How to build a Viking camp chair

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Right on!

I need a “chisel sharpening for dummies” turorial.



Being all thumbs at woodwork, I’d probably go cheap’n’dirty and cut a 1/4 width slot in the boards and slide them together. (Fun until it un-slides while you’re sitting on it, quaffing mead.)


I wanna go to Viking camp.


Tools used:

Viking tools used:

From the article: “I’m almost certain it isn’t of Viking origin.”

I’ve seen this design a number of times over the years. I seem to recall reading that it’s an indigenous Andean design, but if you trust my memory that’s on you.


This is just idle speculation, but it may be called a “viking” chair due to the mortise-and-tenon style joint that’s at its center. Whether or not the vikings ever built chairs like this, they definitely built things like storage chests and boat tillers with big chonky mortise-and-tenon joints.


These chairs have been a standard feature of SCA camps for over 40 years.


Pickled lumber. Yikes!

I get it this is for outdoor use, but… (a) I am not a fan of breathing in sawdust from treated lumber, and (b) it maybe weather-resistant, rot-resistant and critter-resistant, but don’t sit on the new wood if you have sensitive skin and bare legs. Took me a while to figure out where I got my rash from.

I’d take my chances and just go with untreated SYP (Southern Yellow Pine). That wood’s heavy and hard. The hardest part would be finding 2" stock that won’t warp or twist badly. How’s that new Viking camp chair going to look and work a year later?


I was thinking that same thing. I’m planning to make a couple raised garden beds this weekend using the slot approach.
For the chair, I’d imagine if you use 12” wide boards, it’d take awhile for it to unslide.

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The chairs used to be called Star Gazer chairs back when the Boy Scouts started making them. I think they got the Viking Chair title in the last 40 or so years when they started popping up at medieval reenactments. They are very similar to African birthing chairs in design and have been used in Europe since the 1800s. I did a deep dive into some research on these and really didn’t find much beyond their use at summer camps and such starting in the 50s.


The really cool thing about these chairs is the joint is held in tension by the weight of the person in the chair. As long as the weight on the board is roughly perpendicular to the back, the joint is pretty secure (as long as the wood of the joint is rough enough to have good friction). Without the weight binding the joint it’s easy to slip it out.

I’m not a big fan of these chairs (I don’t really find them comfortable, and they are very heavy), but I do greatly appreciate how slick the design is. :slight_smile:


Yeah. I made mine more than 20 years ago.

Calling them “Viking Chairs” upsets SCA vikingr people so much that I started calling them “Pennsic Chairs”.


No Vikings were harmed in the making of this chair…

I know that does not make any sense I just felt it needed to be said.


(I’m almost certain it isn’t of Viking origin).

As someone who studies Vikings for a living: it’s not


The actual viking chairs we have found are surprisingly modern looking: square with a straight back and a woven straw seat. They wouldn’t look too out of place in a farm kitchen, really. A friend of my mother made one a few years back; it’s fairly comfortable.


Ragnar Lothbrok approves this chair.

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I wouldn’t mind hanging out with some camp Vikings. Mead under the stars sounds nice.

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@Tasmin_Bailey + @knoxblox

What you’re looking for is Midgardsblot! Cancelled this year and not my preferred sub-genre of metal or scene, but I have a family member who is dying to go as soon as he can. I could hang with the metal yoga and seeing Deicide live, but can pass on the folkiest metal for sure.

Having read Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, I wonder if a true Viking camp chair should have a convenient hole in the seat. :wink:

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I would also count one from your copy of the list: “Wooden Joiner’s Mallet: shop made” aka Viking Chisel Hammer of Thor! I got to that part and wanted to jump to the associated how-to video. Sadly, it appears there isn’t one.

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