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Dining Room Chair Fail

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Project by Dustbringer posted 07-31-2018 05:52 PM 1045 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’d built a really sturdy dining room table a few years back that fit my LARGE family, but we were still rolling office chairs into service and unfolding soccer chairs to provide a seat for everybody. I put the plan together for this chair from a few different sources – I was looking for simple design and NO wood bending. The chair turned out sturdy enough, but it was way too big and to straight.

-- .:Dustbriner:.





11 comments so far

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3163 posts in 2399 days


#1 posted 07-31-2018 09:29 PM

Dust, dining chairs tend to not have too much tilt to them. I think 7 degrees is common IIRC. However, you might go as much as 10 degrees. I have made the fronts of chairs about 18” wide and 16” deep with about 5 degrees to make the back narrower. I would not recommend using pocket hole joinery for your dining chairs but you probably only did that for your mock up intending to use M&T and glued and screwed corner blocks your finished products. The lower portion of the back legs looks a little thin to my eye. Finally, I am NOT a master chair maker so take all my comments for what they might be worth. HTH

-- Art

View Dustbringer's profile

Dustbringer

11 posts in 76 days


#2 posted 07-31-2018 09:54 PM

Good suggestions, Art. This was a few years back before I even knew what joinery was – that’s not an exaggeration. The table I built earlier was from an Ana White set of plans that called for pocket holes – so I bought pocket holes without having the first notion of WHY or what might be better. So I went into this chair idea with a single arrow in my quiver. I’ll circle back to this in a few years, much enlightened and with more slivers under my belt to show experience.

-- .:Dustbriner:.

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)

therealSteveN

1393 posts in 716 days


#3 posted 07-31-2018 09:58 PM

Congrats on a first chair.

Comfy and dining chairs aren’t always in the same sentence, especially in our day and age where sitting down to eat is considered loss of valuable time, why bother more than Ikea for a 30 second sit down. That chair had some sweep, but it appears it was all absorbed in the legs, and the back does appear pretty straight up.

LOML has had me at wits end for “the comfy chair” for all too many tasks. I got so I never went anywhere with her without bringing along these 2 items. It was LOML’s job to sit on every chair she liked the looks of, looking for the right fit. My job was to get measurements of all the parts to bring home. If sales clerks get pesky just tell them you want to make sure it fits at home, and the height is small enough to fit under a desk you already have. Sensing a sure sale they are helpful with the measuring then.

First a miter angle gauge, or Protractor. This will quickly tell me all the angles, back or seat, doesn’t matter.

Starrett 505P-7 Protractor

Also a 10’ measuring tape, a 6’ tape would suffice a chair, but that extra 4’ has kept me from guessing on other things more than once. Kinda like a pocket knife, always handy to have. 10’ isn’t much different in size than 6’.

You’ve already built a chair, now you just need to build one proportioned correctly.

Bending wood is easy, gets MUCH easier per unit as you build more of the same thing. The hardest part is finding a steam generator that fits your budget. My best tip there is make a 30 second stop at EVERY garage sale you pass, and ask if they have a steamer, wall paper steamer in the sale. Usually 5 bux will do it. I’ve bought several through the years, and I don’t think I went to more than 5 stops to get one, but I’m in the country, stops are further apart, but the people have all the tools to do all the jobs, so if none are found in town, head out.

Bending gets easier because you only need to build ONE box, ONE form, and put together ONE steamer. but using them again and again you could make 50 chairs easily. Other chairs are just different forms.

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)

therealSteveN

1393 posts in 716 days


#4 posted 07-31-2018 10:06 PM

Looks like the dog liked how it sat. :-)

-- Think safe, be safe

View Jeremymcon's profile

Jeremymcon

289 posts in 822 days


#5 posted 07-31-2018 10:10 PM

If you’re still in need of seating, maybe try building a bench? They’re easy – basically a long, low table! And no steam bending! I think a chair almost has to be bent (or at least have curves sawn out of thicker stock) to really be comfortable.

