This Instructables will summarize the lessons learned (in some cases, relearned) while making a set of these groovy chairs.
The plans for the chairs were included in the book Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects by Mark Frauenfelder, which is where I got them.
So, here's a short list of what not to do...
Step 1: Plywood Lessons
When drilling plywood, it's a good idea to take precautions in order to prevent the drill bit from splintering the wood as it comes out the other side.
I just did a quick internets search for "drilling plywood" and all sorts of links came up. It seems I'm not the only one who should have known better.
The silly thing is that I noticed the splintering after drilling the first hole, but I just kept on drilling the rest of the holes anyway, without doing anything different. I guess I was in a hurry, since these chairs were supposed to be a surprise for my kids.
Of course, patching the splintered holes ended up adding a significant amount of time (days) to the overall project, as compared to taking five minutes to find a suitable second piece of sacrificial wood to place underneath the piece being drilled.
Step 2: Coating Lessons
I love me some Minwax Polyshades!
I use this stuff all the time, so it's not surprising that I thought I knew what I was doing.
You know when the directions say to apply thin coats? That is sage advice.
I managed to produce some pretty funky ripple effects, and basically made a mess of things, by applying it too thick and heavy... even had to redo a few sections.
And when coating something with multiple colors, take the time to mask off areas that you are not wanting to cover. Otherwise, you end up having to wipe/sand/etc., those areas a second (or third) time.