The Making of the 2×4 Chair

Building the Rietveld Crate Chair

I started building the Rietveld Crate Chair.  The instructions are in the book: How to Construct Rietveld Furniture. It’s a nice book and also gives some background on the chair. It was part of the Crate Furniture series from 1934. The Crate Furniture was designed to build yourself, there are only straight cuts. The  idea being that everyone should have access to well designed furniture. This chair most closely matched my own design goals.

I built this chair from standard size 1×6 cedar boards and made it a little higher, matching common seat height of easy chairs. The end result was not as sturdy as I expected. I added a board under the seat to bring extra stability.

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Modifying the Crate Chair

In this modification I took out the arm rests and make the seat and back rest on the frame rather than hang it in between. The result is sturdier and easy to assemble. The proportions look a bit odd though.

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Introducing 2×4’s

The 1×6 boards I had been using were not as affordable as 2×4’s. I had also figured out how to build a table out of 2×4. Connecting 3 2×4’s from all three directions gave the corners the right stability. Exposing the ends of the bars gave the table a distinct look.


The idea behind this chair was to make it look like a table with one end folded up to make the back. This chair was not as easy to put together. It sits actually more comfortable than the chair I ended up with. To support the seat and the back, a couple extra pieces underneath are needed. This did not create as clean of a concept as I wanted.

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Final Version

For the final version I broke with the idea of the same direction for the seat and the back. There are no additional support bars needed. What You See Is What You Get.

Shown here is a brand new 2×4 chair. The chair also fits standard size 18″x18” cushions!

2x4 Chair2x4 chair with cushions


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