Introduction: Folding (pac-n-go) Chair

Picture of Folding (pac-n-go) Chair

A chair designed for functionality, affordability, out door comfort, and easily disassembled for storage. More importantly it can be fabricated out of a limited amount of materials and tools.

TOOLS:

- Drill with 1/2" drill bit-

- Jig Saw with wood saw blade

- Clamps

- Router with 1/2" dis x 1 1/4" length router bit (optional)

- Palm Sander (optional)

- Pin Nailer (optional)

MATERIALS:

- 24" x 33" piece of plywood

- wood glue

- Sandpaper full sheets (80, 100, 150, 220)

- 8: 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" wood screws

- 12: 1" pins for nailer (optional)

Step 1: Wood: Measurement

Picture of Wood: Measurement

Locating a piece of wood that is at least 24" x 33" x 3/4" will work perfectly. Usually, you can get a half sheet of plywood at your local hardware store 4' x 4' or get a full sheet and you can make (6) of these chairs at once. When you secure this piece you will need to cut it down into 3 pieces. 2: 12" x 30" 1: 3" x 12" Often times you can get it cut down for you at the local hardware store, which is an absolute score! Taking the two larger images begin marking the measurements on the wood to prepare for cutting. I have provided a PDF file with all of these.

1. On both boards (seat and back) on both of the long sides draw a line that is 30" long from top to bottom and 2" in from the edge. 2. Now designate one as the (Seat) and measure 18" from the bottom and draw a line across the 12" width. 3. Select the other board (Back) and do the same measurements you just did on the seat. 4.Also, measure 9" up from the bottom and draw a line across the 12" width. 5. Again with the (Back) board measure 9 7/8" up from the bottom and draw a line across the 12" width. You will see that doing this you created an 8" long x 7/8" wide rectangle that will be cut out in the next step.

Step 2: Back: Cutting Seat Slot

Picture of Back: Cutting Seat Slot

Locate the (Back) seat you drew the measurements for the slot where the seat will (in the end) fit into. We need to remove the 7/8" x 8" rectangle using a drill and jig saw. Taking the drill with a 1/2" drill bit, drill a hole in the middle all the way through. This hole will allow for the blade of your jigsaw to be inserted. With the jigsaw follow the lines and cut out the rectangle.

Optional prepping for next step: Looking at the images you will see that I stayed roughly an 1/8" away from the line. This will allow for me to use a jig and router to make perfectly clean cuts in the next step.

Step 3: Back: Routing Seat Slot

Picture of Back: Routing Seat Slot

Jig: piece of 1/2" plywood 12" wide and 14" tall. Looking at the dimensions provided mark this board and CAREFULLY do the same steps you just performed with the initial cutting in the (Back) portion of the seat. Going slow will establish the best straightest lines to create repeatable clean routed lines. Sand the edges before you use the jig.

When finished making the jig, clamp it to the (Back) making sure it is flush on all three sides of the chair. Now insert a 1/2" dia. x 1 1/4" length bit straight router bit into your router. Also, attach a brass bushing onto your router base that is 5/8" inner diameter and 1/4" height. The first two pictures show this brass bushing. This bushing is used to ride along the cut you just made in your jig.

Seeing that you are making an interior cut be sure you are routing in a clockwise manner.

Lastly, you will see that the router makes rounded corners. We will need to clean up those corners in the next step or your seat will not work.

Step 4: Back: Cleaning Seat Slot Corners

Picture of Back: Cleaning Seat Slot Corners

As stated before, the routed slot will hinder you from sliding in the seat portion. With the jigsaw carefully clean out the corners. It is at this point you would need to check to see that the seat fits in the slot. If you are unable to fit it in then again with the jigsaw continue lengthening the slot.

*With explaining the back section first you will have to come back after cutting the seat to assure it fits.

