Craig's Pages

The "LYBAR" Chair (as featured in Star Ware, 4th Ed)

Standing over the eyepiece for hours on end is a pain in the neck -- literally. So, a lot of folk go for an observing chair. The problem is, if you want an observing chair that can adjust to multiple heights and still be portable, you're often faced with a decent cash outlay. Sure, there are plans on the web to make nice adjustable chairs, but I thought I could do better. Well, maybe I should say that I thought I could do it more easily.

The result is, in my mind, the World's Simplest (Adjustable) Observing Chair. One piece of 1x5 cut into 4 pieces, a bit of glue and some screws. With sufficient safety training on using a saw, I bet I could teach my dog to build it.

Here were my design goals:

1. I needed it to cover 8" of travel from the lowest to the highest setting.
2. For my scope and mount, this was going to be from 12" to 20". That would allow comfortable viewing near the horizon and at zenith.
3. I'm lazy. I'd like to say I'm busy, but it really comes down to being lazy. Yes, I have a decent wood shop, but there were other things I wanted to do with my time.

Besides, if I broke it or left it in a field somewhere, I didn't want to be bummed.

Here's what I came up with:

Are you laughing yet? If not, let it sink in a bit. Really, this works. Want a low 12" chair? Lift Your Butt And Rotate the chair to the 12" position. Want a tall 20" chair? Lift your butt and rotate the chair to the 20" position. Want something inbetween? Lift your butt and rotate it to the 16" position.

OK, so there you have it -- the world's simplest adjustable observing chair. The LYBAR.

Now, there is one flaw to this design (just one?). In the 12" position, the seat is on the grass (or at least you hope it's just grass.) Below are the "plans" (believe it or not, someone asked for a cutting diagram) for a revised version that extends the vertical members (well, vertical in the 16" and 12" position) so that the "upper" seat (upper in the canonical 16" position) can be dropped giving you 1" legs while in the 12" position.

This version is also conducive to adding padding on the seat in each orientation.

Some have asked how sturdy it is. I'm only 185 lbs, but I can say it's very, very sturdy. The 1" outdoor planks are used as deck flooring and they don't have to go far without support. I've bounced around on it a whole bunch and it's shown no signs of problems. I've held a 60 lb dog on my lap while sitting on it with no problems. One could always use stronger joints (even placing some wood blocks appropriately) if you were worried. I'm not worried. It's solid. I've used it almost every time out now for several years with no problems whatsoever (honestly, what could go wrong?).

Also, keep in mind that these sizes are the ones I needed. Want it to go lower or higher? Just change the relevant plank lengths / placements. I would strongly suggest, though, that you NEVER use this to support you with your feet off the ground.