Metamorphic Library Chair

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Project by Elm55 posted 05-29-2017 01:54 AM 793 views 2 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This metamorphic chair converts to a set of steps via hinges located along the rear of the top of the front leg. It is based on a design from the London furniture firm of Morgan and Sanders from 1811. Not having plans and working only off of photos online and in books, there were many challenges along the way. An old Regency style basic dining room chair was used for a rough template, and then I just worked off of that. There are over 30 mortise and tenon joints. Many components used angled mortise and tenons. Most were cut traditionally (and not so traditionally) with hand tools, some with a router jig, some using dowels and a few loose tenons using a pocket Jessem mortising jig.

The cherry will darken over time. The steps are made of maple.

Since I’m a golf nut and have a lot of golf books, there is a subtle golf theme to the chair with a painted diamond shaped central back splat of 19th Century longnose golf clubs (I veered off on a woodworking tangent for a couple of months making these replica longnose clubs). The 1 ” circles at the top of the back leg houses a standard 1” magnetic decorative golf ball marker which can be exchanged.

View on YouTube

You can see my blogpost that shows more detail as well as a video of how the chair metamorphosizes into the steps. For the 2 people that might be interested in the history of the piece, there is a prior post about metamorphic furniture.


17 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

19104 posts in 2862 days

#1 posted 05-29-2017 03:28 AM

Great chair! Very nice work on it!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3203 posts in 3468 days

#2 posted 05-29-2017 04:05 AM

She’s a real beauty! WOW!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Redoak49's profile


2725 posts in 1745 days

#3 posted 05-29-2017 11:25 AM

Very nice

View oldrivers's profile


1152 posts in 1323 days

#4 posted 05-29-2017 11:31 AM

Beautiful chair/ steps. Outstanding craftsmanship.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View helluvawreck's profile


27808 posts in 2623 days

#5 posted 05-29-2017 02:50 PM

You did a wonderful job on making a reproduction of this type of library chair and it displays a lot of nice details and craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

1536 posts in 404 days

#6 posted 05-29-2017 02:58 PM

Most impressive! Love the detail. Nice inlay work.

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

5368 posts in 3109 days

#7 posted 05-29-2017 04:39 PM

A chair of that beauty should never be stepped on unless you flip it and turn it into steps :) Nice work… it’s a great looking Metamorphic Library Chair!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View Carlos510's profile


32 posts in 128 days

#8 posted 05-29-2017 06:43 PM

Great project, beautifully executed.

-- From popular rap:"If time is money, then I need a loan." Carlos B.,

View NormG's profile


5855 posts in 2760 days

#9 posted 05-29-2017 07:14 PM

Love the work you have completed, great useful project

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View builtinbkyn's profile


1755 posts in 697 days

#10 posted 05-29-2017 07:17 PM

Beautiful work. It’s easy to see a lot of work went into this hybrid chair/step stool. Staying faithful to the original design just adds to the accomplishment. Really nice project and blog.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn :)

View Mean_Dean's profile


5568 posts in 2903 days

#11 posted 05-29-2017 07:28 PM

Man that’s a beautiful multi-use chair! You did some fine work on it!

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

View Valete's profile


87 posts in 1215 days

#12 posted 05-29-2017 08:09 PM

very nice.

View TungOil's profile


611 posts in 251 days

#13 posted 05-29-2017 11:13 PM

great looking piece, and sure to be a conversation piece at the next party!

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Elm55's profile


20 posts in 857 days

#14 posted 05-29-2017 11:44 PM

Hey, thanks everyone for the kind words.

For the next project, I’ll be planning to build a sofa that converts into bleachers. :)

View Bluepine38's profile


3370 posts in 2841 days

#15 posted 05-31-2017 06:26 PM

Working from pictures and your own experience is always a challenge, you not only met the challenge,
but added wonderful craftmanship to make a chair that will be at home in any library. A sofa that
converts into bleachers will be very interesting, but where would you place it? Perhaps in a crowded
home theatre? Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 78 yr young apprentice carpenter

showing 1 through 15 of 17 comments

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