MCM Popular Mechanics Part 1: Let’s Build Chairs!

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We’re trapped inside on snowy, winter weekends with regular plans canceled. What to do with this sudden spare time? Why, let’s fire up our wood shops and build some chairs! Who of us hasn’t longed for a serpentine mid-century modern chaise lounge? But have you seen the prices for a good vintage one? Well, the 1961 series of Popular Mechanics’ Home Handyman will let you have a brand new authentic chaise lounge. Click to see all photos at full size to get the details you need to start creating fabulous!

Tim Wahlig, a carpenter friend of mine, bought the entire series at an estate sale. Because it was the height of post-war modernism, the series makes sure you can update your tired old homes with the most current looks, complete with all the instructions you need to be atomic-age for cheap, with a sense of accomplishment as a bonus. And their designs are amazing. Like this captain’s chair!

“…minus turned legs and bow back, the captain’s chair becomes a chair that can take its place among modern furnishings,” indeed!

Or take a stab at this dining room chair. Once you complete the first one, the other 3 will be a breeze!

Once you have the confidence that you can use the table saw without losing digits, it’s time to move onto a sofa. They even detail the upholstering, which gives you a new talent to master.

Your sofa needs a coffee table, and here’s the secret to having the classic boomerang table. Compared to the chair construction, this can most likely be completed in one quick afternoon.  And if you’re wondering about the proper finish for all this furniture you’ve built, Home handyman knows exactly the hip look:

Since it promises to be an endlessly snowy winter, there’s plenty of free time to take a stab at the coveted pole lamp:

And there’s even a nod to man’s best friend, who deserves a home to match your mid-century remodeling:

In the coming weeks, I’ll share more pages from this fascinating series. They were seriously trying to help homeowners banish the banality of pre-war design, and they had exquisite taste. Wait till you see the room dividers, backyard living and how to update the exterior of your embarrassing revival home!

2 thoughts on “MCM Popular Mechanics Part 1: Let’s Build Chairs!

  1. This series and others like it are a great resource for maintaining and building stuff the way it was done back in the day… I love collecting these old treasures! Thank you for posting the details.

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