How to Build a Wooden High Chair

What You'll Need
Table or skill saw
Waterproof glue
Tape measure
Carpenters square
Approximately 25 board feet of 3/4 -inch oak
Various grits of sandpaper (100 to 220)
Wood screws
Minwax Golden Oak stain
Polyurethane varnish
Mineral spirits

Building a wooden high chair, whether it is for a son or daughter, or better yet, a grandson or daughter, is a true labor of love. As such, it can be built with as much love and affection, as well as attention to detail, as a person wants to invest in it. Whatever the result, it will be a treasured gift that will not soon be easily forgotten. This project can take weeks to get right, or it can be accomplished in a weekend or two.

Step 1 Planning, Drawing and Measuring

Begin this project by carefully planning the materials required, drawing out what the high chair will look like and assigning measurements to the parts. For example, it would be good to make the high chair so that it can be placed close to the dining table so baby can be close at hand; to do this, plan for the arms of the high chair to fit under the dining table. For greater accuracy, use drafting paper while laying our plans, as well as a sharp pencil with a good eraser.

Plan for the chair’s legs to be constructed so that they are somewhat splayed out as this will give the chair more stability, greater strength and safety. This will mean making angled cuts so that the legs can be tapered, but with care this can be easily done on an angled table saw.

Step 2: Build the Chair

The legs of the chair will be attached at the top, bottom and mid-top (the top and mid-top form a box in which the child will sit) and are butt-joined at an angle to allow the legs to canter outwards at the bottom. This is the stabilizing feature of this table.

The side pieces (of which there are three; left, right and back) for the top and mid-top. The seat attaches to the mid-top side pieces. The next step is to router out a ¼ inch groove around these side pieces. The seat, which can be made of ¾-inch plywood, can be fitted into this groove around the side pieces. It is not necessary to glue this piece as may need to be removed for cleaning, or replaced at some point.

Step 3: Attach the Food Tray

Extend the left top piece (as the child sits in the seat) out beyond the chair to approximately 12 inches. The food tray will be hinged to this side piece using two small hinges. The food tray can be formed much like commercial high chair food trays, or can be custom fit to a particular child. It can be made of simple plywood, or shaped out of hardwood boards. 

Step 4: Varnish High Chair

This wooden high chair will probably see much abuse and food spills, therefore it is essential that it be varnished thoroughly, even waxed with several coats of hard floor wax.