Have you priced dining chairs lately? If not, be prepared for sticker shock. I have been tossing around the idea of making a new dining table and chairs and figured the chairs would be a great place to start. Because I’m a cheapskate and don’t like to spend much I thought it would be a good challenge to make a nice dining chair out of construction grade 2x4s. The 2x4s offer a great amount of surface area so naturally I am going with a half lap for all of the joints. Keep in mind that a half lap joint can be cut from a variety of tools such as a hand saw or circular saw and a chisel. I have a table saw and a dado blade so that’s what I am using. Don’t be discouraged by this! Here is a diagram tutorial with a video build and downloadable plan at the end. Enjoy!
You will need the following materials for each chair:
- Four 8′ 2x4s (seven per pair of chairs)
- Scrap piece of plywood for a seat (15″x19″)
- Some type of foam for a cushion
- Fabric, vinyl, or leather of choice for the seat
- Wood glue
- I used four pocket hole screws to attach the seat
Before I cut any wood I planed mine to make sure they were exactly the same thickness. This step is not 100% necessary but it does make the half lap joints a little more trouble free.
In no particular order, cut all of your pieces to length and rip them down to 3″ wide. Make the rip cuts in two passes so that you remove the rounded edges from both sides of the 2x4s.
Make all of your half lap cuts according to the cutting diagram. Omit the second cut on the tall legs at this point (17-1/4″ from the ground). This cut will be made once the back is put together.
Assemble the back. This project will be a lot of gluing, clamping, and waiting.
Add the back legs. More glue, clamping, and waiting.
Add the back seat support. The top of this should be positioned 17-1/4″ off the ground.
With the back seat support glued in place you can now cut the last half laps on the back legs
Add the upper and lower horizontal side pieces. More glue, clamping, and waiting.
Add the front legs. More glue, clamping, and waiting.
Cut the last remaining half laps. These are at the top of the front legs to accept the front seat support.
Add the front seat support. More glue, clamping, and waiting.
Use whatever materials you picked out to upholster the seat. Additionally you could opt for a solid wood seat but I didn’t go that route. Also, decide how you want to attach the seat to the frame. I used two pocket holes on the inside faces of the front and back seat supports.
If you decide to apply a finish to the chair now is the time. I used some left over Minwax Early American stain and sprayed several coats of lacquer.
Attach the seat
I have to say, at $15 to build this chair I LOVE it! The least expensive chair I found online that looked similar was $150. I can build a set of four of my chairs and probably have a better quality product when it is all said and done. These half lap joints are not going anywhere and the chair is solid as a rock. I hope I can be of some inspiration for you to do the same. If I can build one SO CAN YOU!! Do-it-yourself and save some money!