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Portable 2 Piece Beach Chair

Portable 2 Piece Beach Chair

By Rob Brown

Treat yourself to the comfort and style of this classic beach chair that is equally at home on the sand as around the campfire, deck, or patio. The seat section nestles into the back section for convenient storage and portability.

Rob Brown designs and builds custom furniture and is the editor of Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement magazine. www.canadianwoodworking.com

What You’ll Need

  • 9” wide x 10’ long x 1” thick wood board
  • 5” wide x 15” long x 1” thick contrasting wood board for 3 back slats
  • #8 x 2” deck screws 100 pack 2182-404
  • 3/8” x 4’ hardwood dowel 2624-445
  • glue 2020-067
  • exterior finish

NOTE: The chair will tilt forward if you sit on the front edge of the seat. Ensure you sit towards the back of the seat and lean against the back to keep the chair from tilting forward when in use.

Here's How
2-Piece Beach Chair
  • ​Breakout the seat rails and back rails and then plane them to thickness of 7/8”.
  • Breakout the seat slats, back slats, and cross rails to final size and thickness of 7/8”, but leave the cross rails slightly long.
  • Create a plywood or Masonite pattern for seat and back rails. (photo 1)
  • Trace the pattern onto the rails, cut them to size, and smooth their edges. Leave their ends square and long for now.
  • Draw arc on front of seat rails (photo 2), band saw the waste, and sand smooth.
  • Countersink the screw holes in the seat slats and temporarily screw them to top edge of seat rails with an even gap between the slats (photo 3). Be sure to cut the rearmost seat slat longer than the rest. Ensure the parts meet at a 90-degree angle.
  • Clamp the back rails to the seat rails at the correct location and angle.
  • Position the cross rails in place and mark the required angle on the upper edge of the lower cross rail (photo 4), and the lower edge of the upper cross rail, then cut that angle on the table saw. The angles for my cross rails were around 14 degrees for the lower cross rail and 11 degrees for the upper cross rail, but yours may be slightly different.
Download Instructions
  • Countersink the screw holes in the cross rails and back slats and temporarily screw them in place. (photo 5)
  • Remove the clamps.
  • With the chair sitting on a flat surface, draw a curve onto the top of the back rails (photo 6) and mark a line where the bottom ends of the seat and back rails need to be cut (photo 7). Disassemble all the parts, marking them as you go.
  • Trim the rail ends on the band saw, then sand smooth.
  • Remove 1/32” in thickness from the inner surface of the two back rails. This will give you a much-needed gap between the seat assembly and the back assembly and makes it easier to assemble each time you use it.
  • Sand all the surfaces and ease all edges for looks and feel.
  • Assemble the seat and back assemblies with glue and screws, then plug the screw holes (photo 8). Trim and sand the plugs flush when dry.
  • Apply a protective finish to all the surfaces.
step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
​1. Make a Template
Draw the arcs on some material, cut it out with a band saw, and smooth the curves. This template will be used to transfer the shapes to the seat and back rails.

2. Add Transitional Curves
​With the help of a French curve, mark where the ends of the seat rails will be cut. This is mainly for aesthetics.
3. Preliminary Assembly
​With the seat rails and seat slats cut to final size, temporarily screw the slats to the rails. A piece of plywood will help with spacing the slats evenly.
4. Dealing with Angles
​With the seat slats and rails temporarily assembled, and the back rails clamped to the seat assembly at the proper angle, mark the correct angle on the edge of the lower cross rail, then cut to that angle. Repeat with the upper cross rail.
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8
5. Back Slats
​Now that the cross rails are temporarily fixed to the back rails, you can temporarily screw the back slats to the back rails with the help of a plywood spacer.
​6. More Transitional Curves
Draw a nice-looking curve onto the top of the back rails, remove the back slats, and trim the back rails on the band saw.
7. Mark Leg Length
​With the chair dry assembled, and sitting on a flat surface, use a piece of wood to mark a line along the outsides of the front legs. Disassemble the chair and cut the legs to length on a band saw.
8. Final Assembly
​Apply glue to the joints, then screw them in place. Plug the holes and trim flush when dry.
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