Funny kids chair

(Dan Nelson) #1

I’ve been wanting to make furniture on my XXL since way before I had an XXL. I saw a simple kids stool on the web, but no plans available and it looks like the company that sells them is in NZ. My wife is the troop leader for the local Girl Scouts, and we frequently host troop meetings at our house. The girls are between 5-7 years old, and getting them to “plant” in one place is difficult at best. Imagine 10 tiny girls, plus parents invading your house every week, that doesn’t include our two boys, it is a full full house. So back to these kids stools… I fired up VCarve a couple weeks ago to try and design my own tiny stool. I wanted to make it out of 3/4” plywood, and the chair had to be cut from single 24”x24” sheets, plus the original didn’t have a backrest, and mine was gonna have one. I wanted everything to interlock, minimal screws or glue. I’m up to revision 5 now, and I just cut revision 4, the first prototype. Lemme know what you think. I hope to get at least 8 chairs from a single 4x8’ sheet of plywood. And yes, it supports my weight (215+ pounds).

Have some small things to work on, but I think by revision 5 I’ll have a solid version that takes a total of 2 pocket hole screws to assemble. Maybe let the girls paint their names on them and take them home at the end of cookie season.

Thanks for looking,


(Tito) #2

Looks super impressive! Comfortable too. It looks like the span where the legs contact the ground pretty closely matches the seat. I know for my 5 year old boy though, a wider floor footprint would probably be more stable–but you may have checked that out already. Nice nice work!

(Dan Nelson) #3

We have 6 year old triplets, I’ve got an excellent R&D department, haha!! I’ve intentionally made the footprint a little narrower than it has to be, busy kids tend to “flop” on my furniture, and don’t sit still once they get there. This design will not allow the “flop” and keeps them a little busy just trying to stay put, which helps a little with that busy energy. It’s also just tall enough where the kids feet are not totally flat on the floor, again it’s not for super high comfort, it’s to keep busy bodies in one place. This design was inspired by something I saw while surfing the web where they used almost all available wood of a given size(which I found impressive in itself), so the seat bottom is in fact the drop off from the leg cutouts. 24"x24" raw material size means I can make 8 chairs out of one sheet of plywood with almost zero waste. The second challenge is to use very few fasteners, in this prototype there are no fasteners and it can be sat on by me without collapsing. As it sits right now though it can be dis-assembled by hand, so on my later version some additional dowel rod is going to be used to lock it all together. It’s a fun project.

Thanks for the feedback,


(Tito) #4

Great that your extensive R&D team has investigated my concern already–looks great!

(Ben) #5

This is awesome. I like that you’ve taken advantage of the Cnc and kept it from being boxy and the chunky double 3/4 sections.

Also thrilled with the self imposed 2x2 limitation!

(Dan Nelson) #6

Thanks Ben!

The self impose 2x2’ limitation isn’t really mine, it’s just that plywood is generally 4x8’ and I don’t want to throw a bunch of wood away, or have a ton of scrap that I “may use someday”. The general cutting area of the XXL is around 31x31" without using the overhang, if I cut chairs out of 31x31" I would have a ton of wasted wood (I’m using 3/4" maple plywood, not the cheapest). I’m also using VCarve Desktop which has a 25x25" limit unless I use tiling, and I want these to be fast to cut with minimal bit and material changes. Right now I can cut the whole thing using one 1/4" single flute straight router bit and the only material changes are actually loading a whole new sheet/chair. I move from there to the band saw to cut the tabs off, then an oscillating spindle sander and 1" belt sander to remove any junk left over. I don’t want to do a whole bunch of finishing on these other than knocking off edges and a spray of clear poly. This is also why I don’t want to use any fasteners or glue if possible, just a rubber mallet, 5 minutes, and done. I’m not quite there, but hopefully when I get the final design done it will be as easy as it sounds, the first prototype had some fit issues and still needed some screws. Looking now at glue less joints that can be cut on the CNC, but that aren’t removable once pounded in place.

The design is not totally my own, although I’d love to take credit for the idea, if you do a Google search for “flat pack stool” you’ll find a bunch of different designs, some very close to mine and some very different, but the idea is the same. Maximum material usage, easy to assemble, “flat pack” for easy shipment,…I actually think this is an Ikea brainchild.

Thanks for looking,


(Ben) #7

Have you considered a compression bit? Should make very clean edges and limit cleanup.

(Dan Nelson) #8

I’ve yet to try a compression bit, but I have tried downcut as well as regular upcut bits. So far the single flute straight bit has made a very nice cut, most of my clean up is cutting away tabs and a slight onion skin that I’ve been leaving on the bottom. I’m working on optimizing tabs and the next one I cut I’ll put a sacrificial piece underneath so I can cut straight through. Another idea is to make corner riser jigs so I can cut straight through, but flatness becomes an issue over 2x2’, so I’m not sure. Basically the clean up is my own fault. I also have a 1/4" radius roundover bit with no bearing that I’ve used on other projects that I’ve yet to try on plywood. If I can get the design to a point where all pieces that face each other are opposite face of my cutting face (I don’t know if that made sense) then all but the legs will be rounded over before I ever cut them out. That will be another tool change, but if it works it’ll be well worth it. Just had my R&D Department try the prototype again that I’ve done some hand work on to make changes and she told me it was “cozy”…I know this isn’t true, but at least I could see her try it and see how the fit was.