How to make a viking chair with hand tools

posted in: Projects | 11

 Viking Chairs

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!

How to make a viking chair!

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

Hand tool method:

2″x12″x8′ Pine board for each viking chair

Hand Saw

Hatchet

Mortise Chisel

Hatchet

Brace and large auger bit (can find cheap vintage braces at yard sales / ebay)

Rubber mallet & Hammer

Lawnmower blade, Froe or something to split wood with

Tape measure

Saw horses or build your own here!


Begin!

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.

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

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.

How to make a viking chair with hand tools              How to make a viking chair with hand tools

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.

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

And now a word from our proud viking assistant, Olaf:

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

Clean up the mortise with your mortise chisel & rubber mallet.  It doesn’t need to be perfect to start, cut it a but undersized and check your fit.

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

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.

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

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.

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

Clean up the remaining excess with your hatchet and check your fit.  Finally, fit the viking chair pieces together.

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

Finished ! Sit back and enjoy a job well done!

How to make a viking chair with hand tools


Viking Chair sketchup diagrams

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

How to make a viking chair with hand tools

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11 Responses

  1. Nice article on the chair. However, vikings never wore horn on their helmets

  2. Being of Viking heritage myself when I wear a helmet with horns I can say a viking wore a helmet with horns. Grin. Gonna build this chair. Looks like you had great fun doing it! Thanks for going to the effort of posting it. I’ll leave you with an old Viking saying.
    A cowardly man
    thinks he will ever live,
    if warfare he avoids;
    but old age will
    give him no peace,
    though spears may spare him.

    • Mark, it was definitely a fun project! Thanks for your comment and with your viking heritage I bet your viking chair will be amazing!

    • What viking wore horned helmets ????

      No they never ever did, you might be mistaken because of bronze age helmets discovered in Denmark that did have horns, but those were a lot older than vikings and never used for combat, only rituals.

  3. Nicely done. Thanks for posting.

  4. This isn’t viking at all vikings never used such chairs, those are african chairs ….

  5. 🙂 No horns on helmets, And the chair is from Africa.. BUT still a real nice chair. il make a few to the gaden.. 😀

    The Dane- aka former Viking.
    =(8C>

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