Desk Chairs #1: Have a seat and let me tell you a story

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Blog entry by EarlS posted 12-10-2017 01:53 PM 1094 reads 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Desk Chairs series Part 2: Chair Legs and the Leg Lamp Major Award »

Chair – a seat with a back on which one person sits, typically having four legs.

Since Adam and Eve wandered around the Garden of Eden, humans have needed something to sit on other than the ground. To my mind, chairs evolved from rocks, logs, stumps, or whatever happened to be available into something with legs and a seat that was more functional, a stool. From there, some bright person discovered that the back legs could be lengthened and the chair was born. Everything since then has been refining on the basic definition of a chair.

For a wood worker that wants to build a chair, in the simplest terms, a chair is 4 legs with a back, easy right? Sure if you want a very upright, not terribly comfortable or visually appealing chair. Which leads to my current project. After building 3 desks over the past several months I need to make chairs for them. Since I’ve never built a chair, I chose to purchase the FWW – Kevin Rodel Side Chair plans. Two of the desks are based on his work so it makes sense to stay with a winner.

The plans arrived in the typical format, a short 3-4 page informative story with short, cryptic paragraphs hinting at an inferred work process. There was also a set of plans, on a single page “E” size drawing (36×48). A full size detail of the back leg was along one side and a series of views with comments and dimensions scattered throughout.

Things looked a lot more complicated than I expected. I guess that is why the skill level for this project was listed as “Advanced”. After reading and re-reading LJ’s Grampa Doodie’s excellent blog on building this same chair, as well as many other project postings on LJ I realized two things.

First and probably most important: LJ is more than just a place to show off your latest project. It is an excellent resource full of insightful experience and lessons as well as providing many different approaches to solve similar problems. It is really the sum of all of the knowledge and experience of all of the contributors. As such, I feel that it is my responsibility to give as much as I take.

Second – I probably should make a SketchUp model of the chair so I get all of the details correct. Making the SketchUp model also reminded me that I need to contribute to that community as well.

As you can see, the back details and cross braces are not on the model. With three different styles I will need to work out the appropriate look for each one. For now, the focus will be on the basic frame, front and back legs and the seat rails.

Because I’m on the steep end of the learning curve I decided to make a test chair following the plans as closely as possible as well as the 3 desk chairs. The legs will be the main topic of discussion in the next chapter.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

3 comments so far

View JimYoung's profile


407 posts in 2663 days

#1 posted 12-10-2017 02:35 PM

Looks like a good approach, I look forward to learning from your experience.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View pottz's profile


16776 posts in 2060 days

#2 posted 12-10-2017 05:36 PM

love your work earl looking forward to following you on this one.have fun.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View WhattheChuck's profile


455 posts in 4636 days

#3 posted 12-10-2017 07:00 PM

Looks cool, Earl. I’m watching!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

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