Introduction: Deckchair With Baby Version

About: I'm an Italian freelance structural engineer, graphic designer and photographer, now I'm teaching physics in Waldorf high-schools. I always investigate electronics, robotics and science in general, I'm a passi…

This summer I built some deckchairs. They came out so nice that I decided to improve some variations too. This instructable will give you the opportunity to built them by yourself before next summer, supposed that you live in north hemisphere ;)

What does it have to do with epilog contest? Imagine to cut my blueprints on a 20mm acrylic plate (or two 10mm plates to glue together), or on some plywood boards. Your deckchair will be ready in an instant, and you can probably make something really unique.

Step 1: The Sample

To begin I copied dimensions from an old Italian handmade deckchair, which I also refurbished. Since fabric was linked to wood profile through metal staples, I modified the original frame and designed a new project for my chairs, so that you can remove the fabric and easily wash it. I also made the frames longer, and the deckchair became a special version for tall people, which is anyway good for normal people too.

Step 2: Project

Exact dimensions usually depends by profiles section, which is about 21x45mm in my case. In my blueprint you can see a view of the close frame and the exploded components aligned to the frame on the corresponding sides.

In pdf file you can find projects for all three versions described in this instructables.

Step 3: Material

Material choice for this type of furniture is essential since it gives personality and determines the style of your piece.
I chose antique wood boards coming from an old Italian roof, they probably are 80 years old. I sanded them and cut at the right length.

Step 4: The Grooves

Draw grooves dimensions on the wood faces, then cut them by hand or with a sawing machine. Using a file and sandpaper smooth the edges.

Step 5: Some File Job

Here you can see how I filed part of the edges of the boards which will fit in the grooves at various positions to change backrest slope and chair height.
Begin with a rounded rasp, then refine with a file and smooth out with sandpaper.

Step 6: Dowel Holes

When you have all profiles with right length you can drill holes in the extremities of the short sides of the frames.
There is no need to be extremely precise, just don't drill too much near to the edge or the joint will be weak.
I used a pair of 8mm wood dowels to connect larger bars together, usually 6mm are too small and 10mm not so handy.

Step 7: Fastening Profiles

For thinner profiles which fasten the fabric loop I opted for single 10mm dowels. drill holes in extremities and smooth edges.

Step 8: Armrests

Armrests are a characteristic detail for these deckchairs. You can change shape if you wish, and you will see that I did it for one of next project variations.
In the pictures you can see that I cut the armrests from some wood boards, I smoothed edges on top surface, I drilled holes for dowels in the supports, I painted everything with walnut mordent and glued supports and armrests together with vynilic glue.

Step 9: Colouring

To give a better look to some bars you can paint them. Especially the faces you just cut are very flat and light in comparison to the old look of other faces.
I used walnut colored mordent, just dilute with water to set the darkness.

Step 10: Drilling Pairing Holes

To determine exact position of corresponding holes for dowels you can use special metal cylinders with a spike on one face. Insert two of them in holes you already drilled and press the parts together so the spikes will leave a mark in the opposite piece.
Then set the column drill stopper so that holes will be deep as much as half dowel or a bit more.
If you look at the first picture you see that drill bit of on contact with wood surface and graded marker is locked on 16mm, when lever is at the lower position and hole is completely made the gauge show zero. That means the home is 16mm deep.

Step 11: Pivots

All pivots for this project are 8mm diameter bolts, with corresponding nuts and washers. Look in the photo where you will recognize two 8cm long bolts with heads for screwdriver, four 6cm and two 8cm long bolts with self-locking heads. There are two self-locking and six rounded-head nuts. Bigger washers have 32mm external diameter.
Use a special drill bit to make space for bolt heads and nuts inside the wood, especially where there are adjacent boards. I used a 22mm bit to guest self-locking nuts and 26mm bit to make space for bolts heads.

Step 12: Assemble Frames

When every part is drilled with 8mm holes and bigger holes to guest bolt heads and nuts, you can assemble frames.
Add glue and dowels in the holes and push parts one against other, sometimes you will need an hammer.
You can place clamps and belts, but wait to tight them.

