Making a Solid Wood Chair For Children: Cut list

Here is what we are trying to make.

Finished Oak Child's Chair

Finished Oak Child

This is a three part post on making a solid wood child’s chair. The parts are:

  1. Making a Solid Wood Chair For Children: Cut list (This Post)
  2. Seat of a Child’s Chair.
  3. Putting it all together: A Child’s Chair

As Christmas is coming around this year, I am trying to step away from the Walmartification of America. My natural tendency is to go for large quantities of Walmart stuff. I am going to try to go for quality this year. I don’t want to give people one more piece of junk to fill up their house.

In my family, we draw names to pick gifts for siblings. I am making a wooden chair and table for their son.  I have a lot of oak around that is about 1″ thick, unplaned, so it will be the material.

The Pieces

As you can see, the design of the chair is relatively simple.
There are 4 upright pieces.

  1. 2 Front legs. These are just 10″x1 1/2″x7/8″ pieces of oak with the corners slightly rounded.
  2. 2 Back Legs. These are also 1 1/2″x7/8″, but they have a bend in them. More on them in a minute.

There are 4 pieces that support the seat, all 2″ wide and 3/4″ thick. These, with the upright pieces, form an 11″x11″ box.

  1. The front and back pieces are 9 1/4″ in length. This plus the two 7/8″ upright pieces form the 11″ front and back.
  2. The side pieces are 8″ in length. These similarly form the 11″ side when combined with the 1 1/2″ of the upright pieces.

The last two pieces are the cross piece on the back of the chair and the seat. The back piece was made from a board 5″ wide, 9 1/4″ long, and 3/4″ thick. The seat was made from a piece 12″ wide, 13″ long, and 7/8″ thick. Below, all of the pieces are shown except the seat. The back piece has not had the curve cut onto the top.

All the Pieces Except for the Seat

All the Pieces Except for the Seat

Making Everything But the Seat

Everything except the seat was relatively simple. The front legs and the pieces that support the seat are just straight plain pieces. Just make sure the ends are square. To estimate the angle that the seats were at I just measured some chairs that I have. The angle was 12.5 degrees. I came up with this layout.

Chair Leg Template

Chair Leg Template

To make the rounded part at the top, I just drew a circle 1 1/2 inches in diameter. If I were to do this again, I would make the top part 11 inches long. As you can see, it is only 9″ long in the picture. The bottom part is 10 7/8″. 10″ matches the length of the front legs, and another 7/8″ gives room for the seat to fit on top. I made a pattern out of 1/4″ plywood. This let me get both legs exactly the same. After drawing the pattern on an oak board, I cut them out and smoothed them. I cut three legs because I was thinking of making more chairs, hopefully you will only need two.

Cutting out Legs.

Cutting out Legs.

To cut the back piece, traced out a circle on the top of the chair. You can see this piece with a circle outline on the top in the picture of all the pieces above, it being the widest piece.  The circle was 11″ in diameter. The cheap way to do this is get some string and tie it onto a pencil near the graphite end. Measure out your 11″ of string perpendicular top of the board, and then hold it down as you swing the pencil around. Cut it a little outside the line that you drew and then smooth it out with a file or a sander.

Now you need to complete the pieces that support the seat.  Put pocket holes in each end of all the pieces.  I use a Kreg jig and love it.  Here is the updated one they sell.

Pocket Holes

Pocket Holes

When you attach the seat, you have to allow for some give in it for seasonal expansion due to changes in moisture levels. I used figure 8 tabletop fasteners. You have to get a groove 1/8″ deep where they go. You can use a drill bit or chisel for this, but I used a router. I wanted to make sure that the figure 8 pieces had plenty of room to pivot. I attached it on the front and back rail on each side. Here is a picture with the grooves on the 9 1/4″ pieces.

Figure 8 Fastener with Back Support

Figure 8 Fastener with Back Support

Congrats. You have now made all the pieces beside the seat. Off to the seat

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6 Responses to “Making a Solid Wood Chair For Children: Cut list”


  1. 1 Ildar June 30, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Excellent. I also love anything to do my hands. And you basically what instruments? Makita, Bosh?
    I’m from Russia, and in English, I say bad, so strictly not judge:)

  2. 2 Gabriel December 12, 2012 at 10:15 am

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