Simple basic furniture that is functional and pleasing to the eye is not hard at all to make. It is also rock solid compared to the junk commonly sold in furniture stores these days. The few furniture making companies that do produce anything worth buying don’t sell it cheap – and I don’t blame them either. So what options do you have if you don’t want the cheaply made over priced crap that most stores peddle or if you wan’t but can’t afford the quality made more expensive stuff?
Simply make it yourself – that’s what. Lowe’s and other similar big box stores have everything you need to make all your own furniture. The simplest and one of my favorite styles is crate style furniture. This stuff has been around a long time and has been built and sold by several different companies – and a few even today. You can build your very own version using basic construction lumber, deck screws and lag bolts.
It will take you less than a day and under $50.00 per piece in materials to make almost anything you need for your home. You can build your own bed, coffee table, dining table, chairs, sofa, love seat, chest or drawers along with storage chests, benches and anything else you might need or want. The only tools you really need are a hand saw and a power screw driver/drill and a ratchet set. If you have it or can afford the few bucks it takes to get a circular saw and a jig saw and random orbital sander will make it quicker and easier work – but you can make it all with simple hand tools and basic materials.
You can get the height from measuring several chairs that you find to be at a comfortable height, and the same thing with the width. Want it a few inches wider, or lower or higher? No problem – it’s your own custom piece of furniture so make it what ever width and height you like. Just keep in mind door dimensions you may have to move it through – otherwise have at it. To attach the pieces together pre-drill holes for lag bolts and attach each point with two lag bolts. Be careful not to over tighten the bolts or you will split the wood. If you plan on never taking the thing apart again you can also glue it with wood glue before you tighten the bolts.
The seat bottoms and backs can be plywood with 2 x supports – just glue and screw them together using wood glue and deck screws. Once everything is together let the sanding begin. Cut a small piece of 2×4 and wrap a piece of sandpaper around it to use as a sanding block – or use a random orbital sander to make it faster and easier – though you can certainly do it by hand easy enough too. When its ready take a cloth that is slightly damp and wipe the whole thing down, then stain it. I like golden oak – but you can use what ever floats your boat. Put a couple of coats on and let it sit.
When it is ready – usually a a couple of days before it stops stinking, if its oil based anyway, then you can put cushions on it. If you want to go the really cheap route get a couple of old pillows and cover them with fabric, and use safety pins to secure it on the bottom. You can also get big oversized cushions for a few bucks from the big box tore too. You can order foam cushions if you want to spend the money and sew your own covers, cover in fabric with pins or have covers made to fit by someone else too. Nice cushions and covers aren’t cheap – but they are a hell of a lot cheaper than crap furniture from a store – and they are nice.
Eventually I will post some photos of the first couple of chairs I made – which are now about 15 years old? I think… and they are still as solid as they were the day I made them even though they have been severely abused for years. The point is you can do it yourself if you want to and you can save a ton of money doing so. Quality store bought furniture is very nice – and it is very expensive. Typical store furniture is not cheap in price but more often than not it is cheaply made with cheap crap materials – staples and press wood or particle board that is mass produced and pretty enough to get people to buy. Then soon after they do joints become loose, fabric detaches and springs let go all to often with just normal everyday use.
Make your own stuff – save your money, eliminate your debts. Then later if you do want something a bit fancier then go ahead and buy it. After all you will be able to afford it since you didn’t finance the over priced crap on a multi year sleazy pay program or credit card.