Charles Rohlfs 1898 Desk Chair and Popular Woodworking Magazine Article

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Project by Woodbridge posted 01-09-2015 10:25 PM 3522 views 5 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of the goals I set when I retired three years ago was to write and publish an article in a major woodworking magazine.

Early last year I was thrilled when Popular Woodworking magazine accepted my proposal about building Charles Rohlfs’ 1898 desk chair. I made this chair several months ago but I held off posting it until the article in the Feb 2015 edition of Popular Woodworking Magazine was published.

Most woodworkers are familiar with Arts and Crafts makers such as Morris, Stickley and Greene. Their furniture is routinely featured in woodworking magazines. Charles Rohlfs has not received the same notoriety.

I’ve been studying Rohlfs work for a number of years and have recreated a number of his pieces. Rohlfs work is unmistakably arts and crafts furniture but with an eccentric edge to it. So I am thrilled to be able to bring Rohlfs work to a large number of woodworkers.
I’ve made a number of versions of the desk chair, refining each one to more closely resemble the original version that I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

This version of Rohlfs 1898 Desk Chair is made from African mahogany. It was darkened a bit with an English chestnut stain, and finished with several coats of “tung oil” then wax.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

33 comments so far

View R_Stad's profile


369 posts in 1265 days

#1 posted 01-09-2015 10:47 PM

Congratulations Peter. Another outstanding build combined with educating and exposing Rohlfs work to so many of us. Thanks for all your dedicated efforts. Well done.

-- Rod - Oregon

View johnhutchinson's profile


1172 posts in 1051 days

#2 posted 01-09-2015 11:05 PM

Gorgeous !!! Looks like Chris Schwarz got the cover. Bummer. :(

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1840 days

#3 posted 01-10-2015 12:03 AM

Rod and John, thanks very much. I’m happy to be in the magazine alongside a project by Chris Schwarz.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View shipwright's profile


7094 posts in 2220 days

#4 posted 01-10-2015 12:07 AM

Sweet looking piece of art there Peter!

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View johnhutchinson's profile


1172 posts in 1051 days

#5 posted 01-10-2015 12:17 AM

I’m voting for your chair, Peter. Wonder if there’s time to switch the cover? :)

The opening photo is also gorgeous. Did Al Parrish take that one? It looks like his style of perfection.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1840 days

#6 posted 01-10-2015 12:25 AM

Paul – thanks very much.

Hi John. the opening photo for my article was taken by a local photographer Frances Juriansz

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View jdmaher's profile


381 posts in 2001 days

#7 posted 01-10-2015 12:49 AM

I greatly enjoyed the article – and the amazing piece you produced. I’ve added it to my “If only I could build that!” list.

One of these days . . .


-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View grizzman's profile


7782 posts in 2725 days

#8 posted 01-10-2015 01:41 AM

beautiful chair peter, and some very worthy goals, its a real treat to see one of our own woodworkers being spotlighted and published, i know you have done other works of Rohlfs and i’m sure there will be more to come, bravo peter, i cant wait to see more

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View DocSavage45's profile


7656 posts in 2264 days

#9 posted 01-10-2015 01:46 AM


You are a master of your craft. I’m glad they took you up on your offer. It’s good to expand a woodworkers mind through example and knowledge!


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1840 days

#10 posted 01-10-2015 02:12 AM

jd, grizz, doc – thanks for your comments. this year I’m hoping to get another couple Rohlfs pieces done, one being the tall case clock.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View calisdad's profile


277 posts in 932 days

#11 posted 01-10-2015 05:19 AM

Nice job Peter. I had read your article earlier this week. Fascinating work.

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1840 days

#12 posted 01-10-2015 06:00 AM

Calisdad, thanks for your comment and for taking the time to read my article. It is much appreciated.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View ctregan's profile


8 posts in 1638 days

#13 posted 01-10-2015 01:06 PM

Hi Peter, I was just in the grocery store and saw your article in PW!!! I had no idea you are “being published”.
Usually, I just flip through these mags, but this one I will buy.

View _Daniel_'s profile


38 posts in 850 days

#14 posted 01-10-2015 03:10 PM

Excellent craftsmanship on the chair. Congrats on being published!

The wainscoting in the background of several of the shots is quite nice, too.

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2089 days

#15 posted 01-10-2015 03:33 PM

That is a great accomplishment Peter!
Not just having built this wonderful chair but getting it published is the icing on the cake .
I hope they paid you for this but there should be some good offers coming in .


-- Kiefer

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