Step 6: Assembly and Final Touches

I hope you're getting excited, because we're really getting close now. We're just a little ways away from getting to see one of the most amazing chairs ever!

The first part of the assembly is to attach the dowels to the two outermost pieces of the chair. You do this by choosing one seat piece and one side piece. You will then spread some glue evenly around in the holes drilled in both pieces and stick your four dowels in the four holes. You want them to be nice and flush with the outside edge of the piece. I do this and then slide another corresponding piece on the other end of the dowel without any glue to hold it level while it dries. Use a square to make sure your dowels are coming out of the holes at right angles. 

Once the glue has dried, begin assembly by removing the unglued pieces from the dowels and lay the two doweled pieces on your work surface with the dowels pointing up. Orient them so that the seat end hole and the top hole on the long piece are right next to each other with the short side of the seat piece touching the longer piece. This explanation might be a little awkward, so refer to the pictures for a clearer representation. I use spacers in between layers of wood so that I don't get the pieces too tightly packed together. This also gives the wood a little room to shrink and swell (as wood tends to do) without doing damage to the chair. If you push the pieces too tightly together, the chair will either be very hard or impossible to open and close because of all the friction between the pieces. I use spacers made of vinyl printing paper. The thickness is about the thickness of two regular sheets of paper, but because they are made of vinyl, they are very durable and can be used over and over again.

For the next layer you will stack it the opposite of the first layer. The middle seat hole always goes on the same dowel, but the end hole will alternate from left to right dowel. Always put the next seat piece on so that the angled ends form a point with the layer beneath when looked at from above. If it looks like /||\ you are doing it right, if it looks like |\/|, your are doing it wrong. See picture for clarity on this step. Keep doing this - layer - spacer - opposite layer - spacer - layer......etc until you have all 34 pieces stacked up together. Once you have them all on, the two outermost layers should be oriented in the same way. If they are opposite, you either have two layers together facing the same way or you need to look for your lost pieces.

The next thing to do is mark the dowel so that it can be cut flush with the top layer. Just use a pencil or blade to make this mark. Then remove the top layer so the mark you just made is sticking out about 3/4" from the second to the top layer and cut the dowel at this mark using a hacksaw or some other small hand saw. If it's not perfectly flush, don't worry, because we can sand it once the top layer has been glued in place. Now spread glue in all the holes of the top layer pieces and place it back on the dowels and let the glue dry.

Once the glue has had sufficient amount of time to dry, cut the brace pieces to length. We haven't cut them yet, because the width of the chair can vary slightly based on actual width of individual pieces and how tightly we have pressed the pieces together. Lay the chair down with the spacers kept in place as much as possible so that it is resting flat on the work surface and measure across the outermost top and bottom of the side pieces. Again, the picture will probably help make this much more clear. I like to cut and screw on two pieces and then flip the whole thing over and cut and screw the final pieces. (That's right! I said FINAL PIECES! We're so close now....) This step is done with a scrap flat piece of wood under the side pieces I will be screwing the brace to. This makes gaps between the brace and side pieces much less likely and keeps the pieces from moving around while you are drilling and screwing. Start by drilling holes of appropriate size for the screws your are using (slightly smaller than the screw diameter) through the unstained side of the brace into the outermost side pieces keeping the brace flush with the ends of the side pieces. So, just two holes at this point. Then put a screw in each hole to hold the brace in place for the rest of your drilling and screwing. I then go across and first drill countersink holes in the brace at the center point of each side piece (I always just eyeball this instead of doing precise measurements and have always been happy with the outcome). Once all of those are made, I will drill the pilot holes for the screws in  the center of the countersink hole, being careful not to go so deep that I come right out the other side of the side pieces. Then I will screw the screws into the holes I made for them, remove the two outer screws, drill countersink holes for the outer screws and put the screws in place. Do this at the top and bottom of both sides and the chair is now a chair.

Go ahead and open it up, you know you want to! Awesome!!

