Dining Chair: Project Info

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This is the introductory page for a paid video series. Want to watch more of this project? Select the best option below to get started.


Are you intimidated by chair making? Then this project is for you. In this series Paul works through the features of and methods used to make this solid dining chair that will last for a century or two.

The tools you will need are:

  • Combination square
  • Layout Knife
  • Pencil
  • Sliding bevel
  • Tape measure
  • *Steel rule
  • Mortice gauge
  • Smoothing Plane
  • Chisels: 3/8″, 1″
  • Chisel hammer
  • Tenon saw
  • Panel saw
  • Hand router
  • Spokeshave
  • Card scraper
  • *Cabinet Scraper
  • Mortice guide
  • *Cabinet rasp
  • *Flat file
  • *Axe
  • Hand drill (or drill driver)
  • Drill bits: 1/16″(1.5mm), 3/16″ (5mm)
  • Countersink bit
  • Clamps


  • Knife (*scissors)
  • Sharp bread/carving knife*
  • Stapler and staples

* = Optional

Cutting List

PartQtySize (Imperial)Size (Metric)
Back Post21 3/4″ x 3 3/4″ x 40 5/8″44.5 x 95 x 1032
Top Support Rail11 1/2″ x 3 1/4″ x 15 1/4″38 x 82.5 x 387
Lower Support Rail11 1/2″ x 1 3/4″ x 15 1/4″38 x 44.5 x 387
Arched Seat Rail17/8″ x 3 3/4″ x 15 1/4″22 x 95 x 387
Bottom Back Rail17/8″ x 1 3/4″ x 15 1/4″22 x 44.5 x 387
Slats35/8″ x 1 3/4″ x 12 1/2″16 x 44.5 x 317.5
Front Post21 3/4″ x 1 3/4″ x 19 1/4″44.5 x 44.5 x 489
Arched Seat Rail17/8″ x 3 3/4″ x 18 3/4″22 x 95 x 476
Bottom Front Rail17/8″ x 1 3/4″ x 18 3/4″22 x 44.5 x 476
Arched Side Rail27/8″ x 3 3/4″ x 15 1/4″22 x 95 x 387
Bottom Side Rail27/8″ x 1 3/4″ x 16 1/4″22 x 44.5 x 413
Corner Brace17/8″ x 1 3/4″ x 5″22 x 44.5 x 127
Plywood Seat13/4″ x 14 3/4″ x 18 1/2″19 x 375 x 470
Bottom Side Rail27/8″ x 1 3/4″ x 16 1/4″22 x 44.5 x 413
Corner Brace17/8″ x 1 3/4″ x 5″ 22 x 44.5 x 127

The joints used in this project:

Mortise & tenons with compound angles and angled shoulders.


  1. remedy54 on 10 August 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Very excited about this series. I’ve always fancied having a go at making a good chair.

  2. George Bridgeman on 11 August 2015 at 12:03 am

    I like the look of this project! The compound mortice and tenon joinery is really interesting.

    • Chris Bunney on 11 August 2015 at 4:36 pm

      So excited about this project! I can’t wait to build one of these elegant chairs (actually, I could do with building six!) I better go and source some nice oak! Thanks for the inspirational projects Paul.

  3. ende on 12 August 2015 at 12:20 am

    Wow, this is perfect timing. I actually _am_ intimidated by chair building, because I did assume there were a lot of little details that went into chair design. Obviously, chair makers have figured those out over the last few hundred years, but because I don’t even know what kinds of problems can arise, I also didn’t know where to look for solutions.

    I do feel I could have sent Paul an email with a suggestion to start a chair project. I’m sure he’s always looking for things that people want to learn about. In this case, he beat me to it. Maybe next time, I’ll remember that I actually know (not that he knows me :D) an expert on all things wooden.

  4. billblab on 12 August 2015 at 12:20 am

    Lovely design. I’m really looking forward to learning about the layout. cheers, bill.

  5. badgerjoe on 12 August 2015 at 12:21 am

    What’s your opinion on using hide glue on something like this?

