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The Oseberg “Box” Chair

The chair from the Oseberg finds was made from Beech. It was a box shaped seat
with a back. It is connected at the corners with four posts.
The dimensions of the box are approximately 15 inches high, 21½ inches wide
and 15½ inches deep. The four corner posts raise the box seat about 1 inch off of the
ground. The seat appears to be made of rope or some other cording that has since
disappeared. The sides and back are connected by means of tenons.

The front and side panels appear to have a recessed panel with the outside framing
being carved with two parallel lines. The back is attached so as to be slightly angled back.
The posts of my version will be made of oak, with oak plywood being used for the panels
of the box and the back. I have access to ¼ sheets of plywood, so I purchased one in ½
inch and a second in ¾ inch. The chair will be held together with hinges with removable
hinge pins. This way the chair can be dismantled for easy transport.

The materials list


Front posts (2) 16 inch oak 2 x 2
Back posts (2) 30 inch oak 2 x 2
Back 30 x 22 - ½ inch oak plywood
Front 15 x 22 - ½ inch oak plywood
Sides (make 2)15 x 17 - ½ inch oak plywood
(One edge tapers 96 degrees)
Seat 18 x 22 - ½ inch oak plywood
Box bottom 15 x 22 (this does not need to be the same oak plywood)
8 - 2 inch hinges with removable pins
Panel border about 17 feet of ½ inch x 3
6 at 15 inches
4 at 17 inches
2 at 22 inches
Wood glue
One box of 1 inch wood screws

Construction Highlights
First cut posts and the plywood pieces. You can get all of the plywood pieces
except the box bottom from ½ sheet of plywood. The box bottom will not be visible, so it
can be made of pine or glued up from the scrap pieces.
The Back
The back posts are cut tapered, but on my chair, I left the post square, and just
miter-cut the bottom to 96 degrees. A ½ inch wide ½ inch deep channel is then cut down
one corner in the side of the posts. This channel can be cut using either a dado blade on a
table saw or a router. The back posts are then glued and clamped to either side of the
back panel. The back should extend 1 inch beyond the end of the back post.

The Front
A ½ inch wide ½ inch deep channel is cut down one corner of the front posts. The
front posts are then glued and clamped to either side of the front panel. After the glue has
set, miter cut the panel border to fit the outside of the front panel.

The Sides
The panel border is first cut and attached to each side panel. The sides are then
attached to the front panel with 2 - 2 inch hinges with removable pins. The hinges should
be mounted about 1 inch below the top & 1 inch above the bottom of the panel. The same
is then done to attach the sides to the back
The Box Bottom
There is no evidence that the Oseberg chair had a bottom, but why waste a
perfectly good box that could be used to store items in?
The bottom of the box will not be seen, and as such, does not need to also be
made of oak plywood. I have made it from glued up scraps, but could have been made of
scrap plywood