You should take a look at Chris Schwarz’s “staked” chairs too. They do require thick hardwood stock for the legs, but thick oak isn’t too hard to come by. Also of you have a couple wedges, a drawknife, and a nice straight grained log you can split the legs right from a tree! I did that for my walnut rocking chair, and it worked great! Plus that method is way cheaper than buying thick kiln dried – if you know someone with some wooded land you could get it for free. Just have to let the split and roughly rounded blanks dry for a while before you use them. Mine dried for a year, but the probably only really needed a few months.

View Dustbringer's profile

Dustbringer

11 posts in 76 days


#6 posted 07-31-2018 10:32 PM

@Steve – its funny how people stare when I drop to the ground to get details on a piece of furniture. I keep a notepad with me to sketch ideas (an of course a handy cell phone camera).

@Jeremy – If my kids were still small, I’d have gone with the bench idea and been lauded a genius by the entire clan. Now they’re all huge and would probably shake their combined heads at my corner cutting that deprived them of a backrest. Dining Room table v2 will send the current one outside (it looks like a big picnic table), so it will definitely get its bench then.

-- .:Dustbriner:.

View handi's profile

handi

154 posts in 4581 days


#7 posted 07-31-2018 10:47 PM

Dust Bringer,

I made a set of chairs for my dining table last year. They are featured in episodes 5&6 of my Woodcademy TV show on Amazon Prime. There are free plans you can download. www.woodcademy.com/wctv

I did do a light steam bend on the back slats of my chairs, but they could easily be cut to the same shape. The back legs are.

I also angled the seat 1” down from front to back. About 6 degrees in angle. It makes a big difference in how they sit. I built a prototype of the chair to test out my design as you did. This is very important. I have seen way too many very beautiful chairs that you just cannot sit in.
Your chair looks fine, with a few minor modifications, you will likely have a win!

-- Watch Woodcademy free on Amazon Prime! www.woodcademy.com

View Jeremymcon's profile

Jeremymcon

289 posts in 822 days


#8 posted 08-01-2018 12:48 AM

Well, I say don’t give up on your hair idea. It’s always nice to have something to work toward. But here's a bench with a back rest that looks like it’d be a simple build, if you ever need it.

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)

therealSteveN

1393 posts in 716 days


#9 posted 08-01-2018 01:07 PM

Ralph those are attractive chairs, and it is all about the angles, seat, back everything has to work toward supporting you, while maintaining a frame robust enough to take on the task of holding peoples weight.

Your 2 videos showed every part of the chair, and safe and pretty easy directions on making all of the components. Your showing everything you did on the steam bending was what most would have called a complete video in itself. I liked that you showed mistakes you made. IE the need for a solid continuous form to bend the splats and not make an indent where the single point of contact was made. It showed that for a good bend, taking shortcuts could pose a problem in the output.

In part 2 it looked like your hands changed during the portion of stretching, and stapling the fabric on the seat. It’s usually best to farm out some of the work isn’t it.

Very thorough videos and a plan, lets add for FREE, what a bargain.

I enjoyed watching, and I don’t have any more chair plans, but I did like that back spat assembly. Kudos to you for your job well done.

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)

therealSteveN

1393 posts in 716 days


#10 posted 08-01-2018 01:31 PM



Well, I say don t give up on your hair idea. It s always nice to have something to work toward. But here s a bench with a back rest that looks like it d be a simple build, if you ever need it.

- Jeremymcon

Attractive bench there. It does look pretty straight forward too.

I think the simplest Shaker bench is the one at Whitewater on the western edge of Cincinnati. They are commonly called a 5 board bench This one is actually a 6, but it’s a wee bit longer than most family tables at 13′-1/4″ long, so the shortened version would be a 5 board bench. It’s biggest challenge is sourcing the wood long, and wide enough to get it going. Probably most people don’t want a picnic table style bench for the dining seating though.

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)

therealSteveN

1393 posts in 716 days


#11 posted 08-01-2018 02:15 PM



@Steve – its funny how people stare when I drop to the ground to get details on a piece of furniture. I keep a notepad with me to sketch ideas (an of course a handy cell phone camera).

- Dustbringer

I take a lot more pictures of potential woodworking subjects than I make or take phone calls, didn’t add that, but of course it’s true.

-- Think safe, be safe

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