Now we just have to put the finishing touches on. That would be sanding and staining the sides of the braces that were not yet stained and putting polyurethane on to match the rest of the chair. You will also need to do a little sanding on the ends of the dowels so they are flush with the outside of the chair. I like to put a little masking tape on the seat and side pieces before I do this so that I don't ruin the finish with the sanding. Use a fine grain sand paper (150 grit or so) and work very carefully even with the tape in place.

And there you have it.

<p>Nice 'ible, to add a backrest, extend the armrest, drill a hole in each one to take a dowel peg, use a board about three times the width of your armrest, drill a hole each end, big enough to push the board on, use the pegs to pin it in place. To make the chair more stable fore &amp; aft, just make the bottom bars an inch or so longer.</p>
<p>Nice 'ible, to put a simple back on the chair you could just put a longer armrest on it with a wide board with a pair of holes to match the armrests, drill a hole each end of the armrest to take a small dowel peg. You could also extend the base bars a half inch proud of the uprights, which will help with the fore and aft stablility.</p>
Well done! very nice design and idea :) More of that :)
Nice project, well done and described. <br>And I like your work area!
A lot of brainpower went into this, until you figured the chair out. That is really an achievement. Then, you manufactured the thing very well, and to boot, you created a very complete instructable. Wonderful. <br>PS: Just to bother (and to challenge) your remarkable intelligence: how would you imagine a back seat could be added to this? (I guess chairs like these would look great on a country house dining room... just a thought)
Thanks so much for checking out my instructable and for saying such nice things about it. <br> <br>Ever since I started making these chairs last year, I have been wondering how I could put a back on these things. I've never tried very hard to figure it out, to be honest. I have a couple of ideas and with you asking the question, I will now have to try to answer it for myself. <br> <br>The biggest obstacle I have faced with it is how to have it be part of the chair (not a separate piece that could get lost or misplaced) that will still allow the chair to fold up to a nice compact package. Maybe it will have to be separate, but somehow attach to the chair while it's folded... I just don't know.... <br> <br>I'll work on something and put up a second instructable on how to do it once I have a decent solution.
I can see a way to add a back and fold - with a second V shape but it wouldn't really be very strong and it would increase the height of the folded chair significantly. <br> <br>A cloth back on two sliding rods would work but not really with the aesthetics of the chair. <br> <br>Great job, won't be able to get the idea of putting a back on this out of my head all day now... Shouldn't have read the comments...
its very nice idea Gritter your nice consept we woulb be make in india kindly shre the pdf on mahesh.gan.143@gmail.com
Grammar police: modifiers are not allowed with unique. Unique is unique. Sorry.
Nice project. My daughter is thinking about using this for her 4H project. She has space limitations. What size cube will your chair fit in i.e. length x width x height? <br>
That would be a great idea! I hope she does it. <br> <br>The cube would be 21 1/4&quot; h x 24&quot; w x 14&quot; d for the open chair and the closed chair cube would be 37 1/4&quot; h x 14&quot; w x 4&quot; d. <br> <br>I really hope she makes it and please post some pics here when she does. I'm sure everyone would love to see it!
Wonderful chair Ifeel very condifient I could build it from your great instructions. Don't you need to use a oil based finish instead of a water based finish on top of an oil based stain?
Thanks so much for the kind comment! <br> <br>I'm not sure what all the rules are for stuff like that to be honest with you. I'm mostly self taught and learn by trial and error. I've never had any trouble with the stain or the polyurethane by using this method and have done the exact same thing with these chairs, tables that I have made, a desk, my kitchen cabinets, clothes drying racks that I make, one beast of a fish tank stand, etc. I'm sure there are other things as well, but you get the idea. <br> <br>If anyone reading through these comments can help us out, it sure would be appreciated if you left a comment to help us answer this. <br> <br> <br> <br>
This is awesome, it would also make a nice table to go with my folding chair (see my 'ible). I love how it folds up so flat! My next project! Thanks for sharing! Triumphman
I made one of these out of walnut for the guy that gave me the walnut and oak (it was my way of saying thanks for all the great looking wood). He uses it as a table more than he uses it for a chair. <br> <br>Nice work on your folding chair, I can't tell you how many times I have looked at it. I think its really amazing!
