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Slatted Dining Chair

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Designed and created by Kevin Inkster

This plan contains a template and simple instructions necessary to produce this chair from a single standard sheet of Marine Plywood. Cheaper ply can be used, but often has voids in the core material. These however can be easily filled after shaping.



The secret to using Arbortech woodshaping tools creatively, is to follow the instructions for the marking out and blocking up of the rough shape and then to use your own imagination and intuition for the final shaping. Use the profiles as illustrated on the front cover and diagram 1 as a guide. Read through the plans thoroughly before proceeding. Note that the chair is constructed in three sections (as illustrated in diagrams 1 & 3). Sections 1 and 2 are shaped using the Woodcarver to form the sides and legs, and section 3 is simply threaded onto the dowels to form the seat and back.

Diagram 1

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    Tools needed:-
  • Arbortech Woodshaping Tools
  • Suitable Angle Grinder
  • Arbortech flexible sanding kit (if available or other sanding method, plus sand paper)
  • Jig-saw
  • Gluing clamps.
    Material Requirements:
  • 1 x 1200mm x 2400mm sheet of 12mm plywood
  • Suitable Wood glue (for indoor use, we recommend common white or yellow PVA)
  • Stiff cardboard or cheap plywood for making your cutting templates


1. Print off the cutting guide included (Diagram 4) and enlarge this to your selected size on a photocopier. Using a sheet of tracing paper, trace each individual component and then transfer it to a large enough sheet of stiff cardboard or thin plywood to use as a template. The simplest method is to paste the traced image onto cardboard or chipboard and then cut out the profile. NOTE : Many of the components are marked with a cross in the centre for drilling the hole for the dowel Note that the large circles require a 12mm hole and the smaller circles on parts F & G have an 8mm hole. (If preferred use alternative drill and dowel sizes). Note also that components that are not marked with the circle and cross should not be drilled. Ensure that the holes are drilled in exactly the right position and check by placing the templates on top of each other to ensure that all three hole positions exactly line up.

2. Using the carboard (or plywood) templates, trace the profiles of each component onto a 1200mm X 2400 sheet of 12mm thick plywood as per the layout suggestion on diagram 4. Without moving the templates, drill the correct size holes where necessary. It is possible to save material by placing the components closer together but make sure you have enough room for jig-sawing or band-sawing. NOTE : Multiples of any individual components must always be oriented the same way in relation to the grain to retain uniformity on the finishd piece. 3. Cut out individual components using a jig-saw or band-saw. If you have access to a band-saw you may wish to first cut the sheet to manageable pieces using a jig- saw.


Spacers (parts H & I)

A fast way to produce parts H and I is to drill the holes first and then place them on a simple mandrel for turning on a lathe. (As illustrated below) Note: Spacers I finished diameter is 25mm.

Diagram 2

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Diagram 3

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4. Now look closely at Diagrams 1 & 3. Notice that parts A,B,C,D,E, & F are blocked together to form the two sides with legs and that they are mirror amigos of each other. It is only these two blocked sections that require shaping with the Woodcarver.

Section 3

Alternating layers of part G and spacers H & I form the middle of the chair and do not require any shaping with the Woodcarver. It is suggested that parts G, H I be completely sanded with attention to rounding off the sharp edges for comfort and then sealing with suitable lacquer prior to gluing and assembly. Do not use a wax at this stage as it may affect the gluing. Thread on dowels and clamp - leave excess.

Spread glue onto the sides of spaces H and I and then thread them in alternate layers with part G onto lengths of dowel for each of the three hole positions. When assembled onto the dowels, section 3 should consist of 10 x part G, 24 x part H and 11 x part I. Clamping is only necesssary at the three spacer positions and requires the construction of simple clamping blocks to ensure that pressure is applied to the components and not the dowels. See Diagram 3.

Do not put glue on the outer edges until ready to assemble with Sections 1 & 2.

Sections 1 and 2

Start blocked sections 1 and 2 by spreading glue onto parts A and then placing them carefully onto parts B. Remember that blocked sections 1 and 2 are mirror images and so the glue must go on the correct sides. Glue is then spread onto part B ,C and o on until the blocked sections are completed with part F.

Avoid getting glue into the holes and ensure that all the holes line up by placing a short section of dowel into the holes before clamping. Remove the dowels before the glue has fully set.

Do not attempt to block both sections 1 and 2 at once if you do not have access to sufficient clamps. The success and appliance of this piece is dependent on good glue lines so a little patience at this stage is well worthwhile.

Shaping can be achieved very quickly using Arbortech shaping tools correctly fitted to a suitable angle grinder.

Precision shaping is easily achieved by using rough sanding discs no your angle grinder and then progressively moving to finer discs for a good finish (if available, use the Arbortech Flexible Grinder Sanding Kit).

Diagram 4

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Here are som pics of a Slatted Chair a friend of mine made after I mentioned it to him.

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Now, I just have to get rolling and get to it. I've got a half dozen projects in line ahead of this one and I'm really getting antsy to get going.

Unskilled and Unaware

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