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May 22, 2015

Protechwood – How to Make a Comfortable Armchair (Part One)

A continuing trend in modern furniture design has been the sacrificing of comfort for economy and space. While agreeing that those huge Victorian armchairs were really luxurious, designers today would argue that they would be very much out of place in a modern house, as well as being inordinately expensive. So, designers concentrate on producing chairs which can easily be mass produced and which fit contemporary tastes. Unfortunately of course, the result of such thinking is that most chairs manufactured now tend to merely ornament a room without being very comfortable.

Perhaps the greatest limitation on furniture design is the smallness of modern houses. To be comfortable, a chair must not only be well designed, constructed and padded, but also it must be fairly large. As few people can afford the space for a large suite of furniture, armchairs become increasingly smaller.

One answer to the problem, which has been developed over the last few years, is furniture which can easily and quickly be stowed away when not in use. Nowadays it is possible to buy inflatable chairs, and more conventional chairs which can be assembled or dismantled in a matter of seconds. It is on this latter principle that the knock-down chair has been designed.

This chair has a very simple construction. It consists simply of four panels which slot together to give a stable assembly. Despite its simplicity, its lines are as stylish as any manufactured chair and will complement any living room.


Wood is used for the basic frame. Pine or some other softwood is suitable, but a satisfactory and cheaper alternative is 16mm plywood. As with most manufactured materials, there are different grades of plywood and you should choose a high quality type, such as Finnish birch, which takes a very good painted finish on both surfaces.

It is possible to have cushions made up for you by professionals, but they are easy to make yourself from rubber and the covering of your choice.

Cutting out

Cut out all the pieces to the sizes given in the cutting list, taking care that the two side panels match exactly. These pieces now have to be cut to patterns and as this work represents the major part of the construction processes, great care should be taken.

First tale the two side panels and cut out the angled rear edge. To do this accurately, mark a line 25mm from the rear edge, then draw a line diagonally from opposite corners. Provided your two side panels match exactly in size, you can clamp them together and cut along the diagonal line to give a matching pair.

Now cut the slots in the side panels. There are two on each: one houses the back panel and the other houses the seat panel. Make the slot for the seat panel first. This slot, which is 16mm wide, runs at angle, from a point about halfway down the front edge, to a point 368mm from the front edge. To mark it in exactly, first draw a point on the front, short edge, 267mm from the top long edge. With a protractor set at 86° mark in the angle at which the seat panel meets the front edge of the side panel. Then use the two marked points to draw in a line extending 368mm from the front short edge of the side panel. This line marks the proposed location of the upper surface of the seat panel. To mark out the correct width of the slot, draw another point 16mm from that already marked on the front short edge of the side panel and, with the aid of a protractor, draw another line parallel to the first and 16mm from it.

Use a tenon saw to cut the slot, following the rules on correct sawing techniques given in most DIY manuals. If you cut exactly to the marked lines, you will make the slot slightly too wide. Instead, position the saw so that one face is just inside and parallel to the line. When you have cut down the lines, cut out the short edge of the slot with a jig saw or chisel.

Provided both side panels have been cut to exactly the same size, there is no reason why you should not clamp them together with all edges flush and cut out paired slots at the same time.

Now mark and cut out the slots which house the back panel. These are 165mm long, 13mm wide, and run at an angel of 82° to the top edges of the side panels. Use the methods detailed above to mark and cut them accurately.

The seat panel has two slots cut in it, corresponding to those cut in the front edge of the side panels. Each slot is located 64mm from and parallel to the short sides and is 368mm in length.

Two slots corresponding to those cut in the top edges of the side panels are made in the back panel. They are the same length – 165mm and are located 64mm from, and parallel to, the short sides, and is 368mm. in length.

Two slots corresponding to those cut in the top edges of the side panels are made in the back panel. They are the same length 165mm. and are located 64mm. from, and parallel to, the short sides.

Source by Protechwood

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