  6. Salko Safic on 12 August 2015 at 12:25 am

    I never built a chair they look intimidating but I think the biggest drawback for me is the price of quarter sawn material. Everyone knows by now that in Australia everything is a lot more expensive than the rest of the world.

    • Christopher on 12 August 2015 at 1:58 am

      Im curious , If you were to but the lumber cut down to size and have it shipped say FedEx or UPS do you have carriers like that in Australia. What about the Philippine’s Maybe use one of there local types of wood. I was just wondering. I know if I lived in a place like you where good Lumber was hard to come by I would be trying to find a good source of the local trees that would work. when I was living over there I saw them make a lot of furniture that was made of some nice wood. Cant say that much about the quality of the Furniture but that was just strictly the craftsman’s fault. What kind of wood species do you have over there. And what would it cost per board foot say for the least expensive like a pine, or for the most expensive hardwood? I would really like to know this. I dont mind helping you If I can. I could get the lumber for you here Mill it down to rough size and package it up. This Chair really isnt that much anyway. Myself I have lots of QSWO but the 8/4 I would be shy of. I think I paid around seven to nine dollars per board foot. I cant quite remember I would have to pull the invoices. But all of Mine is Select or Better with Highly figured with the Medullary Rays. If your interested call Cad at Mutterspaw lumber or email him to see how much he could sell you some for and ship it to where you are. I know he will cut it down to size. Let me know If I could help. Cheers Chris

  7. chadjohn21 on 12 August 2015 at 12:42 am

    I’m wondering how these chairs will pair with the trestle table? If the back outer slats were curved to match the tables curves?

  8. rayc21 on 12 August 2015 at 2:05 pm

    I have, in the past, made nine small chairs for people’s grandchildren. They have all ways been square type seating. This new project is just what I need being angled from front to back. I can’t wait to see it being made. Thank you Paul.

  9. tmpt on 13 August 2015 at 12:10 am

    Yes…I AM intimidated by chair making. I made a mock up for a set of dining room chairs with arched backs and a splayed seat. The angles were difficult/impossible to figure out. I initially drew it on CAD, so I had the advantage of querying any part/angle I needed. Ultimately, I never made the set. I’m anxious to see how angles, arcs and other dimensions are all calculated and figured out.

  10. Anonymous on 13 August 2015 at 1:37 am

    Oooooh – yummy!

  11. sodbuster on 13 August 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I am very much looking forward to this project. The design notes are especially valuable to me – e.g. no more than 7 degreee back angle, awareness of child climbing, …

  12. yehyeh on 5 January 2016 at 4:49 am

    Completed a “prototype” of this chair using scrap (Douglas Fir) lumber, my wife loves it. So I need to make 8 chairs out of cherry wood to match the cherry
    trestle table I completed last October. I was looking for a Bill of Material that would show the number of board feet and size requirements for a single chair? I found, on the internet, the amount of wood for Paul’s rocking chair, 13.5 BF of 8/4 and 9 BF of 4/4. Looking for something similar for the dining chair. Thanks

    • Glenn on 10 July 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Hi All
      I was wondering if the design could be adapted to use as a rocking chair or if there are some other considerations apart from the rockers , for example do you have to splay the legs etc


      • Philip Adams on 12 July 2016 at 11:11 am

        Hello Glenn,
        You can indeed adapt the design to use it as a rocking chair without any changes apart from the rockers.
        Best, Phil

  13. Felix Lopez on 20 November 2019 at 2:01 am

    Can the chair be made out of poplar? Or is poplar not hard enough?

    Thank you.

  14. James Crandall on 29 January 2021 at 7:45 pm

    Question: My wife really like the prototype chair in pine. Is that an ok wood to use or do I need to stick with a hardwood?

    • Izzy Berger on 4 March 2021 at 12:09 pm

      Hi James,

      Paul says: Pine works just fine. No need for harder woods or denser grain at all. Also the chair will most likely be lighter in weight.


  15. MB Hart on 29 May 2022 at 7:11 pm

    For our home’s purposes (small, messy children!), we’d prefer not to do the upholstery bit and just have a wooden seat. Does this include directions for that as an option? If not, where might I go to learn how to add a proper chair seat? Thanks!

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