Introduction: Folding Cedar Lawn Chair

I just uploaded this video on YouTube on how to make this Cedar chair. Here's some more detailed instructions if you would like to build it. It's a pretty easy project.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Lumber

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I chose Cedar for this project, it's a great outdoor wood that holds up well.

Step 2: Cut List for the Project

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I picked out 3 pieces 8' x 3 1/2" x 1" and 1 piece 8' x 5 1/2" x 1 1/4" Cedar.

The 8' x 3 1/2" piece needs to be ripped down to 1 1/2" on the table saw. The 8' x 5 1/2" x 1 1/4" needs to be ripped down to 1" on the table saw.

After you have them down to width, they need to be cut to length with a chop saw.

You will need:

(11) 1 1/2" x 1" x 6"

(2) 1 1/2" x 1" x 40"

(2) 5 1/2" x 1" x 24"

(2) 1 1/2" x 1" x 2"

(8) 1 1/2" x 1" x 12"

(8) 1 1/2" x 1" x 27 1 /2"

Step 3: Hardware

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You need a total of 8' of threaded rod #8

8 #8 washers

8 #8 nuts

8 #8 cap nuts

Step 4: Drilling the Holes

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You need to dill holes in all the pieces, use a drill press. Setup a stop block, and fence.

The 6" and 27 1/2" the holes need to 3/4" in from the ends on both ends.

12" pieces need holes 3/4" from one end and 2 1/8" from the other.

The 40" pieces need holes drilled 3/4" in from one end, and 13 1/2" from the other end.

The 24" pieces need holes drilled 3/4" in from the top, and 10" in on the same the end.

Step 5: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

You can put the first threaded rod in by hand, this is the top of the back. The easiest way to put in the other rods, is to hook them into a drill. They will feed themselves in, and makes this part of the assembly very easy. After the rods come out the other side, put the washer and two nuts on each piece. Use a hacksaw to cut off the excess rod. Put the remaining washers and nuts on. The final step in assembly is to install the stop blocks, these are the 2" pieces. On the top of the 24" pieces (rear legs), come in 10" and glue the stop blocks. When the chair is open the 27 1/2" pieces will rest on these.

Step 6: Applying a Finish

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Choose a durable finish, I used General Finishes Arm-R-Seal, and applied it with a brush.

Step 7: Time to Enjoy

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Grab a nice tall glass of your favorite beverage, and enjoy summer!!


FN64 made it! (author)2015-05-28

Nice job Carl.. I've made many of these and sold them all over eastern Maine.

I learned from a vid on .. great crew over there.

My dimensions are a bit different and my rear legs are plain.. I also recessed the nuts & fender washers a bit.. I also made a jig to speed up the drilling process and have all the holes land exactly in line.. Mine are spruce from 2x8x10. you can get one chair per plank if you don't have to cull out too many knots. I finished with BLO prior to's a coupla pix. All the best!!

JMorton3 (author)FN642015-05-29

I would like to know what dimensions you used in your version of the chair, as well as what your jig looks like for the hole alignment that you mentioned.

Carl Jacobson (author)JMorton32015-05-29

I put up a video that shows the jig for drilling the holes. All the dimensions are listed above in step #2

TCR407 (author)Carl Jacobson2015-12-25

i have no money

plz send me the plan

FN64 (author)JMorton32015-05-30

Hi All..
I first saw the concept a couple years ago on a video posted at by a member that goes by A_Sailor.
He has his plans posted on a blog along with the video.
He used wire and small cable clamps instead of threaded rod.
I can make one chair per 6 foot section of rod by first cutting the longer pieces for the seat then cutting the remainder in half.
I leave the seat rods a bit slack while getting the rods through the top & seat front. I put a slight bend in these rods to make it easier to insert. I "double nut" one end then use a cordless drill to spin the whole rod while holding the opposite nut with a 7/16 open end wrench..there's just enough room & everything pulls together nicely.
The sticks are 1.25 x 1.50 and the countersink is to the depth of a 7/8 fostner bit..maybe a half inch +/-.. I use 3/4 inch fender washers and the stainless nylox nuts.
After assembly I cut the extra threaded rod & lightly grind the ends to remove any sharps.
Here's a link to A_Sailors blog.. the video and dimensions are the fifth one down..
As for the jig... I made mine from ash about 2 ft long and a stop block also made from ash. You can see in the plans that the holes in many pieces are the same measure hence on the jig several parts are indicated at the same mark.
The only other jig would be a crosscut sled on my table saw.
Hope this gives you all a few ideas.
Enjoy & be safe...FN...

Carl Jacobson (author)FN642015-05-29

Thank you, great job! I really like the idea of contersinking the holes.

stroconis made it! (author)2016-12-18

Love it!

goodphysics made it! (author)2016-09-18

Thanks Carl for the post! I made my first one [of many I'm sure] this afternoon in a few hours. Great idea with the drill chucked into the threaded rod. My only difference in my build was using a slightly thicker rod at #10-32 instead of #8. Thanks again for the Instructable with you tube video. Much appreciated!

TarsisG (author)2016-08-02

Hey carl, i made it! I confess it was a bit hard for me (im a beginer) here's the photo you asked, im making another one for my wife. Oh i forgot to say last time, i used pine. Thanks again!

TarsisG (author)2016-07-22

Hey Carl thanks for the tutorial, im brazillian and im starting it tomorrow, here the total cost was 60 reais, which would be about 20 dollars. Keep up the great work!!!

