Folding Chair Woodworking Plan
It is always useful to have more space, so folding chairs might be the ideal solution for your living/dining area. This solid maple and laminated birch design fold away to a slender upright shape for leaning against a wall (or it can be hung on the wall if you drill a hole in the back). Both the seat and the back are curved in two directions, which makes this interesting from a laminating perspective. We have made things easier by using two layers of plywood instead of using a constructional veneer.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS:
• Table saw, planer, and thicknesser (or buy prepared wood)
• Sliding compound mitre saw
• Router and 5 mm (3/16 in) straight cutter
• Martiser; 10 mm (3/8 in) mortise chisel
• Crosshead screwdriver
• Cordless driver, screwdriver bit, twist bits to suit screws, and combination bit (drills a counterbored clearance hole and pilot hole) and plug-cutter set to suit No. 8 screws and screwdriver bit
• Pillar drill and 6.5 mm (1/4 in) twist bit
• Orbital sander, 80-grit, and 600-grit sandpaper
• Smoothing plane and block plane
• Pencil, ruler, tape measure, try square
• Six sash clamps and one fast-clamp
• Wood: see drawing – maple and plywood
• Stainless-steel plate
• Screws: No.8 cross-headed, zinc plated, countersin : 75 x 50 mm (2 in); 14 x 20 mm ( 13/16 in); 100 x 15 mm (5/8 in)
• Hex key bolts 6 mm (1/4 in) in diameter: 4 x 35 mm (1.375 in) lang (A) and (C) 2 x 50 mm (2 in) long (B); 8 washers and 6 pronged T-nuts to fit
• PVA glue, water, and cloth
• Varnish and wax polish
• Brushesand polishing cloth
1. Making the formers
Use the grids on the drawings as a guide when plotting the curved shapes of the formers. Cut out the shapes on the bandsaw as accurately as possible and assemble with 50 mm (2 in) screws Use the spokeshave and block plane to smooth and modify the edges, as shown above. Press a sheet of plywood against the former to see how well it fits and make adjustments as necessary.
2. Making the formers
With the two parts of the seat former and two parts of the back former complete, cover the faces with plywood. The plywood should overhang the sides all around. Use plenty of glue and 15 mm (10/16 in) screws to fix them together. Clean off the excess glue and allow it to dry. Retract the screws and fill the holes. Plane off the protruding edges and sand smooth.
Fix scrap pieces of wood to the sides of one half of each former to help locate the other half and to stop the laminated wood from slipping. Apply varnish and wax polish to the formers. Practice laminating. Spread glue on the plywood to be laminated, place it in the former, and force the two parts together with clamps.
4. Cutting the seat and back
Once the seat and back are dry, remove them from the formers and mark on the outlines of the finished shapes. Cut out on the bandsaw (ensure the curved workpiece has adequate contact with the worktable) as accurately as possible. Smooth and flatten the edges with a smoothing plane.
5. Shaping the seat rails
The shape of the seat rails must conform to the shape of the seat. Use the seat as a template for the seat rails. draw around it, and cut out the shape with the bandsaw The back end of the rail requires an angled edge (canted – see step 6 photo); again, use the seat as a template to gauge the angle and the spokeshave and block plane to remove the waste.
6. Assembling the seat
Drill the pivot holes in the seat rails before fixing them to the seat Use the combination bit to drill fixing holes through the seat and into the rails Glue and screw together. Wipe off the excess glue. Plug the screw holes, allow to dry, and shave off the ends of the plugs to produce a smooth finish.
7. Cutting the mortise and tenon joints
Mark out the positions of the mortise and tenon joints Cut the mortises first and clean out the corners with the chisel. Cut the tenons on the sliding compound mitre saw. Check that they fit properly. Cut the shape on the front stretcher after completing the tenons. Smooth the curved edge with the spokeshave.
8. Completing the chair
Cut the slots in the long legs with the router, as shown above. Drill pivot holes in the short legs Glue and clamp the leg frames, check that they are square, and allow to dry Sand all surfaces smooth and apply a varnish finish Make the metal plates (or ask a metalworker to make them for you) Attach the plates and assemble the chair using the metal fixings.