When planning a romantic picnic, the last thing you want is for your beloved to be uncomfortable. The whole point is for them to concentrate on what's important - you. That's why a comfy picnic chair is a pre-requisite for any champagne sipping or poetry reciting you're planning this weekend.
What can be off-putting about outdoor furniture is that it's either ugly camping stuff, which is fine for spilling sauce on, or it's too heavy to lug anywhere near a private secluded spot. Both of these problems are solved with this easy-to-construct design. The chair packs down nicely and is light, portable and smart.
The greatest thing about this project is I got to build it with my wife. We made a trip to Martha's in Newmarket to buy the fabric, then we were off to Bunnings to buy the timber - a nice bit of rimu. She sewed, he sawed, she made pithy remarks about his improving carpentry, he listened attentively, laughing his deep, rough laugh, the sun shone down, bees hummed, birds chorused and the chair virtually made itself. If it's that romantic to build, imagine what's going to happen when someone decides to sit in it. It could be positively explosive.
Select strong outdoor fabric. Allow enough to roll around the frame timbers a couple of times, plus 400mm as the seat backing. Hem the edges.
Cut and tidy the timber with a sander. A jig made sanding easy. I used 20x40mm hardwood for the framing and notched, screwed and glued everything. I cut two lengths at 700mm and three at 420mm. Using my sander, I rounded off the bottom of the longer lengths to form a heel.
Start with the back section first. Staple the material to the longer lengths, 100mm from the top. Initially I put four staples in each corner so I could check the fabric was positioned correctly. Roll the timber tightly inside the fabric. The staples need to be rolled inside the fabric so the backing is strong enough.
On the back of the backing section attach a 420mm baton 30mm below the top, then another 150mm from the bottom. The fabric should be facing away from the batons.
Turn the backing section over so the fabric is now facing up. Attach a baton below the bottom back baton. To get the depth, measure the depth of your seating legs - in my case that's 40mm - then add 15mm to 20mm. I attached the front baton 55mm below the back baton. Widen or contract the gap to adjust the pitch of the seat. The gap between these two is what the legs slot into.
The seat is made of a leg section; mine is 40x20mm at 530mm long covered in 30x10mm at 420mm long slats. Square and clamp the seat. The width is the inside width of the back section.
Attach slats to legs. Start at the front, work your way to the middle, for approximately 250-280mm. Use a spacer each time.
DIY Valentine's workshops at your local Bunnings Warehouse this weekend:
Saturday: 10am: Kids' "Heart-themed" workshop; 11am: How to make hanging baskets; 1pm: How to pot and maintain orchids.
Sunday: 10am: Kids' "Heart-themed" workshop; 11am: How to make a picture frame; 1pm: Artistic mosaic tiling.