Introduction: Chair Pants
On the television series The Office, there is a side joke about the boss, Michael Scott, attempting to create pants that have the ability to turn into a chair. While the joke was only ten seconds long and was not mentioned again in the series, it began a train of thought. When traveling throughout the world, a common issue is met among all people: the struggle to find a place to sit. Everyone experiences this issue, whether it be at a sporting event, on a subway, while hiking, at a party, or even outside of your home. A lack of seating is a problem daily, and until now there has not been a solution.
Attempting to traverse the world with a stool can bring ridicule and laughter along with pains from carrying it around. The solution to the problem needs to be versatile, non-intrusive, and hands free. That is why I created Chair Pants, an easy way to have the comfort of a chair without the struggle of portability.
-Richelleu Hinges which lock at 0 and 90 degree angles.
-Large panel of wood (dimensions vary and will come later)
-Large plank of wood (dimensions vary and will come later)
-Flat rope approximately one inch in length
Step 1: Creating Design and Taking Measurements
The first step on the route to Chair Pants is to create a design. One of the benefits of creating your very own seat is exact customization to your form. I made quick sketches of ideas in a variety of programs and on paper to brainstorm the placement of the legs and the size of seat itself. When deciding upon the size of the seat, I took a number of factors into consideration: the height from the ground to the joint of my knee, the total area of my body that would rest on the chair, and portability. With all of this in mind, it would be most advantageous to create a seat with the smallest possible dimensions that satisfy all of the prior conditions.
The dimensions I found were 17 in x 16 in. This design would be the most comfortable and the most portable for my personal body fit. For the height of the legs, I took the dimension from foot to knee and factored in the comfort level in other chairs. My aim was for a height of a little over 16 5/8 in.
Do take into consideration that the dimensions for the seat can be optimized from person to person, and these only serve as a rough estimation. For example, shorter individuals would most likely desire smaller legs, and so on.
Step 2: Cutting the Seat
For the wooden seat, I found a large MDF panel from a desk which was going to be destroyed. If your panel of wood is larger than the seat you intend to make, you will need to cut it down to the appropriate size.
Clamp the MDF panel onto your work area and sketch the needed cuts onto the surface of the MDF panel. Once sketched, be sure to wear proper eye protection and follow safety procedures whilst using the circular saw. Carefully cut along the sketched lines to create the shape of the desired seat. Be sure to make all cuts are at 90 degree angles and have flat straight edges, as this will be helpful in later steps. Readjust the seat as needed to remain a safe distance from the circular saw in action. After making the cuts with the circular saw, use sand paper to smooth out the cut sides of your seat. Sharp edges will only be a nuisance when trying to unfold the seat.
Step 3: Cutting the Legs
Next, you will want to find a large plank of wood around 2 in x 1 in x 7 ft. Sketch out the first leg onto the block of wood and be sure to measure twice. Do not sketch each leg out beforehand as the circular saw may cause a variation in the height of the legs. Individually cut the legs at straight 90 degree angles to ensure that they will lay flat on the floor once the project is completed. It is vitally important that each leg is as close to the same length as possible, as even the slightest variation by 1/16th of an inch will cause wobble when used.
When all of the legs have been cut, lay them down next to each other to verify that they all are approximately the same length. Sandpaper can be used to file down the edges of the legs to form one straight line. The edges around the leg can also be filed down using sandpaper to create a rounded corner, if the effect is desired.
Step 4: Cut Holes for Hinges
When shopping for hinges, I decided to go with a Richelleu hinge that locks at 0 and 90 degrees. These hinges are relatively expensive (around $7 each), but less expensive versions are available. One advantage of using these, however, is that the locking mechanism is very solid and will provide a more stable base once completed. Another is that it falls completely flat on itself, allowing for the leg to lay flat against the bottom of the seat.
Lay the pieces of wood onto the seat into the positions that they will be taking once mounted. For reference, look at the designs created at the beginning of the project. Make marks as to where the hinges will be placed (this should be immediately adjacent to the bottom of the legs). Trace a circle around the area which will be inset into the wooden seat. Be sure to take the proper safety precautions as you prepare to use the router. Set the router's depth to the approximate depth of your hinge. Begin to cut out each hole until a round shape that matches the outline is created. Check to make sure that each hinge fits inside of the hole before turning off the router. Do not screw the hinges into the chair pants yet.
Before moving on to the next step, be sure to cut a through hole in the top center of the seat, between the two closest leg holes. This will be used later in the project for the belt loop.
Step 5: Mount Legs
Before mounting each leg, place each hinge into its appropriate hole. Hold a leg firmly against a hinge and be sure that it lays completely flat across the seat. Mark the location where the hinge needs to be screwed into the leg with a pencil. Take the drill and create small pilot holes for the screws. Be sure to follow proper safety precautions whilst using the drill. Replace the hinge on top of the leg. After creation on both marked points, begin to screw in the screws with a screwdriver until the hinge is planted into the wood, unable to move. These steps can be repeated for the remaining three hinges.
(*Note: In the creation of my project, I mounted the hinges to the seat before mounting the legs. This proved to be much more difficult than mounting the legs first, so it has been revised for these instructions.)
Step 6: Mount Hinges
Now that each hinge has been attached to a leg, the hinge needs to be attached to the seat itself. Similar to the legs, place the hinge into the previously created hole and mark where it will be screwed in with a pencil. Remove the hinge and begin to drill small pilot holes into the wood for the screws. Be sure to exercise proper safety precautions whilst using the drill. Replace the hinge into the hole, and begin to screw in the screws so that the hinge becomes tight against the seat. Be sure that the hinges are flat so that the wooden legs are parallel to the edge of the seat. Repeat these steps for each of the three remaining hinges.
Step 7: Velcro
Now that the legs are installed, they will need something to keep them in place while their carrier is traversing the world. Simple velcro pads can be used to solve this issue. Remove the velcro pads from their strip and place it on the inside face of the leg. Push down on the leg until the bottom layer of the velcro sticks to the seat itself. When you release, you should find that the leg now has one side of the velcro pad and the other is stuck to the seat, creating a locking mechanism for the legs.
Repeat this step for the remaining three legs.
Step 8: Belt Loop
To attach your Chair Pants to your body, you will need to create a belt loop. This can be done using a thin piece of rope taped into a figure 8 shaped feature. You can measure the distance from your belt to where your previously made slot is for the belt loop. This distance should be in between the two loops made by the rope. Make sure one end of the loop goes through the hole in the seat, and the other will be attached to your belt.
To wear your highly fashionable chair pants, hold the top loop of your belt strap up as you put on your belt. When you get to the back loop on your pants, pull your belt through the Chair Pants loop as well. Now you have a pair of Chair Pants following you wherever you go! Enjoy!
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