DIY reading chair


My friend had a nice, wooden and apparently really creaky bed frame, and after it broke he gave me the wood. What a canvas to paint on! Today I took advantage of a long weekend and used the wood to build a chair optimised for reading. The labor was minimal but it took a lot of thinking: I would like to share the story.


The chair should let me enjoy sitting outside in my garden with a book. Opportunity for another obnoxious blog post considered a nice to have.

Initial investiagtion

Before setting out on construction I've googled "diy chair" and found a ton of results by places that clearly profit from peddling DYI instructions. Typical instruction was first full of encouragement, then described in detail how to use these four common power tools for cutting, sawing, drilling, and sanding to produce a commercial-looking result I would be proud of within just a weekend. This guy was suitably punk rock and I really liked these Adirondack chairs from the US but I ended up doing something different as I was starting from different components.


This is the finished result:

Head of the bed has been used as a top piece. The wood used is apple, at least to make up the tree I propped the frame against, the timber boards are I guess pine. It is propped at a right angle, as can be seen here:

The right angle was determined empirically to provide support for the spine, and create just the posture I wanted.

The bottom of the chair consists of five boards. 1 and 2 are where the sitting happens, they rotate and bend slightly under the buttocks. It is significantly better than sitting on the ground, because the boards let the user stay clean and crucially, stop them from sliding. I'm sorry that the picture documenting this isn't very clear, it's remarkably difficult to take good pictures of one's own butt, especially while sitting on it:

Board 4 is optional and more of an eye candy, really, because no sitting happens on it, but this redundancy is helpful - as it is not moved about it supports a tea mug.

Board 5 is very important for proper feet positioning:

Again, this is much better from putting feet on the ground. They do not slide, and the heel is lower than the toes, encouraging a confortable reading posture. This can be further tweaked with an optional board 6:


The chair is very comfortable and good for posture - it is a good habit to change posture slightly every so often, and the chair can be adjusted with every change, moving the boards or adjusting the angle of a top piece. It is easy to assemble and disassemble for storage, so it does not need to be left outside.

Is this DIY?

H.D. Thoreau had good thoughts on building houses from scratch:

In such a neighbourhood as this, boards and shingles, lime and bricks, are cheaper and more readily obtained than suitable caves, or whole logs, or bark in sufficient quantities, or even well-tempered clay or stones. (...) With a little more wit we might use these materials so as to become richer than the richest now are, and make our civilization a blessing.

If he was our contemporary he would probably have built a hexayurt.