How to Make a Papasan Chair Base

Written by ryan voss
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Papasan chairs, or satellite chairs, are large, dish-shaped chairs that can sit in a few different structures. One of the most common is the semi-conical, round chair base. This short, stool-like wooden stand is generally made of bamboo, but you can make your own in a similar shape using standard woodworking methods and materials. 

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2-inch thick plywood
  • Scroll saw
  • Router saw
  • 2-inch diameter wooden dowels
  • Wood glue
  • 3-inch screws
  • Power drill/screwdriver
  • Power disc sander
  • Wood stain
  • Wood varnish
  • Paintbrushes

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  1. 1

    Measure and cut two circular pieces of plywood using a scroll saw. Make one 2 feet in diameter and the other 3 feet.

  2. 2

    Remove the middles of the circular wood pieces using the router saw without cutting through the edges. Prop each piece on the saw horses and remove a portion from the middle of each piece large enough to leave a hollow circle with edges measuring 3 inches wide.

  3. 3

    Cut lengths of dowel to serve as support structures for the base. Make six, 20-inch lengths using the scroll saw.

  4. 4

    Attach the dowels to the smaller wood circle. Use glue to fasten the dowels to the outside of the piece, spacing them out evenly around the circle. Line up the ends of the dowels with the bottom of the wood circle. Reinforce the joints with screws, driving them through the dowels from the outside, into the plywood.

  5. 5

    Place the larger wood circle inside the cylinder formed by the dowels. Attach it in place at the ends of the dowels, just as you attached the first circle inside the dowels at the other end.

  6. 6

    Smooth and shape the frame using the disc sander. If you want to make it look more like a store-bought base, round down the corners of the wood circles.

  7. 7

    Stain and varnish the wood, if desired.

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