Simple Joinery Side Chair

Ian Anderson

Simple Joinery Side Chair by Ian Anderson
Simple Joinery Side Chair by Ian Anderson
Simple Joinery Side Chair

Design and photography by Ian Anderson
Published in Spring 2021

Simple joinery techniques using glue and dowel pins are employed to assemble the efficient and sturdy frame for this chair. Heavyweight cotton tension straps across the seat and back hug your body as you sit. The entire assembly process takes about 2 days to complete.

Simple Joinery Side Chair by Ian Anderson
Simple Joinery Side Chair by Ian Anderson
Smooth Planed Hard Wood, 1in x 3in (20.5mm x 70mm)
*Any popular hardwood can be used, like Poplar, Birch, Beech, Cherry, and Oak. Softer hardwoods like Cherry and Poplar are recommended. Metric measurements above are actual, not nominal.
Quantity required: 1 pieces 106in (270cm) long, 2 pieces 20in (51cm) long, 4 pieces 17.5in (44.5cm) long, 2 pieces 10.5in (26cm) long, 2 pieces 18.5in (47cm) long, 2 pieces 19.25in (48.5cm) long
Heavyweight Cotton Webbing, 2in (50mm) width, 2mm thick
Quantity required: 30 yards (29 meters)
1/4in Dowel Pins
Quantity required: 40
Satin Clear Acrylic Varnish (or paint)
Quantity required: 1/4 Quart
Flat Head Wood Screws, #6 x 1-1/2in (4 x 35mm)
Quantity required: 8
Hand Saw
Power Drill
Drill Bits
Ruler or Tape Measure
Wood Glue
Sandpaper, 180 Grit
Heavy Duty Upholstery Staple Gun w/ Staples
Help Each Other

4 thoughts on “Simple Joinery Side Chair”

  1. Is there any reason not to varnish the wood pieces right after cutting them & before assembling the chair, so one wouldn’t have to take it all apart & put it back together again?

    1. You could do that for sure. You would still have to put the chair all together and then disassemble (we’re only talking about 8 screws) to apply the straps. This way you have all of the holes lined up before you apply the straps over them.
      Hope that helps!

  2. Thanks for your work! Very inspiring.
    Any ideas for how you might modify this to make this suitable for a deck/outdoor chair? Was thinking of replacing cotton with nylon straps, using outdoor wood glue, and putting a good varnish on the wood. I wonder if I’d get a couple years out of it here in the NY region.

    1. Hi Andrew, that sounds like a fun project. All three of those modifications should work ok, but your strap selection will be most important. You want something that will have low stretch, because it’s very important to keep the tension in the back rest straps, so that will probably be polyester in this case. You could also use some sort of cord, like a vinyl cord, and do a weaving.
      Also beware of the kind of warping of the wood that is inevitable outdoors, so unless you are willing to make major modifications like making the seat solid wood instead of a suspension seat, you will want to keep these out of wet and high moisture environments.
      Good luck!

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