Canvas Folding Chairs

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Project by grfrazee posted 08-08-2012 01:40 AM 7303 views 32 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made these chairs by mostly cloning the design of a chair my Dad has, with a couple slight variations. I made the lap joints completely lapped (they were only about half-lapped and screwed in the original) and had to modify the lower stretcher to allow the chair to fold.

They’re maple, stained with a brown water-based stain that I can’t remember the name of (Antique or Amish something I think) and finished with semi-gloss acrylic. Hardware is brass, and it was probably as much or more expensive as the wood to build the chairs. The canvas I ordered online and sewed the white border on. I still have yet to attach rivets to the canvas corners, but I should do that soon since they’re getting a little frayed. The canvas is about 56” long by 17” wide, folded over 6” on each end. I put a fluffy padded piece of fabric under the fold that goes in the seat to help protect the wood and to give a bit of cushion as well.

On this project I discovered that trying to use an impact driver on brass screws is a bad idea (they twist right off!), so now I know to pre-screw with steel screws to tap the threads. Also, I got a little aggressive on the sanding around the lap joints, so they’re not as seamless as I would like. I had to put Loktite on the brass sex-screws to keep them from unscrewing as well.

My girlfriend uses hers for reading, and I find that mine works wonderfully for sitting in front of the TV playing video games. Go figure.

I have a SketchUp model too.


9 comments so far

View rdjack21's profile


268 posts in 3983 days

#1 posted 08-08-2012 04:59 AM

Really nice chairs they look to be really comfortable. I went ahead and downloaded the SketchUp model because well I want to make some as well.

-- --- Richard Jackson

View Ken90712's profile


17984 posts in 4245 days

#2 posted 08-08-2012 08:00 AM

Great job, these are really nice….. Your finish looks perfect…. A+++++++

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 4123 days

#3 posted 08-08-2012 12:30 PM

Very nice, great job!!

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4633 days

#4 posted 08-08-2012 12:40 PM

They look great and and comfy too.


View balidoug's profile


523 posts in 3534 days

#5 posted 08-08-2012 01:19 PM

Great stuff. Thanks.

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

515 posts in 3391 days

#6 posted 08-08-2012 01:58 PM

Those look great. And they are super comfy. I know because I’ve built a few myself. Actually had some time and some clear yellow pine on hand and have more than a dozen (unassembled) stacked in my basement. Thought I might sell them one day but I’ll probably just give them away. I saw them at a craft show selling for $29. (probably made in china) Most people don’t know by the pics that they’re pivoting rockers.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 3195 days

#7 posted 08-08-2012 02:34 PM

@rdjack21 – Please let me know how they turn out. When I get back from work, I’ll edit the post with the amount of canvas needed, if you need it.

@Jim – Did the chairs you saw have nice canvas on them or the cheaper, woven nylon-type stuff? I have a friend who has one like that for a patio chair, and the quality just isn’t there. There’s no way I’d be able to sell these for $29 – the brass hardware cost more than that! I think they ended up being in the neighborhood of $60-80 per chair in materials. Granted, buying in bulk would cut that down quite a bit.

@everyone else – Thanks for the compliments!


View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4704 days

#8 posted 08-08-2012 09:05 PM

these are real nice. been thinking about making something similar, this one is a nice design

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

515 posts in 3391 days

#9 posted 08-25-2012 02:53 PM

Sorry for the late answer. Of course you couldn’t sell them for $29. That’s why I assumed they were made in China. I don’t remember what type of fabric was used but they actually even had a pillow sewn on the top. Not sure if they used nylon bushings through the holes and around the pins and bolts (as I did). I certainly wasn’t being critical. Your chairs look great. I especially like the color and white border. I would’ve put a $80 or 100 dollar value on mine. I don’t know how even the chinese could make and sell them for $29. You can’t even buy the wood for that.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

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