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Thread: Dining chair ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    West Central Mn
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    Dining chair ?

    I’m toying with the idea of making some dining room chairs. I haven’t found that “perfect” set of plans yet, but wonder what the reason is for some that have the front of the seat wider than the back? Is it for comfort, appearance, or some other reason? Keeping the seat square obviously simplifies the joinery. Does anyone here know of good plans for dining chairs?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    WNY
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    I'll offer a reason why the front of the seat is wider than the back. When you sit your legs want to go outward. A seat wider at the front supports your legs in that position and the wider front chair legs offer more room for your feet. Of course, you could build the back of the seat just as wide as the front, and some chairs are built that way, but they often don'tlook very elegant.

    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    The front legs need to be much wider in the front as well. If you make a square seat from those dimensions, it will look really wide. Incredibly difficult to stand up with your legs squeezed tightly together.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    Los Angeles, California
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    Typically, when one sits in a chair, one's legs are not pressed together, but instead are splayed outwards. Thus, the distance between one's legs is much greater than the width of one's hind quarters.

    Therefore the trapezoidal shape is customary for most chairs.

    The angle varies, but 7 degrees is pretty typical.

    Usually, one angles the rail tenons and keeps the mortises square to the leg shoulders.
    Regards,

    Tom

  5. #5
    The narrowing towards the back of the seat also serves the purpose of bringing the arms of armchairs in towards the user. If you picture a typical chair, it mimics a person's natural shittin position.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    NW Indiana
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    When I built my chairs, I decided to design on the fly, with just a general idea, but found these to be very helpful. You might as well. Keep us posted on your progress. And have fun!
    2019-07-30_12h43_25.jpg 2019-07-30_12h43_55.jpg 2019-07-30_12h46_29.jpg
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

  7. #7
    If you put arms on a dining room chair you have to be careful in your design so that the person can pull the chair close enough to the table. One way is to put the arms at normal height but make them short. The other way is to make the arms low so that they fit under the apron. Watch out for the height on the low ones. You want to make sure that if the person puts their hands on the front of the arms and scoots in that they don't jam their hands.

    Also, watch the width of the chair. Chairs with arms generally need to be wider than chairs without arms. The arms will squeeze a person, especially if they're a bit on the large size. On a chair without arms they will just overlap the sides.

    Chairs are not that difficult to build. If it's your first chair, you might want to build one from some cheap wood so you know the processes - and you can put it against a table and see how it "fits".

    Mike

    [Otherwise, chairs are fairly constrained as far as measurements go. You can do design things on the chair back and the legs but the width and height have to be "standard" in order to work well.]
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    San Francisco, CA
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    8,886
    I’ve built dining chairs with a narrow seat front. The chairs have three legs - two in back, and one in the middle of the front. The single leg in front stays out of the way no matter where you put your feet. I made the seat kinda like a bicycle seat but bigger - that is full butt-width in back, and narrower in the front

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
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    Narrower in the back gives Jeeves a place to stand when he brings the soup and dabs your chin.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    Narrower in the back gives Jeeves a place to stand when he brings the soup and dabs your chin.
    Well, it's Fifi who does that at my house, and with a French accent.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  11. #11
    I've made 8 dining chairs that my kids and I like based upon Woodsmith plans and I expect to make 8 or 10 more. They have square joints and we find them comfortable. I've made them with horizontal back supports so far but the next set will probably have a vertical back support. They look a bit dainty - but have held up some good sized people. Mine are oak, my daughters are cherry. I plan more cherry chairs (just because my floors are oak and I think the furniture should be a different wood).

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