Instructables
Picture of Ramified Armchair - bending plywood
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I always wanted to make a bent plywood chair so I went ahead and made this prototype. I used compression mold to curve the plywood and a water based resin glue to put the bendy ply together.

I decided to make a simple design that would be broken down into 7 different pieces:
• Front leg (x2)
• Back Leg (x2)
• Arm rest -connecting front and back leg- (x2)
• Seat

The seat is elegantly supported from the edges of the branching legs creating a bridge between the front and the back legs. The ramification of the legs not only split in two directions with the same angle to each side generating a consistent flow in the legs but also creating the armrest. The biggest design challenge was creating the partition in the legs that become part of the armchair and seat. The front legs start thick from the ground and bend forward to become the seat and also backwards to become the armrests which then come down as the back legs. The ramification was the whole concept around the project, which made it an interesting detail.


Material: Poplar bendy ply and red oak veneer
Molds: Random scrap plywood
Strip of plastic (x2) for quick and clean unmold
DAP® Weldwood® Plastic Resin Glue
Biscuit Joints
to put the 7 pieces together
 
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Step 1: Testing Ergonomics

Picture of Testing Ergonomics
Making a full size prototype is helpful to check dimensions and proportions.

Testing the ergonomics to verify if the angles and lengths are comfortable.

Step 2: Testing Material

Picture of Testing Material
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I tested the flexibility of the bendy-ply to know exactly the minimum radius I could bend the wood.  After deciding the minimum radius was 3.2 inches I then went back to the CAD drawing and did some adjustments in the design so I could manufacture the prototype.

The total material for my chair was 2 sheets 8x4 ft. of poplar bendy-ply of 3 mm and 1 sheet 8x4 ft. of red oak paper backed veneer. I got all of my material at Macbeath in San Jose for less than $100.
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unlearny2 months ago

really amazing. the chair is lovely and looks more elegant, and more comfortable than an Eames plywood guest chair. so your $100 beat the $1,000 competition.

sbrown95787 months ago

nice carpentry skills!

malepalan10 months ago
I want one Ale!!!
windrian1 year ago
this is really a beautifull design with low cost....thanks for sharing this post
meblozo1 year ago
This is beautiful!
JohnMeng1 year ago
Beautifully done. Thanks for the very clear step-by-steps. Were I to try something similar - which I'm certain would be worth it all, with thanks to you - I'd consider a few changes:
1. To have the front and back legs bent from the same pieces of ply as the back and seat. The grains would be continuous that way adding harmony and congruity. Yes it will complicate the molding quite a bit but that, frequently, is the self-imposed challenge of an artist.
2. To have the back high enough to serve as a rest for both the shoulders and the head.
3. To give longer legs to the chair. It would be more comfortable for me that way.

Thanks for your enthusiasm and ingenuity. It is a beautiful accomplishment!
best thing i've seen on here in a long time!
finton1 year ago
Others have said this already, but: beautiful object, well written 'ible, great photography! Very keen to see more Instructables from you.
ezgnann1 year ago
Can you give some insight as to how you made the forms? The lamination does not look to difficult, but I want to know how the forms are built.
67spyder1 year ago
My wife wants 2 please!
alepalan (author)  67spyder1 year ago
:) thanks!
Edgar1 year ago
Went to this Blog:
http://faz-voce-mesmo.blogspot.pt/2013/09/cadeiras-camaras-digitais-e-vigilancia.html
badvaquero1 year ago
exelente trabajo, exelente diseño, exelente "instructable". felicidades y gracias por compartir.
alepalan (author)  badvaquero1 year ago
Gracias vaquero!
Totally Rad!
I need more clamps!
alepalan (author)  EnergyHandyman1 year ago
Thanks! Check out one of the comments bellow, it might be interesting to explore this option and use less clamps : http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cm4MO0-Udk/SnHTPmfVFWI/AAAAAAAAAHA/yQXP-FHSzbI/s1600-h/003.JPG
Dr_Stupid1 year ago
Very nice piece
alepalan (author)  Dr_Stupid1 year ago
Thanks!
fabulous inst. wow, a $500 chair . although it looks like a fortune in clamps, but if you make enough, that amortizes out. these should sell like hot cakes to up scale decorators.
alepalan (author)  Cheese Queen1 year ago
Thanks! It would be pretty cool to get a manufacturer excited to make these!
Miro_B1 year ago
beautiful
alepalan (author)  Miro_B1 year ago
Thanks!
bricobart1 year ago
What to say!? Whaoow!!! Excellent work, thanx for sharing, I'll start this day a bit less stupid!
To make an IKEA-version you could integrate bolts (those long ones) into the seat and screw it all together.
alepalan (author)  bricobart1 year ago
Thanks. Anyone has contacts with the IKEA design team?? :)
macrumpton1 year ago
Very interesting design. I thnk it might look a little better about 4" taller on the back.
I wonder if a lazy mans version where you cut kerfs (for the curves) into regular plywood would work?
alepalan (author)  macrumpton1 year ago
Thanks. I don't know if will work (the kerfing). I tried kerfing on a few projects and it usually breaks after some use.
mrmkurtz1 year ago
Gorgeous! This brought back a lot of memories of a bent plywood chair project I had in design school. Although I will be honest and say your results were far more elegant than mine :¬D) The other thing I like about this approach is that you can play with different wood veneers and colours on each side of the pieces. Great job!
alepalan (author)  mrmkurtz1 year ago
Thanks! Great advice, could look really sexy with different veneers and colours.
CraigRJess1 year ago
Nice work and great design! I like the huge spacious shop you get to work in. Awesome.
alepalan (author)  CraigRJess1 year ago
Thanks!
DeeRilee1 year ago
I wonder if Min-Wax Wood Hardener would give added strength to the BendyPly?
alepalan (author)  DeeRilee1 year ago
I've never heard about the hardener. I might give it a try for another project and will let you know.
twall21 year ago
Great work! Great design! One note, A metal strap will save you a ton of time on future projects :)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cm4MO0-Udk/SnHTPmfVFWI/AAAAAAAAAHA/yQXP-FHSzbI/s1600-h/003.JPG
alepalan (author)  twall21 year ago
Nice! I heard about it. That picture is beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
What are biscuits?
i've not actualy gotten tto the point where they mention them, but in wood working, a biscuit is a small piece of wood taht you fit into a slot cut into two pieces of wood. you then glue them in. they're usually ovalish and long, thin. it adds strength to a joint and helps line up pieces where you want them.
alepalan (author)  badideasrus1 year ago
Yes. They come in 3 sizes and they are really easy to use. Check out on youtube some videos (for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJt5NRZH7_U)

RX-DK-DIY064016_glue-biscuit_s4x3_lg.jpg
stephenf1 year ago
Wickedly Beautiful!
I [currently] weigh 290 - think it would support that kind of weight?
alepalan (author)  stephenf1 year ago
I used bendy-ply for the prototype and I guess it won't hold 290 pounds. If you use single plywood it should definitely work.
strooom1 year ago
Well done!
Nice & professional product pictures as well. Quality is clearly one of your core values.
I want to make a chaise longue and this instructable helps me forward to that project.
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