Topic: Crafts

How to Make a Ski Chair

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Follow these steps to build your very own ski chair at home.

How to Make a Ski Chair

The ski chair’s back is varying lengths of 42 to 45 inches cut from seven fiberglass skis. You’ll need a power hacksaw to cut through metal edges. Armrests are two 26-inch ski sections (tips included). The chair’s seat is cut ski scraps. Seven 20-inch strips are screwed into front and rear cross members.

Ian Aldrich

Lincoln Fuller isn’t big on getting rid of stuff. “I have a tough time throwing anything away,” says the Yarmouth, Maine, resident. Take his ski chalet at Sunday River, where Fuller and his family have been coming since 1968. There, four decades of fiberglass skis had built up, most of them finding a home in a storage spot beneath the house or in an outdoor closet on the back porch. “I bet we had 20 pairs,” says Fuller. “We didn’t even know whom some of them had belonged to.”

So, when his wife, Marti Mayne, suggested he try to replicate an Adirondack-style ski chair she’d once seen made out of old skis, Fuller jumped at the chance. He could free up some needed space without, you know, having to get rid of anything.

Afterward, Fuller told his mother what he’d built. She was somewhat taken aback that he’d used her skis in the chair. “You cut up my skis?” she asked him. But when he presented the ski chair to her a s gift, she loved it. And for good reason, notes Fuller. “It’s unique,” he says. “It’s eye-catching, and there’s some sentimental value to it.”

$50 for lumber, screws, and paint

2×4 and 2×6 framing lumber
5 pairs fiberglass skis
Phillips-head screwdriver
skill saw & power hacksaw
4-inch, 2-inch, and 1 5/8-inch drywall screws
latex paint

 Download and print a page of illustrations for this chair.


Ski Chair Frame. Fuller’s first task was to build the chair’s core, which consists of varying lengths of 2×4 and 2×6 pieces of framing lumber (Figure 1).

1. For the two front two legs, cut a single 2×4 into matching 27-inch sections. The front cross member is a 22-inch board from the same-size stock. Using two 4-inch drywall screws on either side, join the front cross member to the front legs, between them, 15 inches up from their base (Figure 1a).

2. Rear legs are a pair of 38-inch 2×6 boards. Cut both ends of each board at a 45-degree angle. Using three 4-inch drywall screws on either side, join the angled ends of the rear legs to the back of the front legs at the top.

3. The rear cross member is a 25-inch 2×4, cut at a 30-degree angle. Using three 4-inch drywall screws on either side, join the rear cross member to the rear legs, across the outside, 18 inches up from their base (Figure 1b).

4. Paint the entire frame with a couple of coats of dark-blue latex.

Ski Chair Back

For Fuller, the biggest challenge might have been dismantling and cutting the five pairs of fiberglass skis he was using for the chair’s back, seat, and armrests (Figure 2). “Removing the old bindings was pretty difficult,” he says. “They were epoxied, so they were screwed in pretty solid.” Because of the skis’ metal edges, Fuller opted for a power hacksaw over a skill saw.

1. Cut the tip ends of seven skis into varying lengths (Figure 2a): one 45-inch; two 44-inch; two 43-inch; two 42-inch.

2. Using three 4-inch drywall screws per ski, join ski sections vertically (and evenly spaced) to the rear cross member, flush with the bottom edge of that board (Figure 2b).

Ski Chair Seat

For the seat, Fuller recycled his cut ski tails.

1. Using two 1 5/8-inch drywall screws at either end of each ski tail (Figure 2c), join seven 20-inch pieces, laid horizontally, to the tops of the frame’s front and rear cross members.

Ski Chair Finishing touches

Fuller’s last structural task was to create the chair’s armrests.

1. Using two 1 5/8-inch drywall screws on either side of the chair, mount two 26-inch ski sections (tips included) onto the tops of the two front legs.

2. Using two 2-inch drywall screws from behind the chair’s back, join the outermost vertical slat on either side to the butt ends of the armrests.

3. Fuller finished off the whole project by smoothing the edges of the skis (back, seat, and arm rests) with 50-grit sandpaper — but only lightly. Why? “Because they were pretty dull from having been just stored away and not sharpened,” he says.


Read more: Ski Coatrack from ski blogger Heather Atwell

Click on link below to download and print a page of illustrations for this chair.

  • I recently completed this chair with only a couple of modifications from the plan. I anchored the back brace with lag screws and added a brace across the back of the skiis, integrated with the back of the arms. That worked great.

  • Joe – Do you have pics and plans for your chairs? I would also love to see the binding cup holders. I have been wondering how to re-use them but could not come up with anything. I am looking to make true Andirondack style chairs and foot rests using skis or used wood for most of the framing too; trying to limit the amount of new materials. Thanks.

  • I have built several of these over the years. I started out with wooden frames similar to what is shown in this article and then moved on to building the entire chair out of skis including the legs and armrests. I find those to be the most fun. You can also use the bindings to create some really neat cupholders to attach to the arms.

    Addressing a question up above, a brace across the back is absolutely needed for stability. Whether you use another ski or a wooden brace it is the same concept: Place it about where the arms hit the back of the chair. That’s the least noticeable place to have it and in my designs I actually attach the rear of the armrests to that brace piece.

    As for cutting the skis, if all you are doing is building a single chair and you are short on tools an old-fashioned hand hacksaw does a really nice job if you have the patience. When I started building more of these I moved onto a reciprocating saw. The real work is getting through the metal edges; the rest of the ski cuts quite easily. But if you’re not careful the metal edge will pull out of the ski and you don’t want that which is why I find circular saws do not work well for this at all.

  • I built this chair just recently and it turned out great. As for the 30 degree angle cross member, I could not figure it out. I just made to straight cuts and it worked out just fine. The back does not need any extra support. I was skeptical about this at first but the skis I used are very strong and don’t budge one bit.

  • These plans aren’t all the way thought through. As has been mentioned, there’s no support across the back. Assuming the back slats on either end are adequately secured to the armrests, I suppose one could secure a 25″ length of 1×2 pressure-treated across the back at armrest height.

  • timothy

    hmmmmmm, there must be something to support the upper part of the back skis, otherwise when you sit against the back it would give way.

  • william

    Is there an answer to the 3rd comment about 30 degree and support with only 3 screws.

  • I am having a devil of a time figuring out the 30 degree angle for the rear cross member. Wasting a lot of lumber. Any help? Also, wondering if the seat back is adequately supported being merely screwed into the rear cross member. Comments appreciated.

  • The chair is attractive, comfortable to sit on, and weather-proof too. I got it as a gift for my 75th birthday — no doubt my son thought I was too old to use the skis on the slopes any more.


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