|Project by Ron Stewart||posted 01-01-2016 10:11 PM||6298 views||6 times favorited||7 comments|
My wife finds sitting for long periods on our computer chair uncomfortable, and she wondered if one of those C-shaped or X-shaped posture/kneeling chairs would be better. The theory is that they shift some of your body weight to your shins and put your spine in a more natural position.
We couldn’t find one to try in any of the local office supply stores, so I searched the web for plans, and I found a nice set at http://www.craftsmanspace.com/free-projects/kneeling-chair-plans.html. The chair has three height settings, with provisions for more if needed (by drilling more holes for the X-axle). I basically followed the plans, but I widened the seat and knee boards and support cylinders from 14” to 18”. 14” just seemed too narrow.
Here are photos of the finished project. Because I built this chair as an experiment, I didn’t finish it (or agonize too much about the router/saw burn marks you may spot in the photos). My wife thinks it’s going to work out, but we won’t know for sure until the holidays are over and she uses it for an extended time. Both the seat and knee boards are removable, so I can apply a finish later without risking messing up the fabric.
The support cylinders are 2” diameter poplar (I think) dowels.The other structural parts are 2” x 1 1/2” oak (created by laminating pairs of 2 1/2” x 3/4” hobby wood from Lowe’s or Home Depot) and then ripping
to 2” width. The seat and knee boards (hidden by the upholstery) are made of 3/4” birch plywood and padded with 3” foam.
Building the chair wasn’t very difficult. I made good use of a 2” diameter Porter Cable Forstner bit I bought for the project. Figuring out how to cut the acute angles took some puzzling over, but a Google search took care of that.
February 14, 2016 Update
I promised an update, and here it is (very late). The bottom line is that the chair didn’t work out for my wife. She said it didn’t feel all that different from a regular chair unless she used the highest seat setting. Even then, she said it didn’t transfer enough of the support to her shins.
I’ve also put in some time in it. In my case, I tried both the lowest and middle height settings, and the I found the weight distribution to be very different at either setting. (Maybe it’s because I weight a lot more than her.) It was comfortable enough, but I still prefer our normal office chair. One noteworthy aspect of this type of chair is that it’s best for very focused work. It’s not good for reaching over or behind to grab a book or scrap paper, and you can’t sit on it and tie your shoes, etc. It might work in combination with an normal chair, but who has room for two chairs?
I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. Maybe I’ll see if somebody at my workplace can make use of it, or try to sell it on Craigslist.
-- Ron Stewart