Step 13: Checking Perpendicularity

As you see from the pictures you can use clamps or belts to make the glue drying in the best way.
Especially in this project where are moving parts and joints, perfect perpendicularity is essential. We already know that parallel sides have the same length, that's easy to do, but we also need to measure diagonals.
If diagonals are not equal use a cord to shorten the longer one, until it's needed. Then you can tight clamps and belts more. Wait enough time, usually some hours, before open them.

Step 14: Assembling

All frames are now glued and it's time to assemble the chair.
Some bolts need to be cut at a certain length, which is difficult to anticipate because some profiles differ a bit, especially if they come from an antique roof frame.
The best way is to assemble the frame with all washers in place and measure where the cut should be made. Mark the exact length or cut it in place.
At the end you can use a special product on the thread to avoid nuts to unscrew.

Step 15: Finishing Paint

To improve the appearance of these beautiful pieces of furniture I treated them with walnut colored mordant, shellac and wax (last image), in this right order.
But before painting the frames you can impregnate the thin parts where are footing of the diagonal support with a special soluble natural resin which will make them harder and tougher (second and third photos).

Step 16: Fabric

Here is the second detail which will determine a great looking for your chair. You can buy special fabric made for deckchairs, or you can cut a fabric you think is good for it.
After sewing the hem I sewed a loop at one end of the fabric and used a clamp to the opposite edge to test different length and determine the best solution. In my opinion and with my geometry the fabric should stay stretched when the chair is closed.

Step 17: Fabric Locking Solution

Here you can see which method I chose to keep the fabric in place. Some deckchairs have the fabric locked to the wood boards with staples, but that is not handy when you will need to wash it. Just insert a wood bar in the fabric loop. If you have the feeling that this thin bar on the top side of the chair is annoying (solution B), you can make the fabric longer and surrounding the thinner profile too, so that the bar will stay on the bottom side (solution C). I used this method in one of the following variations.

Step 18: Make Someone Happy

The deckchairs are now completed and if people testing the chair will refuse to stand up your success is undeniable!

Step 19: Lying Version

After the success of first version I felt the desire to test new geometry, so I drew a shorter and lower deckchair.

Step 20: Making Of

You can see pictures taken during making process. Armchairs incorporate two holes as glass holders.

Step 21: Frame Comparison

Deckchair frame is here complete, you can see proportions compared to a classic chair and to the first deckchair version.

Step 22: Fabric

This fabric is made specially for deckchair, and it has a classic pattern.
Someone liked this chair so much and made me happy, try it and you will fall asleep at once.

Step 23:

Step 24: The Baby Version

Last made deckchair is the baby version. It's a special present for my little nephew. As always I chose old wood, but this time I paid more attention to remove any sliver of wood, sharp corner and anything which could hurt a child.

Step 25: Making Of

I sanded it and I cut the many pieces.

Step 26: Wedges

File the edge portions where wedges are. Try to not make wood too much thin or it will brake.

Step 27: Grooves

I made grooves as before, draw then on the board side, then cut and smooth.

Step 28: Armchairs

Armchairs boards were bed slats. I drilled holes for dowels and glued them to wood supports.

Step 29: Holes and Seats

Drill 8mm holes and also seats for nuts and bolt heads. Remember that self-locking nuts need a small seat so to be hammered in.

Step 30: Dowels

Use the method described before. Drill holes on the bars extremities, and with special metal cylinders mark the hole center on the opposite board.

Step 31: Glue

Drip glue in the holes, insert dowels, connect parts, tighten with clamps, and check perpendicularity.

Step 32: Verify and Paint

When everything is glued take off clamps and verify the assembling.
If everything is OK you can paint parts with mordent and shellac.

Step 33: Assembling

Metal joints are the same of the bigger brothers. If wood bars are enough straight a big washer between two adjacent bars designs be fine. But the space could be wider so you can choose to insert two washers instead.

Step 34: Fabric Fastening

Awesome, frame is ready to receive a cool fabric. This time the fabric fastening is different again. Loop is now on the bottom side of the frame, and the fabric doesn't make any revolution around the frame (solution A). This solution is not suggested if the frame is wider and the allowed guest weight higher.

Step 35: Testing Time

As always a try is a must, and you shouldn't have any difficulty to find a tester if your bottom is too wide ;)

Epilog Contest VII

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Epilog Contest VII