Step 5: Seat: Cutting Off Sides

Picture of Seat: Cutting Off Sides

Taking the (Seat) board it is time to cut off a portion of the sides. *KEEP* the cut offs they will be used as support on the back side of the (Back). With a jig saw carefully cut off the 18" x 2" long rectangles to measured out and marked in the first step. Personally, I used a table taw and set the fence at 1 7/8" to cut inside the line I drew along the edge. Make sure you don't cut all the way through. I stopped so I would not cut into the seat (look at the images for detail). Next, setting my fence at 12", using a tall miter gauge, and raising the blade to 1 7/8" I cut the small side of the drawn line. Again, this whole rectangle can be cut with a jig saw...the edge just has a potential of not being straight.

With using a table saw your two rectangles are still attached and need to be removed with a hand saw or jigsaw. I personally used a hand saw to have more control. Clamping the loose end to the main seat portion I was able to insert a hand blade and begin cutting off the sides. I use my fingers to press the blade again the edge to establish a straight cut. This is done because the width of a table saw blade and handsaw blade are different thickness. As you near the corner straighten your blade to be vertical so you do not cut into the seat.

Step 6: Seat: Cleaning Corners

Picture of Seat: Cleaning Corners

Before sanding I suggest cleaning the corner of the seat with a chisel or sandpaper. This is done to assure the seat gets well seated into the back.

*Now go back to step 4 and fit the seat into the back and adjust the back slot if it is tight or won't fit. A little loose is good because you might want to put a finish on the whole chair or paint it. That last addition will add a thickness to the whole chair.

Step 7: Sanding: Back Side Supports

Picture of Sanding: Back Side Supports

When cutting off the side supports using my jigsaw/ table saw method it leaves a thickness of material at the end. Sand this flush before we attach it to the back side of the (Back). I used a hand palm sander with 60 grit paper. This method is used to prevent rounding the edges of the wood. Keeping it as square as possible will establish a better fit when storing the seat portion. At this point go ahead and sand the whole support to be ready for glue.

Step 8: Sanding: Whole Piece

Picture of Sanding: Whole Piece

Before all three back pieces are attached this is a great time to spend on sanding. With plywood being sold rough sanded at about 100 - 150 grit, I typically start sanding at 120 or 180. Then go up in grits...120, 150, 180, 220. Rule of thumb if painting is stopping at 180. If you sand smoother than that the paint has a tough time adhering.

Step 9: Attaching: Long Back Supports

Picture of Attaching: Long Back Supports

After sanding the two long roughly 2" x 18" boards add a scribble of wood glue. Smooth it out with a finger or an old credit card/ gift card (the best tool to use). Placing them flush along the sides and bottom. *Note* the bottom is indicted by measuring 8" up to the slot (not the 21" length). You can then clamp it and let it cook for a few hours. Personally, I flush the sides and use my pin nailer to secure it into place so I can keep working.

*Before you walk away and the pieces become secure indefinitely, check to see that the pieces are not overlapping the slot made in the first few steps. You can see this in the last two images above.

Step 10: Back Cross Support: Creating

Picture of Back Cross Support: Creating

We need now to create the essential support piece that will be attached across the back of the (Back). First, take the last piece that should be roughly 3" wide x 12" long x 3/4" thick. We need to remove an 1/8" thickness off a portion of this piece to assure an easy unbinding storage of the seat. Begin by measuring 2" in from both of the short ends of the board and draw a line across. This line in your guide for removing 1/8" material between these marks. Then, I used a miter saw and flipped the stop on to prevent the cut from going all the way through. With the stop on the cut would only be an 1/8" deep. Looking at the first image you can see this happening by making a cut and moving the wood down to remove this area.

*You could also remove this area with a chisel or attach a thin 3" x 2" x 1/8" material to the (2) areas you measured first.

