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Toddler Chair

author-gravatar frasergraham Oct 25, 2017

Years ago, before I was interested in woodworking, we bought a Pottery Barn Kids table and two kid sized chairs. They served us well for many years but then kid #3 came along and he needed something to sit on, so I decided it was time to try and make a chair for him as a gift.

This is the first chair I have ever built, it's very simple and it took me way longer than I'd care to admit but i'm proud of it. 

The chair is made from poplar, I started out with a simple template for the rear legs taken from the existing kids chairs that I based the design on.

I bought 1x4 S4S poplar and glued two pieces together to make pieces think enough for the legs. It worked well but I wish i'd just taken the time to visit the lumber yard and get thicker stock to begin with.

All marked and ready to cut.

I made the cuts on my bandsaw, they ended up really rough and I had to spend some serious time with a rasp and a spokeshave to clean it up but it turned out okay in the end.

I made this little tapering jig for the table saw to make the tapered front legs

These turned out to be the easiest part

Hand cut mortices took forever but I got better at it with each one.

Tenons cut on the table saw fit nicely

The front legs fit nicely

and now I have one side completed. The mortice in the rear legs proved a challenge as there is only a small portion of the leg that's actually flat, so marking it and ensuring it was lined up correctly was a pain

Looking at the side next to the Pottery Barn reference chair. My design is similar but not identical, I avoided too many curves and simplified it a lot. This is my first chair after all.

Second rear leg cut, I should have done them both at the same time but the first one was so much work I avoided it until I had to.

Over zealous when cutting out the leg, I veered too far from my line and had to patch this mistake.

This is chiseling out the mortice in the second leg, I took this photo because I loved the way the wood was curling up

and done with the mortices. Wait! Oh no. I cut it on the wrong side, noooooooo!

This does't look right at all 

Ok, mortice filled in, new one cut on the other side, back in business, nobody will ever know.

Starting to assemble everything

It's beginning to look like an actual chair

The seat is just a jointed slab of poplar cut to shape on the bandsaw and planed as flat as I had the patience for

I cut a few 3/4 x 1/4 slats for the back rest, this is me checking them for a good fit. 

I glued these 45 degree blocks into the frame so I can screw the seat on

Finally you can actually sit on it

The completed chair, 

I finished the chair with a blue paint and then brushed on three coats of shellac and a couple of coats of paste wax on top of that.

Left a little note for the kid under the seat. Maybe his kids will sit on it one day.


Great job on the chair, Elliot will cherish it and pass it down! Good job on the joinery too!

Thanks for sharing

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