I wanted to build a little chair for my daughter because she’s getting bigger and her bedroom seemed a little bereft of furniture. It also gave me a nice excuse to try building a ‘proper’ dining chair.
I had an old pine bedframe that I could use as material for the chair. While it had some holes drilled in it for the bed fixings, my plan was to make plugs for these as I went along.
The seat was made from a couple of boards laminated together.
I started by building the back legs and backrest subassembly, then the front legs, as these all had normal mortise and tenon joinery. The front legs are slightly wider than the back legs (10 inches wide versus 9 inches), so the stretchers are angled outwards about 3 degrees.
To get the splayed effect, I had the options of either cutting the mortise or the tenon at an angle. In the end, I found it pretty easy to cut the mortises at an angle and leave the tenons straight.
I used a sliding bevel gauge to help me get the chisel angle right, then did the rest by eye.
I was pleasantly surprised how well the joints came together. Getting the angles on the seat board right really helped to dry-assemble the chair evenly. The seat board was held on by turnbuttons.
As this was for a child, I gave all the parts a roundover to protect little fingers. If you look carefully at the pictures, you’ll see that I rounded over the corners on adjoining faces of the joints. Next time, I might try to leave the joints crisp and flush, so a little more planning needed before adding the roundovers!
I wanted to make the chair colourful, so I had a few parts to paint. Painting before assembly definitely made my life easier. I was careful to mask off the tenons and shoulders, and the edges of the seat board to keep paint off them. I then applied a good few coats of paint to the seat board and backrest stretchers, sanding between each coat.
After glue-up, I applied a couple of coats of polyurethane finish, including over the painted parts. This chair was going to be banged around, so I was going for durability over a more natural-feeling finish.
It’s surprising how solidly the chair comes out – it can happily take the weight of an adult!