Multiple Ideas Solve a Problem Chair

12.30.12 By //
Project Image

I wanted to give my grandkids a desk and chairs that were usable and would fit in their room.  First I thought of a partner's type desk but then wondered what to do as fights ensued.  Also they would need chairs that will stand abuse.  I decided to build two identical desks that would back up to each other but easily separated if necessary.  I was given ideas by three TDC designs:

Shabby Chic Cottage Dining Chair

 Clymer Writing Desk

 Flanders Desk

 You can probably see elements of each in the final results.

I would like to comment on the cutting of the legs.  I had to resort to using  my circular saw and jig saw in combination.  Not the smoothest operation but a lot of snading saved the day.  I would like to see leg plans that produce the same final result but don't require a band saw to cut.  I thought my method was not the safest and certainly not the most accurate.

Estimated Cost 

For each chair:

  • Legs $6 (I use fence posts that cost less than $3 for four feet and are perfectly square.)
  • 2×4  $3 
  • 1×4  $5  , 1×3 and 1×2  scrap pile 
  • Paint, screws, glue and sandpaper maybe $8 
  • Total per chair $20 to $25   
Length of Time 

Chairs took two weekends and the desks a week of nights so the total build time was at least two weeks.  Total actual time was about 40 hours.  That may seem long but just the finishing takes a couple of days.

Lumber Used 

Off-the-shelf pine.

Finishing Technique 


  • MDF : I sealed the edges of the MDF with vinyl spackling to prevent water damage in the future.  Applied and sanded smooth after it was dry.  Then a good coat of oil-based spray primer. 
  • The rest I just used two coats of paint with primer.  The brown you see is Valspar Ultra, the green is Behr Premium Plus, and the white is Behr Premium Plus. 
  • Before painting I sanded the entire project with 150 grit and then the exposed areas I took to 220 grit.
  •   I know that the desk and chairs will take a lot of abuse from the 8 and 10 year olds so I was not concerned with being perfect. I can fix the mars and scars as necessary.

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