Step 11: Back Cross Support: Attaching

Picture of Back Cross Support: Attaching

To attach this piece we need to establish some pilot holes. Pilot holes all the way through allow for the screws to pull to the piece of wood the piece it is being secured to. Begin by marking 4 dots one in each corner of the area 3" x 2" that will be secured to the long side pieces you previously attached to the back. Then take a counter sink bit and drill through the eight dots you just made. If you don't have a counter sink bit, just use a drill bit that is the same thickness of threads or core of the screw you will be using (this method won't allow for the heads of the screws to be flush to the wood surface).

For the next part, place the seat into the back to gauge where you will attach this cross piece. Place the cross piece above the seat and push it right up against the wood. Then slightly pull it away to give room to pull seat in and out of slot. With a pencil, mark a line to guide you to align this piece when glue is added. *Look at image 2 to aid in this process. Just be sure you do not place it underneath where the seat will go, but above. Add glue to the small areas on the cut side and line it up on the drawn line. With eight screws secure this final piece. Using clamps in this process will help in assuring that the two pieces are secured with no gaps.

Step 12: Finished Piece:

Picture of Finished Piece:

Here is the final piece. Now it is completely up to you where you take the surface treatment of this project: stain, paint, draw on, leave raw.

When this project is given to my students, I believe the design is perfect for basing it on an artist or creating your own character. This particular one is based on one of my favorite artist: Joan Miro. Taking many aspects of his paintings I created a character as the back and then made the seat one of his painted feet. I established this so if while teaching I ever put my foot in my mouth I have somewhere to sit.

Step 13: Chair Demo: Video

Enjoy this functional versatile chair.

*NOT my design, but a great project for those interested in woodworking and design.

Step 14: Student Work:

Picture of Student Work:

As stated before, I teach this project to my students in many different ways. Also, you can see one aspect of woodworking that interests me greatly is surface treatment. Notice the diversity of techniques I have pushed my students to achieve. Hope you have enjoyed this instructable.

Comments

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-31

I love this idea

Robotron Cx3 (author)2014-07-11

I was making one like this before this was posted but I didn't have that back addition

Tanzer26 (author)2014-05-20

Loved the design. It just screamed 'minion' to me. This is my first, have a second cut and glued up. Not painted yet. I made a couple of changes. Instead of squaring the corners of the slot, I used a router to round over the corners of the 'tongue'. And I didn't use any screws. I used a great glue called 'Welbond' that makes a joint as strong as the wood. I've torture tested and the seat has remained intact.

cahelming (author)2014-05-11

Again great comments and suggestions on enhancements. Routing the seat, instead of squaring the back slot is a great idea. With 25+ students building this chair at one time makes it a little unsafe to monitor adequately. Adding a handle is excellent for carrying...however, for us we are redesigning the overall look and that hinders the aesthetics. Lastly, the weight is unsure, but the seat is only 12" x 12" which typical seats are 18" x 18." I assume this limits the comfort therefore, limits the weight. I weigh roughly 165 lbs. and am confident in it holding up.

craftclarity (author)2014-05-06

The chair in the lead image looks like it was inspired by Wassily Kandinsky....Waaaaay cool! I love how simple they are.

karcsika922 (author)2014-05-06

I like it ! Very good desing

Tanzer26 (author)2014-05-04

Love this design, simple yet inspired. Definitely going to build soon. Is here any reason to not round over the edge of the 'tongue' rather than squaring out the slot? In my experience, square edges tend to get beat up fairly quickly on transportable items. I'm thinking, if I use a 3/8 bit for the slot, I could use a 3/8 round over bit on the tongue (or perhaps a 1/4, will need to experiment) and it should slide right in. I'm also thinking, it could all be a bit wider, say 16".

alcurb (author)2014-04-29

Brilliant idea. I shared this instructables with my brother and my friend and they were impressed too.

You might want to consider adding a hand slot on the top of the back and on the seat so that when the chair is "folded" the slots align and the chair can be easily carried from the hand slot.

jgonzalez91 (author)2014-04-29

What's the weight limit on the chair?

