How to Build a Homemade High Chair

How to build a sturdy, secure homemade high chair out of wood, including extensive diagram and instructions.

| March/April 1986

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    All told, you'll need about 24 linear feet of 3/4 inch by 2-1/8 inch framing stock and another 4 feet of wider material for the seat, seat back, and tray.
    PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Directions to build a wooden high chair.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

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  • 098-070-i2_01

When your youngster is ready to take up a spoon, you can personalize the big event.

Ask experienced parents what qualities they'd most appreciate in a high chair, and there's a good chance you'll hear three points mentioned over and over: stability, ease of cleaning, and a tray that is secure but simple to install. Unlike many commercial models that the parents among us have known, the homemade high chair you see here has survived the assault of a two-and-a-half-year-old without tipping, has shed flying applesauce, and sports a tray that comes and goes with ease. What's more, the construction involves no turnings or exotic joints; it would be possible, in fact, to build it solely with hand tools and sufficient dedication.

How to Build a Homemade High Chair

Most parents find it handy to be able to get the arms of a high chair — without the tray — under the kitchen or dining room tabletop, so the child can eat with the rest of the family. For that reason, consider measuring to the underside of your table and adjusting the leg dimensions in our drawing accordingly.

All told, you'll need about 24 linear feet of 3/4 inch by 2-1/8 inch framing stock and another 4 feet of wider material for the seat, seat back, and tray. We used locally milled red oak, but there are certainly lots of other good options. Bear in mind, though, that softwoods will be more difficult to joint and rout without splintering them.



All but one of the chair's joints are cross or end-lapped, and made 7 degrees off perpendicular. The taper gives the chair a sturdy footing at the floor and a child-proportioned seat. Don't be intimidated by the off-square construction; a simple jig for a router or a carefully set table-saw miter gauge will allow you to repeat the cuts with accuracy. If you do decide to use a router, leave about 2 inches of extra length for each end-lap joint. The extra material will brace the router while you cut the joint, and it can be trimmed off later.

The High Chair Seat

To keep the chair's construction uncluttered and to prevent warping, the seat is let into a 1/4 inch-deep, 3/4 inch-wide mortise in each side frame. Just cut the mortise square to the frame, and relieve the top of the slot about 1/32 inch with a chisel to accommodate the off-perpendicular angle. When it comes time to crosscut the seat, however, it's worth the trouble to tilt the saw 7 degrees off perpendicular so that the tenon will seat squarely in the mortise for good glue adhesion.

Pablo Grabiel_2
2/14/2009 2:47:24 AM

You know, a PDF version of the plans and instructions shure would be helpful.







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