Introduction: Spanish Chair Made With Plywood
This project is to recreate the Spanish Chair designed by Børge Mogensen with Plywood and Chrome-tan Leather the original chair is made with solid oak and saddle leather. The chair was launched in 1958 as part of an innovative living space exhibition. I like the form of this easy chair, the legs are straight and geometrical, the leathers are strapped onto the wooden frame, because of the elasticity and suppleness of the leather the chair is very comfortable to sit.
Plywood is quite easy to work with I didn't have to use any big workshop machine(CNC mill, table saw, planer, router table) to achieve the desired finish. high strength plywood is readily available and the price is very reasonable.
The leather pieces are fairly easy to make. A heavy-duty sewing machine is used to stitch thick leather. The hardwares used are very common in leathercraft.
more of the leathergoods related project can be found here
Let's begin making the chair!
- plywood 12mm 5 ply structural plywood.
- 7mm project plywood with nice pine veneer for the outer layer
Royal Blue Chrome tan leather 2.0mm thick
- Bonded leather/PU/reinforcement fabric 1.0 mm thick for dimension stability
- Micro Fibre Lining
- Stainless belt buckle x 4
- stainless button head x 6
Step 1: Design the Chair in Fusion 360
I found the design of the chair online. there is no exact dimension. so I used fusion 360 to calibrate the size. the sitting area is brought 35cm above the ground that makes the chair about 70cm in height.
The width is about 62cm. I made the legs 8.6cm thick and 3.6cm wide. the 8.6cm is calculated so I can sandwich 0.7mm on both sides and 1.2cm x 6 plywood on the core. the insert cutout can be easily achieved by cutting the plywood front then glue them together.
once I have the design complete. I exported the sketch in dxf. file. and print out them on A4 size paper with tile option.
The next step is to cut the plywood.
Step 2: Template
One for the plywood frame
One for the leather cover, print them on paper and trace the shape onto the plywood
Step 3: Making Front Legs (rough Cut)
to make 2 front legs I cut 36mm of 12 piece of 12mm plywood for the core and 4 pieces of 7mm plywood for the outside layer.
glue 2 plywood together to make them 24mm thick 36mm wide. there are 6 pieces in total.
Step 4: Making Front Legs( Assemble)
the middle piece is cut into 3 pieces to leave the void for inserting the arm rest and leather cover frame.
using a drill press remove the slot for the sidebar, 1 for each side.
glue the two pieces together. and pre-drill holes for wood screws.
Step 5: Making Back Legs ( Rough Cut)
This step is similar to the front legs.
cut 12 pieces of 36mm wide plywood. glue 2 together to have a total of 6 pieces.
cut the middle part into 3 pieces to leave the slot for the armrest and the frame for the leather seat.
TIP: the design of the chair's leg a semi-circular shape so I used a bandsaw to cut the shape roughly then later on use a sander to shape the curve.
Step 6: Making Back Legs (assemble)
Using drill press to make the slot for the side bar. then use a file to smooth the edges.
glue two pieces together and pre-drill holes for the wood screw.
After all the hard work the 4 legs are done!
now let's move on the make the arm rest.
Step 7: Making the Arm Rest
the armrest is made of 3 layers. The top and middle layer doesn't have any holes to be cutout. the bottom layer needs a slot for the front legs to be inserted in.
I used a jigsaw to cut the holes out then glue the 3 pieces together.
finally trace the contour from the template then cut all 3 pieces together!
Fairly simple. Lets move on the make the frame for leather seat.
Step 8: Making the Leather Frame
the leather frame is the slanted middle piece that will be wrapped around. the slanted shape make the front slightly loose so when I sit on the chair the leather edge is not too tense to leave marks on the leg.
it is made with two 12mm plywood core and 7 mm on both side for a nicer finish.
I made the outside piece in 2 pieces so it doesn't add up the width of the whole thing. the leftover part is marked 36mm wide for the front legs to easily fit in
Step 9: Making Side Bars
There are 3 sidebars
the front legs have a slot for a large bar with the curved top edge
the back legs have two slots for 2 smaller bars with straight edges
there are made of 12mm core and 7mm on both sides.
Step 10: Sanding and Finishing the Parts
I used belt sanders to make the edge flat and smooth. the slots are nice and square.
the foot are round
Now is the time for assemble!
Step 11: Assemble the Spanish Chair Frame
assemble all the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle.
I used a rubber mallet to make sure no dent on the stripes and surface of the plywood.
once it is assembled. it looks quite sturdy already.
I have sat on the middle bars without any leather it is very strong and a bit low at this point.
Let's see how it feels after wrapping the leather around
Step 12: Making the Back Rest Piece
I used this royal blue leather for its softness. on its own, it is not strong enough for seating therefore I glued 1mm bonded leather for dimensional stability and strength. I don't want to leave the back to be this dark gray color so I glue a piece of sky blue microfibre. the piece is brought 1200mm x 300mm rectangular shape with to 100mm circular cutout to make room for the wooden frame.
Step 13: Making the Leather Seat
this step is similar to the back piece
the measurement is 1000mm x 520mm the cut out on this seating piece is a bit smaller about 40mm in diameter.
Step 14: Making Straps and Tabs
Using the scraps from the big piece I made 10 tabs
4 x 24mm belt buckle tabs for the front and back straps
6 x 40mm button buckle tabs for the straps underneath the seating.
I used light blue contrast waxed thread for the stitching.
Step 15: Finish the Back Piece
Stitch all the edges together with wax thead, then fold the flaps to make a sleeve for the backlegs.
stitch on the 24mm tabs on to the smaller flap. try it on the frame to make sure it fits nicely.
Step 16: Finish the Leather Seat
Stitch all 8 of the tabs onto the seat piece. the front 2 are 24mm the back 6 are 40mm.
wrap around the frame to make sure they fit nicely.
measure the gap underneath to make the length of the belt acrordingly.
Step 17: Making Belt X5
Make 5 500mm long belts
two of them are made with square belt buckle on each end. I included a belt keeper ( the small loop) on each one to make the final assemble neater.
the 3 thicker ones are made with button snap. they can hold quite a lot of weight. and it is more economical to use. the holes on the tabs have to be sliced open a bit more to fit this button snap. again , belt keeper on each one to keep them neater.
Step 18: Final Assemble!
Now is the time to attach all the belt together with the seat piece and back piece.
the belt is not really tightly wrapped around the frame however, it provides enough tensions for comfortable sitting.
Now it is complete! and ready to sit on!
Second Prize in the
2 years ago
I love the look of the laminated plywood on the legs.
2 years ago
Nice job. Your leather work is amazing. I think the plywood would look better with some Danish oil or shellac on it to bring out the plys.
Reply 2 years ago
Thank you for the tip. I will apply a layer of clear varnish in the future.