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Build Log: Irish Stick Chair


  • Cost: ~$50-80
  • Time: ~18 hr
  • Completed:
    • 2022-07-02 - rough assembly
    • 2022-07-05 - complete less finish
    • 2022-07-13 - finish


This is the first chair I've build, so I went with a simple design. It is patterned off the "Simple Irish-y Armchair" by Christopher Schwarz from The Stick Chair Book.

I built this before reading The Stick Chair Book so that I'll have some practical knowledge to throw the theory up against. I learned what I needed to know to build this chair from various resources on the Lost Art Press Blog:

This Irish-inspired stick chair is built specifically for reading and relaxing. With a back that is pitched at 28°, a seat that tilts back at 4° and the sweeping curved backrest, this is one of the most comfortable wooden chairs I make.
The seat is 16” off the floor, which is 2” lower than a chair for keyboarding, though I don’t find the chair difficult to get out of. The overall height of the chair is 31”.
For Sale: Irish(ish) Stick Chair in European Oak – Lost Art Press

Materials Required

Material Quantity Description
Walnut ~15 board-feet ~$20–50, used walnut I had on hand, one 7'x6" 8/4 board and a couple of 6'x7" 4/4 boards
Hide Glue 1 bottle $10, Titebond Liquid Hide Glue, 8-Ounces #5013
Finish 1 pint (tiny amount) $25, Tried & True Original Wood Finish

I probably paid a total of $20–50 for the wood used when I bought a number of scraps from a millworks and cabinet shop. This would have been more like $100–200 if I had bought it by itself new.

Tools Used

  • Miter saw
  • Table saw
  • Band saw
  • Jack plane
  • Block plane
  • Scrub plane (first use)
  • Handheld drill
  • Mill / drill press
  • New chairmanning tools:
    • Grizzly Industrial H7693 - Deep Plug Cutter 6 Pc. Set, Link
    • BOSCH Daredevil DSBE1012 12-Inch Drill Bit Extension, Link
    • Deburring External Chamfer Tool, Link (I don't recommend this as it is too small to do much good, just use a belt sander and drawknife)

Build Notes

Time Log

Process Notes

  • Seat
    • Cut boards (8/4)
    • Joint edges
    • Cut biscuits
    • Glue up
    • Scrub plane to clean up joints
    • Clean up / chamfer edges
  • Sticks
    • cut square sticks on table saw (4/4)
    • build octagonal planing jig
    • plane to octagons with jig and with jack plane
    • taper ends with belt sander to start tenon cutter
    • cut tenons
    • drawknife to blend shaft down to tenons
    • clean up edges with jack plane
    • cut wedge kerf on bandsaw
  • Legs
    • cut pieces (4/4)
    • glue up two pieces into leg blank
    • make table saw octagonal jig
    • cut to octagons on table saw
    • taper ends with drawknife
    • cut tenons
    • cut wedge kerf on bandsaw
  • Drill holes
    • Layout hole pattern and sightlines on seat
    • Set bevel to 20º for backrest and drill three middle holes
    • Rough install backrest and use hole locations to drill angles for outboard sticks (should have used a template for this, as it resulted in the wrong angle and the need for a backrest doubler)
    • Drill leg holes (I drilled 3 of 4 the opposite direction, so had to re-drill the other way and go back and plug them)
  • Armrests
    • cut and plane
    • build ~9" high rectangle clamping jig to hold arms
    • with armrests clamped, drill through armrest and then through seat using drill extension
    • plane down sticks to accept armrest hole
  • Backrest
    • Cut, plane, drill three middle holes on mill (damaged the first one which became the back doubler)
    • Mark angles and drill outside holes freehand (resulted in one blow-out from not centered, should clamp a block on either side)
    • Trim down damaged piece, plug hole, and glue up with main backrest
  • Assembly
    • Make wedges on band saw, trim to width as needed
    • Glue up legs and install wedges
    • Level legs on kitchen island and cut to length
    • Bevel end of legs (feet?)
    • Flush cut tenons and wedges on top side of seat
    • Final plane seat with scrub plane (surfaces) and Jack plane (chamfers)
    • Glue up sticks, armrests, backrest; install wedges
    • Flush cut wedges on back underside
    • Cut armrest wedges/tenons proud; clean up with chisel
  • Hand sand with a 380 grid disc pad
  • Finish with Tried & True Original Traditionnel applied with an old t-shirt
  • On 2022-08-06-Sat I realized that the right (when seated) front post was not glued into the seat! I was able to back it out most of the way, get some glue in there, tap it back in, and clamp it down.

Joining the seat:

Octagonalizing the sticks:

Prepping for tenons:

Cutting tenons:


Laying out the arms:


Back doubler with plug:

This earned me my ‘Stick Chair Merit Badge’:

Created: 2022-06-29-Wed
Updated: 2022-10-11-Tue