How to Build a Deck Chair

Deck chairs provide functional and attractive decor to an outdoor deck. Building a deck chair will require some handiness and carpentry skills, but mostly one will just need the right tools and set of instructions.

Materials

  • 4 8 ft lengths of 2×1” hardwood
  • 4 slip washers
  • 4 3/8” lock washers
  • 4 5/16” carriage bolts, 1 ½” long with 4 corresponding nuts
  • 10 1 ½” wood screws
  • Varnish or wax
  • 52×18” piece of sturdy fabric
  • Matching thread

Tools

  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Plane
  • Drill with assorted bits
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Set square
  • Tape measure
  • Sandpaper

Instructions

  1. Along the longer edges of fabric, fold under ¼ inch, then another ¼ inch and edge stitch along both folds. For the shorter sides of fabric, fold under ½” then another 2 ¾” to form sleeves for wood. Edge stitch along the first fold then ¼” from this stitching. To reinforce the stitching lines, machine zigzag the ends.
  2. Cut out the pieces of wood, marking each with a pencil to label them as follows
    • A – 2 pieces 22-inches (16-1/2-inches) long
    • B – 2 pieces 48-inches (36-inches) long
    • C – 2 pieces 18-inches (13-1/2-inches) long
    • D – 1 piece 23-1/2-inches (18-inches) long
    • E – 2 pieces 33-inches (24-3/4-inches) long
    • F – 2 pieces 20-1/2-inches (15-inches) long
  3. In pieces A, D and F cut notches 3/8” deep with a saw then chisel out to flatten bottom. In E pieces, cut check-mark shaped grooves, ¾” deep. In one A piece and one F piece, round off one long unnotched top edge with a plane.
  4. Sand all the pieces until smooth and wax or varnish if desired.
  5. At right angles of B, C, and E, drill holes for bolts with a 3/8” bit. Countersink appropriate side of each hole with a larger bit, to accommodate bolt heads and nuts.
  6. Insert the rounded A piece through the sleeve at the top of the fabric seat, allowing the round edge to face up at the top. At the bottom sleeve of the fabric seat, slip in the rounded F piece ensuring the round edge faces up at the bottom.
  7. Assemble pieces E and F into a rectangle on a flat surface; fit notches into place. Drill 1 ½” deep screw holes through the top end of the F pieces centred over notches. Countersink the holes with a larger bit to accommodate screw heads and screw together.
  8. Fit pieces A and B together into a rectangle being careful not to twist fabric; ensure the rounded A piece remains in its correct position. Drill 1 ½” screw holes through the tops of the A pieces, centred over notches. Countersink holes as before and screw together.
  9. Assemble pieces C and D into a U-shape affixing notches into place. Drill screw holes, 1 ½” deep through the top ends of piece D centred over notches; countersink and screw together.
  10. Bolt the units together, leaving joints slightly loose to accommodate the folding of the deck chair.

Tip

  • It is important that each assembly unit lies flat, or the finished chair frame will incur warping. If the unit does not lie flat, tighten screws to adjust tension.
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