Does it matter whether I use 1/2 or 3/4?
1/2 would be lighter
3/4 would be a little stronger and take a staple better
I don't see that it much matters, but never having done this before I don't
want to do it and find out it did.
I've done that a few times already on this project...
Frame, or solid?
On frame w/webbing chair seats I plane poplar down to 5/8" for the frame.
3/4" plywood, heavily padded works just dandy.
But for a bit more comfort try 1/2" plywood, with a slotted seat portion,
for a little flex/give.
My favorite, if using an upholstered seat, is a frame made of 5/8" poplar,
with webbing covered by the appropriate amount of modern padding and then
the upholstery. Here's a picture of the bare frame, sans webbing, etc. to
give you an idea of what I'm talking about:
What I strongly advise is that after spending that much time on chairs, you
really want to do some research and maybe some prototyping of different
approaches before a final decision is made.
You simply cut multiple slots (front to back) about 1/4" - 1/2" wide and
maybe 8" - 10" long, where your buns would be.
This imitates, after a fashion, the webbing of a traditional horse hair
padded seat and does add a good deal of comfort.
Welp ... it's where the rubber hits the road, in a manner of speaking, and
comfort is an important aspect of chair design.
If you don't want your guests to hang around after dinner, use thinly padded
3/4" plywood. ;)
Adding to my previous post:
Michael Fortuned had an article in FWW some time back entitled "A Slim
Comfortable Chair Seat" that had an interesting construction, particularly
if you're going to do the upholstery yourself:
You may have to pony up to download the .pdf if you don't belong, but it
you're doing it yourself it would be worth the price of admission, IMO.
He uses a slotted 1/4" plywood seat and the design is ultra thin ...
something I've wanted to try myself.
FWIW ... not knowing your chair design, I just thought it might interest
1. Get two sawhorses and place them with the rails parallel to each
other and the distance between the rails the exact distance between the
2. Get a very fat neighbor over for "a few beers"
3. Lay a 1/4 sheet of 1/2" play across the sawhorse rails
4. Get fat neighbor to sit on sheet
5. If it bends, get 3/4" sheet and repeat and so on until sheet
doesn't bend or sawhorses collapse
You're not thinking like an engineer. You get the sawhorses as mentioned
before, but if you can't find a fat neighbor, you'll have to get a laser
caliper set to measure the displacement between a reference straight edge
(square) and the deflection of the chair.
You know, this isn't going to give good data. So, you need the sawhorse
and laser caliper, but also a force gauge. Hook the force gauge to the
board, and pull it down until it fails. The force and displacement (and
$2000 worth of new shiny tools) will then give you an accurate idea of
what thickness to use. ;-)
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.
To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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