Collectedeclectic (author)2014-04-28

"Folding" is a relative term, and it think it suits this project just fine. I personally love how the chair folds/breaks down and fits together perfectly. I'm also loving how inexpensive and limitless this project is- a DIY project for the ages methinks!!! Nicely done- even I can follow these instructions, and I have NO woodworking skills. Thanks!

sl0j0n (author)2014-04-27

While this great & all that, it looks like it really does *not* "Fold".

If I got it right, 2 pieces, fit together to carry, take apart, put together another way, & that's a "folding" chair?

Its still kool n all, but I want a *FOLDING* chair.

Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

cahelming (author)2014-04-27

What wonderful suggestions and comments. I am pleased to see this has inspired so many to take it to the next step for themselves, students, clubs,and others. I only wish there was an ability for others to load their images of "instructables" they have tried or changed.

pjo129 (author)2014-04-27

These chairs are great. Our Scout Troop made them also. Very easy to use and transport.

ClareBS (author)2014-04-27

Elegant chair, good, clear instructions. I like seeing the students' finished chairs, they are something they will be proud of for many decades.

grooverjamesr (author)2014-04-27

This is known as a Bog Chair, Plank Chair, I personally make these as a hobby to sell. They are best made from a solid piece of wood 1.5 inches thick. The reason is strength. Though the design is strong, it requires a lot of weight and forces placed on the axes can result in breakage if the wood is too thin, damaged or weakened over time.

It is a good project, they are considerably light even using a 2x12 as a body. Amazing how strong they are, and versatile. Can even be used on extremely uneven ground to sit.

Chookums (author)2014-04-27

The chair is awesome but I'd rather make more teachers like you! Your student's work is a wonderful reflection of your skills as a teacher. Congratulations!

gerflash (author)2014-04-27

Yes, very nice. How much weight can it hold?

wolfger (author)2014-04-27

I've had chairs like this for a long time, and they are great, but... at no point in time will this chair ever "fold". Calling it a folding chair is just not right.

David Catriel (author)2014-04-27

Really cool design. Will definitely try this with the kids :)

Tanzer26 (author)2014-04-27

Love this design. I'm thinking, that instead of squaring the bends of the slot, why not use a rounding bit in the router to round over the sides of the tongue. I was about to order a couple of pricey folding chairs online, but I think perhaps I'll try this design first. thx

Verga (author)2014-04-27

Very Nice Ible. Clear instructions and good photos. I am going to pass this on to the Ag teacher at my school. Every year they have a community dinner/ auction and this would be a perfect project t for the students to make for the auction.

cahelming (author)2014-04-24

Thanks for the compliments. Being simple in really invites you to play around with the shape and painting. Each year, my students can't stop bugging me about when we will start. It is always a joy to see what they come up with...currently I have a fish bowl, eiffel tower and cheese, tardis, macaroni and cheese, sword and the stone, minion, zombie, chalkboard, etc... I weight roughly 160 lbs. and it holds me just fine. The first few times you sit in it it sounds like it is breaking, but actually you are just hearing the wood move and the first layer of veneer get creased.

Don Chen (author)2014-04-24

The chair can sustain how much weight ?

thanks

mikecraghead (author)2014-04-23

Love this! I've been meaning to make one of these for a long time but have been waiting to stumble upon the right planks... but I have plenty of plywood, so now I'm out of excuses, many thanks!

SANDBOX1 (author)2014-04-23

GREAT JOB AND POSTING!!!!! THANKS

SDX42 (author)2014-04-23

Nice to see so many different designs, very inspirational. I build one of this kind as well, decided to go with an engraving as a finish. It shows Thor fighting Jörmungandr and is constructed of solid 40mm english oak. I like this design of a chair very much, as it allows for great, creative freedom and is very simple and doable for everyone at the same time. Also, the chair is really practical.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2014-04-23

Such a great simple design! I love what the students have done with it :)

About This Instructable

37,896views

793favorites

License:

More by cahelming:Toy Packaging: Crayons *STAR wars chair...Dependant-Pendant (silhouette charm)
Add instructable to: