These chairs are really fun projects that are cheap, easy and make great additions alongside a campfire. They are also known as bog, plank or stargazer chairs. Due to the angle and length of the back, these chairs really support your neck while you look up at the stars and are surprisingly comfortable!
The first step in making a viking chair is to cut your 8 foot boards in half to 4 feet. Use your hand saws here and it really helps if you can put a foot down on the boards so they don’t move around when cutting. If you like to see how to build some easy stackable sawhorses, see my DIY video here. For power tools, you can use a jigsaw or circular saw to make this easy cut.
Mark your mortise slot, make the slot about 12″ from the bottom of the board, and 8 inches wide. Measure lines 2 inches in from either side so that your slot is centered. Place the other half of your board standing up over the mortise line and mark again. Now your mortise will be the exact ‘thickness’ of your board for a close fit.
Attach the largest bit you can find to your brace and drill out the center of the mortises, where the X’s are above. Have a friendly viking sit on the board to keep it steady, and watch the shavings fly! Make sure to put a scrap board underneath where you are drilling, to prevent tear out and splinters. For power tool users, simply drill one hole large enough to fit your jigsaw blade into and cut out the mortise.
And now a word from our proud viking assistant, Olaf:
Mark your 2″ offsets on your second board and cut them with a hand saw. These should be about 12″ from the end of the board. See the diagram at the bottom of the post for details.
Now here comes the fun part. A true viking doesn’t need to cut wood, he splits it with an axe! Use your mallet and hatchet to begin splitting the wood at the opposite end of the offsets you just cut, about 2″ from the side of the board. The wood will split right along the grain, so line it up parallel with your offset.
You don’t want the wood to split too far towards the center of the board, or it will be a loose fit. Use the hammer and lawnmower blade to finish the split. Wood splitting is also called ‘riving’. Power tool users will want to mark a line along the length of the board and cut out the shape with your jigsaw.
Clean up the remaining excess with your hatchet and check your fit. Finally, fit the viking chair pieces together.