Posts Tagged 'Oak Chair'

Seat of a child’s Chair

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
  2. Seat of a Child’s Chair. (This post)
  3. Putting it all together: A Child’s Chair

Here we are going to talk about making a seat for a child’s chair. To keep things simple, I am showing a drawing of the seat I made.

Seat of Child's Chair, Google Sketch

Seat of Child

Compare this to what I drew on the piece of wood that I made the seat out of.

Picture of the outline of the seat, on wood

Picture of the outline of the seat, on wood

To draw the curve that makes the front of the seat, I used a 22 inch piece of string. The circle went 1 1/2 inches beyond the front line of the chair, resulting in an overall length of 13″. I held the string down with my thumb the 22″-13″=9″ inches beyond the back of the chair piece on a scrap of wood. I drew the arc across the front and drew in the front corners a little softer, as shown in figure 2.Please give me comments if any of this is not clear.

Making the Cuts

In order to make things as easy as possible, I cut the notches out of the back for the rear legs first. This was because I had a square edge on both sides to work with. I just used a table saw with the piece on end and the say raised to the right height. If you are not sure about the height, go with a smaller cut and finish it with a handsaw.

Next, you make the angled cuts on the side of the chair. I used a miter saw, adjusting the angle until I as aligned properly. Remember, it is easy to take off a bit more wood. Replacing removed wood is tough. You can use a circular saw also, or even a jigsaw. Just clamp it down and follow the line, leaving yourself a little to sand

Last of all I used a jigsaw to cut around the front. I smoothed and evened this edge with a sander after I was done.

The Indention and Finishing

If you look on the internet, you can find some neat jigs that use a router to carve out the indention for the bum. I went with a simpler route. After placing the chair on a bench and having my 4 year old sit on it, I traced around his bum. I went out to the shop and went to work with the sander with very coarse sandpaper. I used scrapers to also clean it out. When it looked to be about the right shape, I moved to finer sandpaper and got it relatively smooth. Be sure and save the final sanding for after you smooth the edges of the seat.

Routers with a round over bit are the choice to give the edge of the chair a nice feel. Just go around the whole perimeter of the top with a 3/8″ round over bit, with the exception of the slots where the rear legs of the chair go. Lower the router bit so you are taking off a lot less material (about 3/16″) and go around the bottom. Use some fine grit sandpaper and give it one final go over and it is ready.

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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

Putting it all together: A Child’s Chair

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
  2. Seat of a Child’s Chair.
  3. Putting it all together: A Child’s Chair. (This Post)

Now that we have all of the pieces ready, it is time for assembly. First, create each side of the chair using the pocket hole screws that we previously drilled for. The cross pieces should be 8″ in length. Align them with the inside edge of the chair, with the to 10 inches up on both sides. I used a clamp to hold everything in place while I was putting in the screws. Put in the pocket hole screws. If don’t have self tapping screws that you are confident of, pre-drill the holes, making sure not to drill through the legs.

After you attach the front leg to the back leg on each side, attach the sides together using the front and back supports. While you are attaching these, you need to attach the back support using the glue and biscuits.  You can see from the picture I was a little generous with the glue.  On an updated project, I used a child’s cheapo paintbrush for the glue, and it worked great.  Again, be sure to make sure everything is lined up and put in the screws. If you desire extra strength for this joint, be sure to put a dab of glue in. I did the pocket hole joints without glue and they seemed strong enough, but who knows what some creative child will do to it.

Mostly Assembled

Mostly Assembled

Next, I drilled the holes for my figure 8 fasteners. I used a pencil to mark where the hole should be, as I held the figure 8 fastener on top, and then drilled them. Place the seat upside down on another chair, with the back facing out. Put the already assembled piece on top of it. I then centered it by eye. I figured it would be shifting seasonally, so having them at a precise location was less important.  I marked the places where I would need to drill based on the figure 8 fasteners, and then removed the frame. To make sure that I didn’t drill through the seat, I put tape on the drill bit 5/8″ up, and was very careful. Make sure you use screws that are short enough, and attach the seat.

You are now done except for staining and finishing. As you can see, I stained before I attached the seat. If you are going to use glue stain after you glue it. I used Red Mahogany Miniwax stain.

I used boiled linseed oil for the finish. I decide to use an oil because it would soak into the wood. This means that kids aren’t going to chip it off through wear, and that it will be easy to recoat.

As far as lessons learned, I would have positioned the back rest crosspiece a little higher (2″ or so)if I could do it again, and might have made the vertical pieces on the back extend higher (2″ or so).

Good luck, and please ask any questions.