Making A Cedar Deck Chair General Woodworking
Of course, cedar is just the wood I chose to use for this deck chair project, since it’s well suited for use outdoors due to above average rot resistance. Any other wood, treated or not, would work as well. Even composite materials that are starting to show up in regular dimensional lumber sizes.
This project was sponsored and built using tools supplied by DEWALT®. Their line of FLEXVOLT tools give you corded tool power with the freedom and convenience of cordless.
This build is based on the deck chair plans that covers the dimensions for all of the parts and the assembly steps in detail. To get started I printed those plans for quick reference and then started cutting out he parts.
First is the back leg that has a few angle cuts, and I used my homemade angle guide to layout the 31 degree cut and also to guide the saw as I made the cut:
The piece of particle board is cut to the same width as the base of the circular saw I used to make the cut, measured from the blade to the edge.
Here are the finished back legs. I used the first one as a template for the second one to ensure they were exactly the same:
The next part to work on is the back rest supports and these have a long taper cut mainly for appearance. I used my table saw tapering jig to hold the parts securely while I made the cuts:
The finished parts. I clipped off the top corner at a 45 degree angle, again for cosmetic reasons:
Next up are the seat supports and these need a curve cut that I laid out using a thin strip of hardwood to draw the arc:
I just clamped scraps of particle board on for the strip to press against.
Again, I used the first one as a template to make the second one:
The front legs are fairly straightforward, but need to be made opposite to each other:
The arm rests are the final frame parts, and I made these from wider stock to have a convenient place to set a drink:
Assembly of the chair is very easy, since it’s basically made up of two frames that are joined by slats. Each frame is made up of the four parts detailed above and are fastened together with bolts, screws and glue:
During assembly, I found it helpful to clamp a scrap of particle board to the edge of my workbench to line up the parts. This helps to make sure that the back leg and front leg sit flat:
alternately, you could stand the parts up on the workbench, but I found this much easier to do.
Here’s a look at the joint between the back leg and front leg showing the screw locations and the position of the lag bolt. I’ve applied glue to the back leg before adding the seats support:
The glue I’m using is polyurethane construction adhesive. It adds a lot of strength, plus it keeps water and dirt that will lead to rot out of the joints.
While assembling the second frame, I keep the first one on hand to compare it to. You want both of these to match:
Next up are the slats for the chair. I opted for a curved bottom, so these need to be narrow enough to conform to that curve. I took standard 6″ fence boards and cut them down to 2″ wide:
This is slightly wasteful, but narrow boards work better for outdoor projects like this and can be glued on solidly.
The last few slats were cut progressively shorter and on an angle to make the seat back taper slightly. Easy to do this with the miter saw before assembly, or after with the circular saw:
Installing the slats is fast and easy using dabs of glue and a single 2″ screw per side. I took the time to clamp the frames down to my outdoor workbench before starting:
the slats for the back rest are installed the same way, spacing them 1/4″ apart. The notches are for the arm rests that will be installed last:
A handsome and rugged chair, it’s substantial enough not to blow away in the wind, but light enough to move around with little effort. I chose to leave mine plain and unfinished, to let it weather naturally, but these can also be painted or stained.
The build video: