Introduction: Make a Viking Chair With Hand Tools!

About: Woodworker, home brewer, traveler. I love to build things and to teach others! Also subscribe to my channel on youtube!

These chairs are really fun projects that are cheap, easy and make great additions alongside a campfire. They are also known as bog, plank or stargazer chairs. Due to the angle and length of the back, these chairs really support your neck while you look up at the stars and are surprisingly comfortable! See more info about this project and others at .

I wanted to make these in a more traditional fashion, without power tools. It takes longer but is very satisfying! So grab a mug of your favorite mead and an axe and let's get to work!

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Hand tool list

Lawnmower blade, Froe or a strong, sharp, strip of metal to split wood with

Hand saw

Mortise chisel


Brace and large auger bit (you can find cheap vintage braces at yard sales / ebay. also make sure that your bits are sharp)

Rubber Mallet


Tape measure

Saw horses

Lumber list

2"x12"x8' Pine board for each viking chair

Viking list (some would say these are optional)

Viking drinking horn

Beverage of choice

Step 1: Cut the 2x12x8

The first step in making a viking chair is to cut your 8 foot boards in half to 4 feet. Use your hand saw and saw horses here and it really helps if you can put a foot down on the boards so they don't move around when cutting.

Step 2: Mark and Cut the Mortise

Mark your mortise slot, make the slot about 12" from the bottom of the board, and 8 inches wide. Measure lines 2 inches in from either side so that your slot is centered. Place the other half of your board standing up over the mortise line and mark again. Now your mortise will be the exact 'thickness' of your board for a close fit. See the diagram in the first step for reference.

Attach the largest bit you can find to your brace and drill out the center of the mortises, where the X's are above. Have a friendly viking sit on the board to keep it steady, and watch the shavings fly! Make sure to put a scrap board underneath where you are drilling, to prevent tear out and splinters.

Clean up the mortise with your mortise chisel & rubber mallet. It doesn't need to be perfect to start, cut it a but undersized and check your fit.

Step 3: Cut Notches and Split the Wood With the Lawnmower Blade!

Mark your 2" offsets on your second board and cut them with a hand saw. These should be about 12" from the end of the board. See the diagram at the bottom of the post for details.

Now here comes the fun part. A true viking doesn't need to cut wood, he splits it with an axe! Use your mallet and hatchet to begin splitting (get the split started) the wood at the opposite end of the offsets you just cut, about 2" from the side of the board. The wood will split right along the grain, so line it up parallel with your offset. You don't want the wood to split too far towards the center of the board, or it will be a loose fit.

Next, use your metal hammer and the lawnmower blade to finish the split. Wood splitting is also called 'riving'. Clean up the remaining excess with your hatchet and check your fit. Finally, fit the viking chair pieces together. Finish with some stain and you can add some deck sealer to the chair if you plan to keep it outdoors.

Cheers and long live Odin!

Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2016