Ikea for 2x4s: Building gorgeous furniture out of unfinished lumber

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i love that!

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A quick googling suggests that a 12 foot long 2x4 would weigh 20 pounds. Some of those tables must be over 200 pounds

I like the idea of simple furniture designs that can be made with 2x4s and hand tools, but you need to be fond of the Brutalist school of art. Most of those projects look like you would need a fork lift to move them.


or like… a dolly


A small mob of these fine fellows.


The autoprogettazione designs use metric lumber, mostly 2.5 x 5 cm sticks. These are close to actually being 1 by 2 inches, whereas 1 by 2’s you get in the US are .75 by 1.5. I tried to make some of this furniture with American 1 by 2’s and found it to be a bit wobbly.


Pure propaganda from a splinter group.


Surely your American 1" x 2" is what in the UK we would call 1x2 par? That is, 1 inch by 2 inch unfinished, which is then Planed All Round to get a smooth finish.

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Maybe! I don’t know anything about lumber sizes in Europe, I just know the lumber called out on Enzo Mari’s plans is measured in cm, and is referred to as being readily available, stock sizes. Maybe it’s an Italian thing?

Love this. I’ve been building this way for decades, as befits my skill level. But I call the finished pieces BUFFs: Big, Ugly Functional Furniture. Sanding recommended but completely optional.


My wife and I made all the furniture for our wedding out of 2x4s. The rental company wanted something like $250 per picnic table for one afternoon. So we bought a miter saw, one of those little jigs for pocket holes, a box of screws and a bottle of glue and got to work. We built 3 ea 8’x3’ tables, 3 ea 6’x4’ tables, benches for all, and a bar complete with a liquor rail and an ice bin. Including the miter saw we spent way less than a thousand dollars and sold enough tables on CL to cover all the costs. Now my in-laws have a huge outdoor bar, a picnic table and benches, and we have a compound miter saw for what was really just three weekends of hanging outside playing with power tools.


My dad made a work bench from old pallets. Sturdy like a frontier woman.

Also - we should probably never mention or promote Ikea on BB again. At least not in a positive light after I found out how they set up the company to pay basically no taxes.


Some of these things are way over-designed. Some, improperly designed. It is possible to make very sturdy furnishings from 2x2s and plywood if you know what you’re doing.


That sounds right. A 2x4 board is actually 1-1/2" x 3-1/2", thanks to the drying and planing process.

Does the UK use metric or not? Half the time it seems like metric, half the time it’s imperial, and half the time you’re using made up measurements like “stone.”

@Mister44, I’ve made a lot of stuff out of pallets now. It’s a mixed bag. I’ve found pallets that contained teak and purpleheart, and made a cool patio table out of the teak pallet. It was later smashed by a tree branch. Also built a treehouse for my kids out of pallets, but it only lasted a few years before I had to tear it down and throw it away. The wood is typically the lowest quality pine or red oak, and is often infested with insects. In several cases I found pallets with strong chemical smells that were a little daunting.

Pallet wood is great if you have no money and your time isn’t worth anything. Beyond that, I recommend getting the right material for the job at hand. Some people near here have invested a LOT of time and effort in very long pallet fences, and I suspect they will really regret that in a few years when the pallets are rotted through and need to be disposed of.


A jig saw, a radial saw, and an impact drill makes everything easy. This isn’t furniture, but a gate I built in a weekend.

The toughest part was the holes for the ten foot treated beams, since it was rocky soil.

Also a pergola I built from treated lumber. With a stain applied every other year, I like how treated lumber looks.

(God I hate the color of that house)


Really now.

Was it that hard.


…what if we used more power?


Maybe he’s a kid in another universe playing minecraft, and the level of abstraction that our world manifests in his makes mitering conceptually impossible.


The size has been reduced at least a couple of times over the years. I have some 2x4 studs removed from our house, which was built in the 1940s. They measure 1-3/4" x 3-3/4". That doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but it means the cross-sectional area is 25% larger than current 2x4s.

[quote=“TheirFeldspars, post:14, topic:73239, full:true”]
Some of these things are way over-designed… It is possible to make very sturdy furnishings from 2x2s and plywood if you know what you’re doing.[/quote]

True. Gusset joints are your friend - your ugly and inflexible friend, but the one you can always rely on.

I take your point, but I have to put in a word for IKEA’s “As-Is” section, which is a great source for cheap panels, shelving, and odds and ends of solid lumber. I scored a few sets of bed slats (mattress supports) one time - nice, well-seasoned, straight-grained 1x3s in some nondescript hardwood. They served well for utility shelves, a wine rack in the basement, walkways between the joists in the attic, etc. etc. Like pallet wood, but clean and no disassembly required.