been trying to tidy up this project for a bit - you can read up in these posts.

So you've seen this picture in some of my updates:
Well as much as I wish that bench would have magically appeared on it's own, it didn't. We had to get real crafty on it, and it was no easy task. Here's what we had interrupting our deck:
Big ol' stump.  Whoever cut it down decided keeping the stump & building a deck around it was a better idea than removing it.  So we inherited it, and after brainstorming for weeks we got hooked on the idea of a large, outdoor daybed/couch type dealy.  The first hurtle was figuring out a seat.

(Now, if you like this idea but don't have your own stump, you can build this over any frame. Even two wine barrels would work. Or just four sturdy legs.Or two piles of pallets secured together to be the right height. Anything.)

After Ralph leveled out the bumps as best he could, (Sander with 80 grit paper!) it was time to devise a sturdy seat.  We played around with some spare wood, seeing what arrangement they needed to be to maximize space.  Plus we were trying to see if we needed to build some sort of frame, etc. Some boards didn't make the cut:
Well it turned out the simplest idea was the best, and building right on top of the stump seemed strongest. After cutting our boards to size and placing them on the stump, we flipped the whole thing over face down (keep the same order in mind!) & braced them with more spare wood.  I made sure to pre-drill some pilot holes so the deck screws wouldn't split the 2 x 2 braces in half.
These wood screws are the best, they come with that little star bit. I was skeptical, but they work amazingly better than a standard philips:
I used the same wood screws to screw down into the stump.  HERE IS ONE OF MY MISTAKES. When the platform we had just build was one piece, we set it on the stump. Amazingly, all was level! So I started drilling down into the stump, and as wood does, things twisted and turned creating a few uneven moments in our lives.  I suggest, if YOU are working on a stump, to look underneath and add some wood shims where needed. This would have solved everything. EVERYTHING!

But in the name of progress, I carried on, adding some custom legs until most things were level:
There was still the tiniest bit of unevenness in some areas, which is unnoticeable when you sit on it. This, helped me decide to make the chunkiest seat cushion on the planet.
Then I sealed the whole thing is the Spar Urethane from our bar project.
Now you are all caught up! It's time to get some arms on this puppy! I've said it before and said it again, sometimes you have to be flexible and let your project be your guide.  The original plan for arms & a backrest was the oh-so-popular Pipe & Flange construction. (Like these).  BUT!!! Do you know how expensive pipes can get? It's the flanges that are the worst! So the total, without lumber, for the pipes on this couch was $180.  I bought it, sat in the car in shock for a second, and then returned it. Yes, I was that horrible person in the return line with like 800 tiny pieces. If this was going to be some gorgeous shelf inside our home, OK - I'll spring for it. But this was to be armrests. Hidden by pillows. OUTSIDE. Not worth $180 in my book.

Our new plan, was to not be lazy and figure something out with the 2x4's we had on hand. This brings out cost down by like $170. Seriously down to like $10. 

I imagined & then designed this shape:
This, would be, an armrest, that also acts as a back brace. Now, it will make sense in a few photos, but it's on it's side here.  The bottom longest side matches the depth of our bench, and the height of the armrest is about 14" (front).  The top of the armrest is the same length as the bottom, minus the thickness of the backrest. The backrest is the piece that sticks up past the rest.
All pieces were cut with 45 degree angles.  I added wood glue, the corner clamp, and shot some nails in using my nail gun that I bought for our downstairs bathroom ceiling project.  Because I'm paranoid, I still shot some wood screws down into the 2x4's after. If you think yours will get heavy use, throw some "L" brackets on the interior of this puppy.
So you need two of these. Identically the same. Then you just place them on your surface, and measure the length you want the back pieces.  Start chopping your spare wood:
Once my pieces were cut, I laid the armrest / backrest on their backsides, and starting playing around with board spacing:
I used a spare 2 x 2 to evenly space the boards before I glued & nailed them in as well:
Once everything feels secure, stand it up. If things feel wobbly, lay it back down and reinforce with either more nails or some wood screws.  Everything can be painted afterwards.
Now it looks like a bench!  With this technique you can easily, and cheaply, add a back to many different surfaces. Upon closer inspection:
Since we had a mix of wood, old & new, redwood & pine, we decided paint was best. We used an exterior paint here, since this would be outdoors.  We used or paint sprayer that connects to the air compressor, but if you don't have that, consider painting your pieces before assembly, and touching up afterward.
You can see the left side is sticking up a bit, this is because one of my boards was acting squirrely and twisty, but I knew it would settle down in a bit. And it did! After lining the backrest into it's permanent spot, more deck screws went down the bottom sides of the armrests into the platform.  Then we staged for fun:
See that lovely giant cushion? Haha... well it got SUPER fluffy when I had it on it's side for the day, so we were forced to nap on it to get it back down to normal. What a pain....

No pillows:
 Pillows:



I joke about this area looking like a Southern Mexican restaurant, because it got super colorful on us. I guess neither Ralph nor myself can say no to color. With each project we had that moment of "what do we paint this?" and the answers were almost always something bright.  I'm amazed we got as much white in there as we did, but I think it really ties things together nicely & adds a sweet trim.

Ok so NOW it's our cantina patio I think....:
Now there are still little details to this zone I'm finishing, but for the most part I think the big stuff can be considered done!

Before:
After:

Oh, Happy first day of October!

-Jesse


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3 comments:

  1. Just happened across your blog googling wood look tile installs. Love this project - the finished look is amazing! It's one of those spaces you just want to *be* the moment you see it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. The better way to enjoy the beautiful summer weather, the sun and the views than sitting and relaxing in a daybed placed outdoors. I think a daybed is a better fit versus a typical outdoor bed design.
    4 Seat Daybed Lounger

    ReplyDelete
  3. That sounds like a great idea, I have never seen that done before. If you are able to paint with it and no other filters, then it must work great. Thanks for the info. visit my site

    ReplyDelete

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