Cherry Morris Chairs

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Project by Luddite posted 03-07-2015 04:03 PM 2182 views 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After several years of pestering me, I finally agreed to build two Morris Chairs for a client.

The build would be from Cherry with some mesquite highlights, similar to other pieces made for her. Fishing around for my old plans I picked up the Woodsmith chair design and decided to go with that and of course make changes as needed. My initial trepidations were:

  • Actually being able to do some of the work with what tools I had. In the past MC build I’d used a larger shops tools.
  • Making the bent arm. More on that later.
  • Making curved back slats.
  • Did I really want to do this. I’d built two others of mesquite 10 years prior and it nearly killed me.
See the blog on this build for more fun and photos.

Regardless of my Fear & Loathing I started.
  • The design wanted a 9.5 degree slant from front leg too rear. I decided to use my compound cut off saw.
    Setting a 9.5 degree angle on the horizontal I trimmed ends on four posts (two chairs). Set the ‘set screw’ to a 3/8 inch depth and setting the angle I then cut the first side of the top tenon on each piece. Reversing the settings and stop block I did the other sides. Resetting to 90 degrees I made two cuts at the tenon base and using my band saw trimmed off the rest of the post tenon.
  • It wasn’t pretty but worked.
  • Milled the supporting rails and slats.
  • Assembled the base units and applied first coating of oil.

Due to machine limitations I was unable to do the classic bent arm which was laminating an extra end to the arm and cutting with a band saw. After posting this problem and my suggested solution I gained much needed advise on how to continue:

  1. Make an angled cut one half of desired angle of descent where your arm will bend.
  2. Make a reciprocating cut on the other piece.
    When joined back they will equal the desired angle.
  1. Using a tenon jig make a deep through dado on the ends of each piece.
    As the angles are the same for both pieces the same set up could be used for all pieces.
  2. Using again the tenon jig, prepare a floating slat with grain in same direction as the arm.
  1. Prepare the underside dado’s and fit to test.

Base units were assembled with arms in place. Added value features for the client included:
  • Inlay of turquoise and other elements.
  • A meteorite fragment from Argentina.

The backs were prepared, assembled, tenon caps and peg holes made from mesquite and installed and the chair was tested.

——————————-end of project

Final work was applying Watcos natural oil. Four rubbings with sanding to 800 grit.

-- T Loftus -- Just on the edge of common sense

7 comments so far

View Reverse_Pivot's profile


48 posts in 2019 days

#1 posted 03-07-2015 04:12 PM

Nice looking chairs! I like how you adapted the bent arms- I’ve built from the Woodsmith plans, and that was definitely one of the trickiest bits. Looks like you ernt all the way and cut “real” mortises in the side rails, instead of doing the filler strips- nice!

Great looking final product!

-- -Tim

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 4006 days

#2 posted 03-07-2015 04:17 PM

Great post! Amazing chairs . . .

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2626 days

#3 posted 03-07-2015 09:46 PM

Beautiful chairs, amazing attention to detail with the meteorite inlays etc,. But the look on your face in the last picture, ,,, whats up?

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Luddite's profile


209 posts in 1437 days

#4 posted 03-07-2015 10:05 PM

Beautiful chairs, amazing attention to detail with the meteorite inlays etc,. But the look on your face in the last picture, ,,, whats up?

- exelectrician

Just my usual slouch position and stare.

-- T Loftus -- Just on the edge of common sense

View Mean_Dean's profile


6900 posts in 3346 days

#5 posted 03-07-2015 11:27 PM

These turned out very well, indeed!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Dutchy's profile


3147 posts in 2367 days

#6 posted 03-08-2015 07:46 AM

Great chair and nice blog.


View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3065 days

#7 posted 03-08-2015 12:42 PM

These are real nice and I’m sure that you are proud of them.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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