Introduction: Simple Rustic Chair for Children
I don't know if every kid goes through this phase, but mine is in love with chairs right now.
I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on something she will probably grow out of pretty quickly, so using scrap wood I had lying around and only a few tools I came up with this simple wooden chair.
Step 1: Supplies
The only tools I used for this were a tape measure,
a table saw,
a staple gun.
The only materials I used were scrap wood,
If you live near a lumber mill that is a great place to get scrap wood if you don't already have some. And as for the polyurethane, I use Minwax because it's cheap but still good quality, though you can use whatever you want.
Step 2: Plan Your Cuts
Since it's for a toddler this chair isn't going to take much wood, and it doesn't need nearly as much bracing as a chair for an adult would need. These two facts make this a good project to get started with basic woodworking.
Your measurements may vary based on the exact size you want the chair to be, so you can use mine and alter them as needed.
The overall height is 2' with the armrest at 18" and the seat 1' high (I did this so that she could sit comfortably at our coffee table, but for a regular chair it's a little high and I would recommend lowering it by about 3 or 4" on the legs). The back and seat are both 1' squares. The legs, supports and armrests are all 3 1/2" wide and all of the wood is 1/2" thick.
Step 3: Make the Cuts
I started by cutting straight edges on everything since scrap from a lumber yard isn't always quite straight. At this time I also cut everything to 3 1/2" width that needed to be. After that I cut two pieces to 2' for the back of the chair, two pieces to 18" for the front legs/bottom of armrests, and six pieces to 1' for the armrests and supports. I also cut the remaining lumber into 1' lengths for the slats of the back and seat.
Step 4: Put It Together
The next step is to start putting it together. First attach the supports to the legs; be careful that everything is lined up because if not it will be lopsided and wobbly. Make sure the top of each support is exactly 1' from the bottom of each leg.
When all four supports are firmly attached with at least three staples each you can add the seat slats, but first inspect it to be sure everything is properly lined up because it's going to get harder to fix after this point. When you are satisfied that everything is lined up, put the seat slats in place and measure for the notches you will need to cut out to go around the armrests; since the slats are not a uniform width (unless you want them to be; I chose to leave them random for a more rustic look) your measurements will differ from mine. When everything looks good, attach the seat slats.
Now set the armrests in place. You can attach them as is or you can cut notches in them so that they line up with the back. How big the notches are will depend on how wide you want the spacing between the armrests to be. I chose to space them 8" apart, which means the notches I cut in them were 2" wide by 1/2" deep.
Once the armrests are in place you can add the back slats. Put them in place and measure for the notches just like with the seat slats, the difference here thought will be that the slats go the other direction and the notch you cut out may need to be C shaped instead of L shaped.
All of these cuts can be made using just a plain table saw or even a skill saw if you have a steady hand, the C shaped cut is done by making several cuts very close together until all the wood is removed from the space you want to cut (see the second to last picture in this step)
If you have staples (or nails) long enough, you may want to attach the back slats before adding the armrests so that you don't have to cut notches, but I did not have any long enough to go through both the back and the slat into the armrest and this is a good way around that problem.
Step 5: Finish It Up
Now that all the pieces are firmly attached, all that's left is to sand and stain, seal, or paint.
If the wood you are working with is particularly rough then you should sand or even scrape it before stapling/nailing it together as well as after. The lumber I had was fairly smooth so all I had to do was sand the edges and a couple rough spots before I was ready to seal it.
Normally I would have stained it to match the rest of the furniture but this wood had such interesting grain and color patterns I decided to just seal it with polyurethane which makes the existing colors more vibration and protects it from spills. It also gives it a smoother texture than just raw wood while still looking rustic.
Be sure to follow the instructions and allow it to dry fully in between coats. How many coats you do and what product you use is up to you, depending on what look you're going for.
And that's it; I know there are much nicer looking chairs out there but this one is sturdy and easy to make for those of us just starting out in the world of woodworking. Thanks for reading!
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