Much appreciated!
When you do get around to making one of these, let me know how it turns out and post some pics if possible. Let me know if you have any questions about changing size or anything. The math can get a little goofy (at least for a guy like me!) <br> <br>Thanks!
i like your able. i also think cutting to length and angle before ripping would save potentially 9 cuts per board saving setup time as well as cut time. also instead of alternate woods perhaps alternate stains?
I see what you guys are talking about with this step. On top of saving time, it would also have the advantage of making the pieces that I'm ripping much easier to handle on the table and more importantly, on the out-feed. Thank you!
Maybe a silly question, but why rip before you cut to size and drill holes? <br>Wouldn't it be easier/more precise if you cut them into strips later in the process?
I never considered doing it that way. And I can't think of a way to get more precision with the tools that I have available to me or even with a larger array of tools, but I'm always open to any suggestions that would shorten the length of time for and make a build easier, though. <br> What would make the method you are suggesting more precise? Would you suggest drilling the holes before the rip or just cut my lengths? If you could lay out your suggestion more clearly, maybe a quick step by step, I will try it on my next build and let you know how things go.
I've never built anything like this so I have no idea, really - it's just a random thought from an observer. <br>I would probably rip in the end of the process (after step 4). <br> <br>It just seems that you would always get 4 sets of virtually identical pieces*, and reduce the cuts/holes you need to make by 75% (the downside is that the ripping would take more time, and you might ruin a nearly completed piece). <br> <br>*) I guess this doesn't matter much if you have proper jigs for everything, but maybe it might take less time.
Ok, now I see where you're going with that. I really like your thinking. That WOULD be a huge time saver. Even if the rip step takes a little longer, the rest of it would have saved so much time that it would be worth it. <br> <br>Drilling like that would require a drill press or something with much more travel than I have on that router setup. I don't have a drill press but I'll have to see if I can come up with something.... <br> <br>Thanks for that!
It's supposed to fold exactly like that, actually. I used to have one of these (got it from an aunt). Great job, man!
This is a basic medieval &quot;X&quot; chair. Very stable and can hodl quite a bit of weight no matter what the size. Here is a web site with more information: http://thomasguild.blogspot.com/2011/12/medieval-folding-chairs.html <br>
I really like the sedia tenaglia. I think I'll have to try to build one of those at some point! <br> <br>Thanks for the great link too. It's really worth checking out.
Nice project. The base seems a bit small. Maybe the stability of the chair is not good.
I thought that might be an issue as well when I first started making the chair. The original prototype had a slightly smaller base and I enlarged it in the final version of the chair. Both the original and the final version are remarkably stable though. I started building these about a year ago, and stability has never once come up as an issue. <br> <br>Still, if someone wanted to make the chair base a bit wider, they could simply add a couple of inches to the side pieces and leave all holes and other pieces the same and it would turn out just fine. The seat height would be a bit higher, but I don't think that would be an issue for most people as the 17 1/2&quot; seat height is on the low side of standard seat height range.
I can tell you from personal experience the stability is excellent.
Sweet! Ever think about mixing the oak with the black walnut, every other piece. That would look cool!
I actually have plans do do something like that. I have a ton of scraps left over from previous chairs that I plan to make into one crazy looking chair! I'll update with pics if/when I get around to it.
Things like this are what make me remember why I want to buy a table saw and miter saw. <br> <br>Awesome!
Nice job, really like it!
that is really cool !
Thanks so much. It was really fun coming up with the plans to make this and I even got to rediscover some of that &quot;fancy book learnin' &quot; math to get the angles and lengths right. They're a really fun project.

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Bio: Making anything keeps me happy. I like making soap, canning food using vegetables we have grown in our garden (pickles, pasta sauce, jelly, relishes, pesto ... More »
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