How to Make a Folding Cedar Lawn Chair | DIY Project
Looking to buy a new lawn chair?
Why buy a folding lawn chair from a store when you can easily make one?
A chair like the one in a picture is a dream of every home owner. But buying such one can cost you a few bucks. Instead, you can now build a beautiful folding cedar lawn chair by yourself at home.
As you can see, the chair is very good looking and comfortable. It hardly takes one day for an experienced woodworker to complete this project.
I managed to complete it in just 5-6 hours. This project doesn’t involve the use of nails, screws or any glue, but needs some bolts and nuts for joining. You also need a few 2×2 lumber boards, measured and cut to proper dimensions. The chair looks beautiful, even without a paint coating. I kept mine unstained but added a sealer for extra protection. In this tutorial, we will be sharing the step by step procedure for building this good looking folding lawn chair. This is a very simple project, even for beginners. The chair can be easily folded and stored in any small space during the winter or rainy season.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your woodworking tools and start now.
Items Needed for this Project
Here is the list of materials and tools you will need to complete this DIY woodworking project.
- (11) 1 1/2" x 1" x 6" [Eleven lumbers, each of 1 1/2" x 1" x 6" dimension]
- (2) 1 1/2" x 1" x 40"
- (2) 5 1/2" x 1" x 24"
- (2) 1 1/2" x 1" x 2"
- (8) 1 1/2" x 1" x 12"
- (8) 1 1/2" x 1" x 27 1 /2"
- (4) Threaded rods #8
- (8) Washers #8
- (8) Nuts #8
- (8) Cap nuts #8
- Measuring tape
- Table saw, chop saw, hacksaw, jigsaw (optional)
- Cordless drill
- Drill press
- Double side tape
- Sandpaper (optional)
All these items can be purchased from any local hardware store or online from this Amazon store: http://astore.amazon.com/thewood0c-20
If you are a woodworker, you must already have many of these items. You can shop around to look for some deals before buying the remaining items online. Buy only good quality and strong materials, especially the wood. It should be strong enough to handle large weights and stand usual climate effects.
Step 1: Choosing the right wood and cutting the pieces
First, you need to choose the right lumber for this woodworking project. The author here selects Cedar as it is a good outdoor wood and holds up really well. You can choose any other you like.
Wood can be purchased from a local hardware or furniture store. Once you got the wood, you need to cut them down to the right dimensions as mentioned in the above list. Use a tape measure and a pencil to measure and mark the exact positions on the wood where it needs to be cut. Use a table saw to cut the wood into desired pieces (see the image below). One must have good woodworking experience for this.
Alternatively, you can buy the lumber pieces already cut and trimmed
Once you’re done
- Use a proper work bench for cutting down the wood.
- Do this yourself only if you have enough woodcutting experience for this level of work. Or you can seek help from a professional.
- Be very careful when using a table saw.
- Use a sharp pencil to make the markings on the wood and cut exactly.
Step 2: Drilling the holes
Now that you have all the pieces for the chair, you need to drill proper holes in all of them so that they can be joined when and however required. You can use a drill press for this. Do not forget to set up a stop block for the right measurements. The 6” and 27 ½”
Then, you need to drill two holes on each of the 12’’ pieces, one ¾” from one end, and the second hole 2 1/8” from the other end.
The 40” pieces also need two holes each, ¾” from one end, and 13 ½” from the other. Then, you need to make two holes on each of the 24” back legs, one ¾” in from the top, and one 10’’ ahead on the same line. See the image.
Drilling holes should not be a tough task, but it can be when you need to drill so many. Precision is the key here. Remember to setup the stop blocks properly to make the exact holes in the first attempt. Read more tips below to be able to do this task smoothly.
- Use a drill press whenever possible as it keeps the work steady.
- Use proper stop blocks.
- Set up the block at the right dimension to be able to drill the right holes.
- Wear safety glasses if possible
- Wear fit clothes and shoes while working with machines and screws.
- Make a guide hole before drilling the exact hole.
