Outdoor Morris Chair #1: Gathering the materials

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Blog entry by LegendInMyOwnMind posted 04-30-2011 06:27 PM 3013 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Outdoor Morris Chair series Part 2: Cuts done »

Making Mr Thiel’s Outdoor Morris Chair from his excellent book (pic from his BLOG here)..

Thought I bought lumber for two chairs. Made double the cuts and got part of the way through before I realized that I had not doubled the materials. Trip to Lowes Depot this morning and a lot of fumbling through the junk boards got me enough to hopefully do all the cuts I need.

I love Mr Thiel’s book but I’ve got one minor quibble. There’s no cut diagram in the book and the book is targeted for beginner (at least I hope it is since I’m totally a beginner). It could be that the publisher cut it out or that the authors of these books don’t know what raw stock lengths someone might buy, but when there’s a couple of dozen 1×3 cuts to be made with various lengths it would be helpful if these books made assumptions.

I think one safe assumption is that people who are doing beginner projects have to move the lumber in their sedans. To me, that usually means 8’ lumber. If it fits into my Ford Focus there can’t be too many cars it would not fit into.

Another thing for cut lists is that it would be nice if they were grouped by size of materials so that all of the 1×3, all of the 1×4’s and all of the 1×6’s were grouped together. I do put the lists into EXCEL and I can filter the list, but why should I need to do that?

I like to see lists of tools needed for beginner projects. I didn’t realize I would need to get a Forstner bit until the second trip. After all, who reads the directions until you are ready to actually start working. Somebody with basic tools doesn’t have one of those. I’m glad I bought a set, because I can use it for other stuff.

For me, this outdoor Morris Chair is a warm-up for a real indoor Morris chair. I realize that the techniques are almost totally different, but need to hone my skills by doing something. I figure I can use the chairs inside until I make the indoor ones and then they have a natural spot on my back porch.

To that end, I’m stumped about whether to stain/poly this thing or go to paint. Do I need to use outdoor stain and poly? I assume I can’t paint it once it’s been poly coated. I like the looks of stained wood. It’s all cheap dimensional pine and I did get the cleanest pieces I could find… I am assuming if I stain I need wood conditioner since I put in double doors and got a blotchy result when I stained them. At $450 I’m not going to change the doors now.

-- Doug - When all you own is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

6 comments so far

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3743 days

#1 posted 05-01-2011 02:42 AM

No matter what you choose, if it is outside it will need routine maintenance. By that I mean it will need repainted of recoated with the poly. You just need to decide which you’d like to do. Good luck.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View David White's profile

David White

120 posts in 3304 days

#2 posted 05-01-2011 02:45 AM

Good luck with the project – sounds like a good skill builder. I’d say go with a stain / outdoor satin ploy, but put a couple of coats of shellac on first to prevent blotching.


View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2861 days

#3 posted 05-04-2011 03:17 PM

Here’s a free set of the plans for this chair- as posted on PWW site. :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 3709 days

#4 posted 05-04-2011 05:11 PM

If it is helpful … when doing outdoor projects, I tend to use spar varnish rather than regular poly because I find that the UV protection make a big difference in the length of time that it lasts.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2784 days

#5 posted 05-05-2011 03:26 PM

I just had to laugh when you mentioned that you put 8’ mterial in your Focus. I have an old Toyota Corrola that I have to do the same thing with. I just downloaded these plans from Popular Woodworkings news-letter. I was glad to see that it was made from an inexpensive material. Thanks for posting this series. I’ll refer to it often as I build my own.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2861 days

#6 posted 05-06-2011 02:37 AM

I also haul lots of wood in my Ford Focus hatchback! Hay and straw bales too. And last weekend was town cleanup in the town nearby- so I took the car and loaded up lots of wooden “junk” in the focus and hauled it home! :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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