Guitar Chair #2

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Project by JayG46 posted 12-02-2014 11:23 AM 4280 views 21 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The story of this piece starts with the first guitar chair I built last year. Last spring I got an email from a guy in Chicago who found the first chair on this site and was wondering if it was for sale. I said, yes, it was in my apartment but I would certainly be interested in selling it.

It was a birthday present for his brother, so the timing was tight. I got in the shop the next day, built a crate out of particle board, padded the chair all around with cork and screwed the feet into the bottom of the crate. I dropped it off at UPS later that day, headed for Chicago. I got call from the guy a few days later that the package had arrived but he had to refuse delivery on it because the chair was “in several pieces”. Looking back, the base of the chair was built with relatively thin stock (4/4) and it wasn’t as study as it could have been, but I had the package insured and eventually I was paid my claim on the chair. The incident was kind of embarrassing and frustrating but the guy who ordered it was understanding. I’m not sure what they ended up getting his brother for his birthday…

After it was all over, I knew I would build another guitar chair and that this one would be much more solid. In the last year and change, I’ve also picked up plenty of more tools, skills and techniques, and used quite a few of them in this build.

The base has a compound angle splay of seven degrees and is made of 6/4 sapele, joined with 12mm dominoes and reinforced with screws plugged with hard maple. The seat and back rest are curly maple and sapele. To scoop out the seat, I started by highlighting three different areas with chalk to denote different depths I would drill to.

I then took it over to the drill press and using the depth stop, hogged away the majority of the material with a 1.5” carbide forstner bit. I’ve used other methods to scoop a seat before and this one seemed to be the easiest and quickest. From there, I used a angle grinder with a Lance-a-lot attachment, then a Holy Galahad. Next up was the Festool RO150 in rotary mode with 40 grit, 80 grit, random orbit mode, and so on. All in all, it took about two hours to go from flat to finish ready.

The back rest is coopered with 5 degree angles each side of the three large maple pieces. The back supports were extremely tricky since the compound-compound angles involved with attaching them to a leg that is tilting in and over to a back rest that is wrapping around. /head explodes

The finish is Odies Oil and Odies Wax, the first time that I have used their products. It was easy to apply and left a beautiful sheen.

Thanks for checking it out.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

14 comments so far

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

445 posts in 2571 days

#1 posted 12-02-2014 12:06 PM

Beautiful piece of furniture. Looks very solid and heavy duty. Nice colors and wood choice. It didn’t surprise me to hear the first one was broken during shipping. Happened to me too. those packages and crates get thrown around and abused.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View rdwile's profile


160 posts in 2347 days

#2 posted 12-02-2014 12:16 PM

I like the chalk approach for marking out the depths, allows you to visualize the scoop much better, will definitely do that on my next chair. Nice Hollowbody!

-- Richard D. Wile,

View JayG46's profile


139 posts in 2094 days

#3 posted 12-02-2014 02:59 PM

Thanks Jim. If the package had been handled gently, it wouldn’t have been a problem but I guess you have to assume the worst.

Richard – thanks, I love that PRS. Bought it almost 10 years ago. Chalk is a nice thing to have in the shop. I use it to label parts becase it’s easy to see and easy to remove. This was the first time I’ve used it for layout and it worked out well.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 2107 days

#4 posted 12-02-2014 04:20 PM

This is gorgeous, great work.

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Ken90712's profile


17614 posts in 3425 days

#5 posted 12-02-2014 04:31 PM

Wow a real beauty! Love it.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4454 days

#6 posted 12-02-2014 06:25 PM

Great job! I really like this idea.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Northwest29's profile


1664 posts in 2726 days

#7 posted 12-02-2014 06:50 PM

Excellent work! I too love the contrasting woods it is quite attractive and obviously functional as well.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View Tom Regnier's profile

Tom Regnier

316 posts in 2783 days

#8 posted 12-02-2014 10:56 PM

Really nice build. It’s unique and yet very functional. I have a few friends that would love something like this….could you share the dimensions?

View JayG46's profile


139 posts in 2094 days

#9 posted 12-02-2014 11:47 PM

Thanks, Tom.

Here are some dimensions:

The top of the seat is 31” from the ground, 16” from the foot rest and 20” from the guitar rest. The body of my PRS is 18” long, so I wanted to leave a little extra clearance on that side.

The seat is 17” wide in the front and 13.5” in the back.

The footprint of the base is 18” wide and 20” deep.

The back rest is 6” high at the most and 12” wide.

Hope that helps. Jeff Miller’s book called “Chair Making and Design” has a part in the beginning where it discusses the standard dimensions for chairs and that is generally where I start when I’m building something to sit on. From there, make some tweaks in the shop based on what feels comfortable. Your mileage, and that of the people that you are going to build it for may vary.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

View Woodknack's profile


12463 posts in 2616 days

#10 posted 12-03-2014 07:05 AM

When I first saw the picture I thought, hey this looks like that other chair from last year! Even though they are different, both were definitely made by the same hand. Bummer about the old chair but I love the new chair.

-- Rick M,

View majuvla's profile


13591 posts in 3103 days

#11 posted 12-03-2014 07:47 AM

Realy nice chair.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View hotncold's profile


784 posts in 1780 days

#12 posted 12-03-2014 05:21 PM

Really beautiful work and I was not familiar with Lance-a-Lot and Holey Galahad. Perfect tools for what you needed to do with the seat.
Excellent job!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View iminmyshop's profile


287 posts in 2230 days

#13 posted 12-03-2014 08:58 PM

That seat looks great and looks really comfortable too.
I’m curious. Do you mind telling how much the Chicago person willing to pay for the chair and how many hours it took to build? I’m often asked to build things for people and have a hard time figuring out what to charge. It always takes much longer than I expect to design and build, especially for the first prototype and uses some pretty costly machinery plus materials etc.
Anyway, thanks for posting.


View JayG46's profile


139 posts in 2094 days

#14 posted 12-05-2014 10:45 AM

Iminmyshop – I’m in the same boat as you. Figuring out what to charge is one of the hardest parts of selling your stuff and there is an incredibly fine line between getting what you feel you deserve and what someone is willing to pay – and sometimes some negative overlap.

I had the chair at a craft fair and priced it at $450. My craft show pricing tends to be very low since I want to move items and get satisfied customers. It’s not a great place to make money unless you are selling inexpensive things that you can make out of cheap materials in a short amount of time. If I don’t sell things at the craft show, it goes back in my storage unit or ends up as a gift and those don’t get you much ROI!

It’s been a long time and I don’t remember how long I spent on the first chair maybe 25-30 hours. When the guy from Chicago called, I think we agreed on $500 including shipping, which turned out to be about $115. When I’m selling something I’ve built for fun or on spec, I’m much more willing to negotiate the price. That chair wasn’t worth much to me sitting in my apartment and I was happy to sell it.

When someone is asking me to do something custom I try to do an hourly calculation based on the skill level necessary. I’ve charged $25/hour to do basic carpentry repairs at someone’s house and $35/hour to do real “furniture making” work at the shop. I don’t pay out of pocket for my shop space so my overhead is low – I think most professionals who pay rent and have larger businesses probably charge more.

Eventually, I hope my rate can increase but this is still a part time thing for me and I want to build a bigger client base before I make the jump to full time. It can be really hard to tell if you are selling yourself short in this type of business, but I think its better to err to the side of caution instead of overcharging and turning people off. Hopefully it will pay off in the long run.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

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