Little Chair

This project is rated: DIFFICULT

Materials needed:
  • Wood
  • Dowel rods
  • Glue
  • Drill with drill bits
  • Saw
  • Paint
  • Computer paper
Red Chair on white

This project requires a fair amount of wood working skills. However, the end result is intended for use by a one-year old or older.

The seat of the chair is to be made from a 3/4″ thick board. The seat is a trapezoid that is 6 inches in depth; the front of the seat is 6 inches wide and the back edge of the seat is 4 3/4 inches wide. You may link to the top-of-seat template and print it to lay out the seat. Round each corner of the seat to a radius of 1/2 inch. The template also shows the positions of the holes that will be used for the seat back.

Project Instructions

  1. Prepare the dowels for the chair back and the legs:3 – 5/16″ dowels each 5 3/8″ long
    2 – 1/2″ dowels each 6″ long
    4 – 5/8″ dowels each 4 1/4″ long
    You will also need a 1/2″ dowel about 4 3/4″ long for the top of the seat back. Do not cut this dowel until later.
  2. Drill three 5/16″ holes vertically into the top of the seat. Drill the holes so that they do not go through the seat. Leave about a 1/16″ thickness that is not drilled.
  3. Drill two 1/2″ holes at an angle of 10-degrees to the vertical and slanted along a diagonal of the seat. Do not drill through the seat. If you do not have a drill press that can drill at the prescribed angle, you must use a hand drill and slant it as accurately as you can to the required angle. To assist you, the drawing at right gives a 10-degree angle to the vertical which you can use to cut out a cardboard guide.
  4. Turn the seat over and drill the holes for the legs. Drill the holes at a 10-degree angle to the vertical using a Forstner bit. Position the seat so that the plane of the 10-degree angle is aligned with a diagonal of the seat. Do not drill through the seat; leave about 1/16 inch not drilled.
    NOTE: If you do not have a Forstner bit, you may use a spade or auger bit. However, if you use one of these bits, it will be necessary for the pilot part of the bit to drill through the seat. The holes made by the pilot part of the bit may be filled with a wood filler and sanded smooth. The holes will not be noticeable since you will be painting the chair.
  5. Glue the 1/2″ dowels into the 1/2″ holes in the top of the seat.
    Glue the legs into the bottom of the seat and wait for the glue to dry.
  6. After the glue is dry, measure the distance between the two 1/2″ dowels (near their tops) that are the outside pieces of the back. This measurement is to establish the length of the top rail of the back.
  7. Cut the top rail (1/2″ dowel)

  8. Drill three 5/16″ holes in the rail. Do not drill all the way through the rail. Drill one hole in the center of the rail and drill the other two holes 1 inch to either side of the center hole.

  9. Glue the three 5/16″ dowels in the seat and in the top rail. Let this glue dry before proceeding.

  10. Next, the top rail must be fastened to the side uprights. Drill a 5/64″ hole through each upright and into the center of the top rail.

  11. You will use two 4d finishing nails as pins. Put a little glue on each nail and put them into the pre-drilled holes. Hammer the nails down so the heads are flush with the uprights.

When the glue dries, the chair is ready for finishing. You may paint the chair any color you want.

Good luck!!

Chair pattern
Chair pattern
Leg angle guide
Using leg angle guide
Chair seat

Note: If you have an older child, you may want to scale the chair to a larger size. The picture at right shows a chair that was scaled by 160%. Also, some modifications were made. You may modify the design to suit your needs.

Below are the completed chairs being used by children from 1955 to 2000.

Little chair
Chair with Child
Chair with Child
Chair with Child
Chair with Child
Chair with Child
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