Introduction: How to Make a Driftwood Lawn Chair
This is my first instructable and will show you how I made my chair from driftwood found on the local beach,
there's definitely some things I would do differently next time and I learnt as I went along but I enjoyed it and I'm pretty happy with the result and hopefully will be making some more designs next summer.
Pencil and ruler
Workbench with mitre saw
Safety Goggles and gloves.
Step 1: Collect Your Driftwood
The driftwood was all collected from the beach in front of my house, rinsed by the rain, and dried in the sun. I tried to collect various shapes and sizes, nice solid straight pieces to make the legs and main parts of the chair, smaller straight bits for the stretchers, planks for the seat and back, and some more interesting shapes to make the arms.
Once I had enough wood I looked at what I had and tried to come up with some ideas for what I wanted the chair to end up like in terms of design, size and angles etc. I'm not to good with a pen so I used google sketchup to knock up some simple plans but simplest way would be with a pencil and paper.
Step 2: Saw Your Legs Off
Having worked out the angles I wanted the legs to be at the next step was to saw the bottom of the pieces I'd chosen to use at the angles required, I used this cheap mitre saw attachment for my workmate to make getting the angles right and nice straight cuts much easier.
Step 3: Round Tenons
I had a nice straight solid piece of wood I'd found and the design I'd come up with used this connected at right angles to the front legs and down joining the back supports then continuing out to meet the ground behind the chair, similar to an adirondack chair. I cut this piece in half and then used a plug cutter shown in the drill to cut into the ends, then using a backsaw and a chisel I cut the wood around them out leaving a round tenon which will fit into mortices drilled into the front legs
Step 4: Chiselling
For the part where these straight bits cross the back supports I cut flat slots into the back supports, after marking them carefully with a pencil I sawed the basic shape out then used chisels to take out the wood and make the slot. I learnt here about the importance of having sharp chisels, buying the cheapest set of chisels in wilkinsons probably wasnt the best idea and the first attempt was a bit of a mess. A quick go at them with a sharpening stone made a massive difference though and the second slot was much easier (and came out much cleaner)
Step 5: Back Stretchers
Using the plug cutter again I cut these tenons on the ends of some smaller pieces, then drilled the holes for them in the back supports and glued them all in place. strapped everything together tight and left the glue to dry.
Step 6: Starting to Look Like a Chair
At this point I put what I had so far propped up together just to check it was all fitting together right, and then cut the tenons on the piece I was going to use as the base for the front part of the seat ready to fit.
Step 7: Screwing It Up
To attach the back to the sides I held everything in place and drilled pilot holes through both pieces, then applied plenty of glue and put deck screws in. Just to keep it looking tidy I sunk the screws in a bit and cut some plugs to cover them up.
Step 8: Arms Race
I originally planned to use dowels to fix the arms on but it seemed easier to just use the deck screws I had, pilot holes and countersinks were drilled and then the arms were screwed into place at the top of the front legs, and then to the back supports. I always use a larger drill bit through the part I'm screwing through big enough to fit the screw through, and then a smaller bit for the pilot hole in the part i'm screwing into.
Step 9: Back and Seat
same again for the back slats and the seat, pilot holes then screws. At this point the chair -should- be finished, however it turned out that one of the pieces across the back, the one the seat rests on, was rotten. Should really have checked this and been choosier about the wood I used but too late now as it was all glued in place.
Step 10: Bracing
To make up for the rotten piece I found some nice solid dry pieces and added them as bracing across the back, also I added a small piece across the front for strength, and a couple of thinner sticks under the seat to help support it, all drilled and screwed into place.
Step 11: Done!
chair is complete, now sit in it and enjoy the view!