Carl Jacobson (author)TarsisG2016-07-24

Thank you very much! Please share some pictures when you're done.

hohum (author)2016-05-09

I got wood at Home depot today, all thread rods, nylok nuts, acorn nuts, washers, i am working on the Kentucky stick chair tomorrow, my cost was also about $45, thanks very much for the tut, i have to find the stain/finish you were using..

jack g

juan.gimeno made it! (author)2015-12-31

Excelent, Carl. I try to made it with wood from pallets (i work in a building company). The results are OK.

It's almost done, only need to apply the lumber.

karabounga made it! (author)2015-08-15

hi, did it with steel, it's a little heavy but comfortable enough

Carl Jacobson (author)karabounga2015-08-15

Very cool!

bob1445 (author)2015-07-03

You are the best. I never turned wood before but since I retired I have found this to be very rewarding and I love it. I have learned a lot watching your videos and thank you so much. I can't wait for you to get your robust lathe

buck2217 (author)2015-06-25

I'm definitely going to make some of these, brilliant design

stouchet (author)2015-05-31

Carl, May I ask how tall you are? You said in the video that the chair back was a little too short for you. Thanks.

Carl Jacobson (author)stouchet2015-06-01

I'm 6'2" I was think of making the 40" pieces 46" or 48"

CJStephens (author)2015-05-31

Great job! looks amazing.

Carl Jacobson (author)CJStephens2015-06-01

Thank you!

SlickSqueegie (author)2015-05-29

awesome job Carl! Great first instructable!

Thank you very much!

darren8306 made it! (author)2015-05-29

Repurposed some lumber from our old greenhouse to make this. Thanks for the instructable.

Carl Jacobson (author)darren83062015-05-29

That looks so cool, I love the rustic look!

tensegrity (author)2015-05-28

Most Instructables are clever or interesting, but not something attractive enough that I'd actually want it in my own home. But this chair is truly beautiful! Well done!

cfs0527 (author)tensegrity2015-05-29

And it requires neither a 3D printer nor arduino

Carl Jacobson (author)tensegrity2015-05-29

Thank you very much!

sekitori (author)2015-05-28

Thinking about doing this with pallet-parts. Will have to sand and protect the wood properly of course....

Carl Jacobson (author)sekitori2015-05-29

That would be cool!

cfs0527 (author)Carl Jacobson2015-05-29

Hey this is a very cool idea!. Used to build pretty nice adirondacks out of skids years ago but these are lightyears more awesome. Not looking forward to a layoff this summer so with nothing to lose I may as well bring home a pile of skids from work and make a bunch see if they sell. I am thinking of 1/4 plain rod and running a die on the ends- Woodchuckchuck

AlexanderS18 (author)2015-05-28

Great chair, looks really fantastic.

I just have a litte Problem - I'm used to the metric system. I tried to figure out what diameter a threaded rod #8 is but I had no success. Can you help me out?

Thank you very much, it looks like everyone hepled you out with the conversion.

sandor3 (author)AlexanderS182015-05-29

It should not be the problem, it looks like 11/64 of an inch - you must love the imperial system :-)
Actually here is a link to some conversion tables:

Hope this helps.

Bujholm (author)AlexanderS182015-05-28

If you don't mind - I would say the diameter is not really important, as long as it's not too small to withstand the stress. It looks like 6 mm on the photos, but you can use 8 mm as well, it'd be stronger.

farmboy79 (author)Bujholm2015-05-28

#8 is very nearly the same size as 4mm. This is easily found by a browser search which shows a #8 screw thread is 0.16 inch diameter. Multiply that number by 25.4 to convert to mm.

Bujholm (author)farmboy792015-05-28

my bad - I always try to make things too strong :)

speaking of - should the joints be flexible?

AlexanderS18 (author)farmboy792015-05-28

My mistake was to search #8 threaded rod - which didn't help a lot. I tried #8 screw now which brought prefect results. Sometimes a word makes the difference ;-). Thanks a lot.

adamhe (author)2015-05-29

Thanks so much. I've always wanted to do some woodworking and this is nice and basic for me to start with.

Carl Jacobson (author)adamhe2015-05-29

Thank you, it's a great weekend project.

Zclip (author)2015-05-29

Ya know, even if the chair didn't fold up, it would still look very cool, and comfortable. Good work.

Carl Jacobson (author)Zclip2015-05-29

Thank you very much!

dgarnersavory1 (author)2015-05-28

You Never Disapoint Carl.

Thank you Daryl :)

thundrepance (author)2015-05-28

i've never seen a beautiful lawn chair before; this one is GORGEOUS :^D

Thank you very much!

qorlis (author)2015-05-28

I like the back leg design. I have made several similar chairs (using rope instead of metal parts). I even made a high back design. The back legs were the same thickness and width as the rest of the chair parts. Unfortunately, I have had trouble with the weight of the person sitting in the chairs breaking the back legs. These are people of average weight, too. Your design looks like it would hold the weight much better and more of it, too. I'll be using your design for future productions. Thank you.

Carl Jacobson (author)qorlis2015-05-29

Thank you very much, I was even thinking of putting in a 3rd rear leg as well.

TJ59 (author)2015-05-28

Love it! what would the cost be using cedar?

Carl Jacobson (author)TJ592015-05-29

Thank you, total cost is $30 with all the bolts, and rod.

About This Instructable




Bio: I started woodworking with my grandfather as a young boy. I continued woodworking through high school, and started woodturning after seeing a turned project in ... More »
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