Step 3: Designing the shape of the back legs
As you can see in the final product picture, the back legs are in a weird shape. You can do that to give your lawn chair a unique style. For this, you will first need to mark the shape on one of two 24" back legs. See the image below
Join the two pieces using a two-sided tape. Then, you can use the jigsaw to cut the pieces along the marked line. Trim the edges of the pieces using a router to give them a proper shape. It should look something like this,
- Cut a shape that you are comfortable with or just use the back legs as they are.
- Use the jigsaw carefully and steadily to cut the correct marked positions.
- Take the help of a professional if you are not up to the task.
- Use a wood trimmer or router to even out the edges of the legs.
- Make sure that both legs are exactly same in shape and size.
Step 4: Assembling the pieces
It is time to start assembling the pieces to make the final piece. Lay out two 40’’s and eight 27 1 /2" pieces as shown in the picture below. Put a threaded rod in the holes on one side by hand. Use the washer and cap nuts to close the sides of the rod.
Now, lay out the eleven 6" pieces in between the other sides of the work, such that the holes coincide with each other. See the image. You need to insert another threaded rod through the holes here. Instead of doing that by hands, you can hook the rod into a drill machine and then feed it in the holes. This is the easiest way to do the task. Make sure that the rod passes through each piece and they all are tied together firmly.
When the rod comes out on the other side, use the nuts and the washer to seal the both sides. Cut the excess rod using a hacksaw.
Repeat the same process to fix the two back legs in between the 6" pieces. Follow the images below. Use two more threaded rods the same way before and complete the assembly. Do not forget to seal both sides of the rods properly using nuts and washers.
Use a hacksaw to cut any uneven or exposed surface on the chair. After that, you can install the stop blocks at the back of the chair. Take the two 2’’ pieces and drill one hole in each piece. Now, drill one hole in each of two 24’’ legs of the chair and attach the stop blocks using screws. See the image. The task of the stop blocks here is to block the 27 1/2" pieces.
- Make proper joints to ensure that the pieces don’t move individually.
- Properly fix the nuts and joints so that they do not get loose.
- Make sure that all the pieces are of right size and align with each other.
- Use strong threaded rods to join the parts.
- Install the hacksaw blade such that its teeth face forward.
Step 5: Staining and Painting
You can choose to leave the chair as it is if you like its natural finish. But I would recommend using a good quality oil paint to give it extra protection, especially if you are going to use it for outdoor purposes. Or you can simply use a sealer.
Use a durable finish to give your chair a beautiful and rustic look. The chair in the image has been painted using General Finishes Arm-R-Seal that has been applied using a basic paint brush. Once the process is completed, let the paint dry for a while. Some woodworkers may also consider painting the individual pieces before joining the assembly of the chair. That is an easier and more preferred method.
Your folding lawn chair is now ready to use.
- Use a good quality, durable paint to finish the chair.
- Use a proper safety mask while using the stain or paint.
- Level any scratches or uneven surfaces using sandpaper before you start to paint.
- Use a good quality brush and do not overlap the already painted area.
- Let the paint soak properly into the wood to ensure a lasting finish.
- Stir the paint can before opening it.
- Use a proper steady workbench to perform the cutting operations
- You can also set up the workpiece on a rubber mat to keep it from moving.
This awesome tutorial is inspired from a video tutorial created and shared by Carl Jacobson, who is a professional woodworker at Woodshoptv. The link to the video tutorial is attached below. You can see the video for more information and details of this particular project.
You can also get in touch with Carl using his YouTube profile (https://www.youtube.com/user/haydenHD) or his website (thewoodshop.tv) if you have any questions related to this project or want to know more about his work.
I am sure that after reading this tutorial and watching the video linked above, you will manage to build a beautiful lawn chair yourself. You still need to have previous woodworking experience as this project involves some serious use of saws, driller and other machines. I would not therefore recommend doing it as your first woodworking project. It took me about 5 hours to complete this project, and I was happy with the end result.
Tell me if you enjoyed this tutorial and found it interesting and useful. I have tried my best to make each step as easy to understand and follow as possible. If you still have any question or doubt, you can ask them in the comments here and we will reply asap. Feel free to share this tutorial with more of your friends and fellow woodworkers who would love themselves a nice folding lawn chair. Follow the pro tips mentioned at each step for a smoother woodworking experience.