Build a Lawn Chair From Recycled Skis - the Ski Chair!




It's campfire season and everyone can use a comfy chair for marshmallow roasting! I happened to have a couple pairs of broken, worn out skis collecting dust in my garage (that's right, skis wear out, they can crack and more commonly bindings get old and unsafe). I thought I would save them from the landfill and try my hand at turning them into an "epic lawn chair, man"!

This Instructable describes how to create your own lawn chair from recycled skis. I've included step by step instructions and even a 3D Model of the design. It's important to note before you head out to buy material that you may need to change these plans slightly depending on the length and width of your skis, see details in the first step.

Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed

Materials required:

  • 3.5 pairs of skis (you can tweak it, but for this design I used 7 skis). I only had 3 pairs, but it was easy to find skis for < $7 at Goodwill
  • 2 - 2"x4" x 8' - I used untreated lumber and added paint, but treated lumber would work well for this project
  • 1.5" deck screws (choose screws which are intended for the out of doors)
  • 2.5" deck screws
  • 3" screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint and brushes
  • Tape (optional) - to hold skis in place while assembling

Tools required:

  • Wood Saw - I used a handsaw for the 2x4s since it's what I had on hand :-)
  • Metal Saw - the ski edges are tough metal, I used a reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade, but a hacksaw, circular saw, radial arm saw or jigsaw with the right blade could all work as well.
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Carpenter's Angle / T-square - something to measure angles, hey there's even an app for that!
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Vise
  • 2 Clamps (nice to have when attaching the chair back)
  • Counter Sink bit (optional) - ski's are tough, I decided to countersink so the screws didn't stick out
  • Silicone glue (optional) - I used glue to fill in holes left from the bindings...probably not necessary.
  • Sandpaper (optional) - makes for smoother edges after cutting

Gather your materials and adjust plans accordingly:

Skis vary in width, even if you use the same number of skis I used, you may have to adjust the width of this chair based on the skis you come up with. I'd recommend you lay out your skis to get a feel for how the back will look. Then measure to check the required width. After I laid out the 5 skis I was planning to use, (these skis varied from 3" to 4" inches wide), a chair width of 20" worked perfectly.

Step 2: ​Start With the Seat and the Sides

The Seat: The seat frame is a nice easy 20"x20" square dimension. But note that usually a 2x4 is about 1.5" wide, but 2x4's can vary in width. Measure and cut two side boards to 20" and then make the other two boards 17" (or 20" - 2 x width of your lumber). Sand edges for a more pro look and to avoid chipping.

Screw the seat boards together with 4 3" screws. One screw on each end of the longer boards should be all you need to complete the seat frame

The Sides: For the side boards we need 2 pieces 38" long. Cut an angle of 40 degrees on the top and 5 degrees on the bottom. We also need the two shorter pieces cut to 26.5".

One 3" screw on the top of the connection should be enough for now.

The Back: The back 2x4 should be the width of the chair plus 3" on each side for the "arm-rest skis" to attach to - that's 26 inches for this design (20" + 3"x2)

Optionally Paint: Especially if you used untreated wood, you'll want to add a layer or two of outdoor paint or stain. I found this to be a good time in the process to paint, allowed me to cover the wood better and avoid getting paint on the I had ski's to cut while the paint dried!

Step 3: Cut the Skis!

Cutting the skis can be a little tough and that's not just as you recall all the good times had carving down those black diamond runs, but skis are literally tough and they won't give up easily.

First remove the bindings, these are screwed in and the screws may be hidden in the bindings. I didn't have much trouble here, but some blogs I've read indicate you may run into bindings glued in really tight (Also don't throw the bindings away, see the last step for an idea to use them as cup holders!). I'll also mention that under the bindings, skis are often metal reinforced so you'll run into tough sledding when trying to cut and drill this portion of the ski. Also the ski edges are metal, so take care cutting through them. As you approach the edges of the ski with the saw blade, be sure to cut and not push or you may cause the edge to pull away from the ski leaving a sharp, jagged edge.

The Seat Pieces. You'll need 5 ski tails 21.5 inches long for this design. Mark and carefully cut these sections paying special attention as you reach the edges of the skis. The edges are metal embedded in the skis and if you force the cut too much you'll pull the edge out making for an ugly and rough edge.

The Back Pieces. Once again, lay out the skis in the pattern you'd like for the back. I made a fairly straight pattern but with staggered lengths (some folks will flay out the back skis in a more Adirondack chair style). Pay attention to the center ski first of all as this is the ski you'll need to be the longest.

Step 4: Assemble the Chair

Attach the seat frame to the sides: Mark a line at 18.5" from the bottom of the chair. This is where the top of the seat will line up. Make that a 5 degree angle so the seat leans back just a bit. Screw the seat frame to the sides from the inside of the frame. This will leave fewer screws visible on the finished product (2 screws on the front leg and 1 on the back)

Attach the seat top skis: the five 21.5" seat base sections attach to the seat with 2.5" screws one screw in the middle of the back, one in the front (these are screws that will need to be pre-drilled and countersunk). You'll want to lay them out evenly making sure you can match up the bottom ski to the top section of the ski.

Attach the back skis at the base: I used 2 staggered screws on the bottom, but only attached one at first so I could fine-tune the angle of the skis before final placement.

Attach the back piece: When attaching the 2 x 4 on the middle back of the chair, it's handy to have a pair of clamps to hold things in can probably get by without them (maybe borrow another pair of hands). Clamp the board, make final adjustments and use 1 2.5" screw for each ski (predrilling, countersinking and screwing in from the front of the chair)

Attach the Arms: the arms require two screws on the back and one in the front. Note that I did not center the arm on the front 2x4, this should make it easier to get in and out of the chair.

Optional Beverage Holder - check out the beverage holder feature I'm working on, made of two toe bindings!!

That's it, congratulations! Thanks for checking out my Instructable and good luck with all your projects!

Now let's roast some marshmallows!

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    20 Discussions


    7 months ago

    In the materials list it specifies some 1/1/5" deck screws, but in the instructions it doesn't call for them. Where are they used? Some of the steps specify when to use 3:, 2 1/5" inch. A couple of the steps just say "attach with screws" but not which size.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 months ago

    Sorry about that, I can't really verify these steps at this point, best advice would be to line up the screws next to where you want to use them and make sure they won't go all the way through


    1 year ago

    Great instructions - thanks for posting these. I finally made it. Now hopefully we'll get some nice sunny days in Scotland next summer so that I can use it.

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    I misread that part. I understand my mistake. What angle is the board cut at where the armrest sits.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    also 5 degrees..I think that is also tweakable...especially if you choose to lean the angle of the back of the chair back a bit


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    yes I believe that is to make the back legs lay flatter on the ground I think you could check that and adjust the 5 degree angle during assembly if you want...since mine was sitting around a campfire and not on a flat surface it didn't need to be totally exact


    4 years ago on Introduction

    It looks like the iron throne but with skis, pretty grandiose.

    If you're, say, sitting on top of a snowy hill and someone attacks you from the front, can you tilt back and escape as if it were a sled ? Cause I think you should put that option in your designe just in case

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    True! but much safer to sit on that the Iron Throne.

    Hey if we add the sled feature then should it be called the "The Luge" Ski Build


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great minds think alike! Did you see the picture of it on the 4th step? I didn't want to mount it directly on the arm I'm thinking of a hinge or something on the side board...kind of like a school chair/desk, you'll pull it up and lock it in place when you need a cupholder :-)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice work! I've seen a few ski chairs in my day, and I really like your simple design.

    Thanks for sharing this. I need to make a couple!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks and great job on the bike rack too...I like how the poles line up !