Ladderback Studies

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Project by mattalexander posted 1450 days ago 1626 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a series of chairs that my wife and I designed and build. They are based off of traditional ladderback chairs. They are constructed of mdf (bad idea), oak and rubber strapping that I ordered from McMaster Carr. The mdf was cnc milled but the rungs and finials are turned and I shaped the slats with a router. The woven rubber makes for a comfortable seat but unfortunately the poor choice of materials (mdf) does not allow you to sit for long. I am looking forward to constructing an all ash or oak version as soon I set up my shop.

-- Matt, TN,

11 comments so far

View mattalexander's profile


23 posts in 1450 days

#1 posted 1450 days ago

I forgot to mention that the oak was stained using an ebonizing solution (vinegar and steel wool).

-- Matt, TN,

View dakremer's profile


2420 posts in 1675 days

#2 posted 1450 days ago

thats a bummer about the poor choice of materials. The design is amazing!! I really like it a lot. You two did a great job. Can’t wait to see the next version!! thanks for posting and welcome to LJs!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View tyskkvinna's profile


1307 posts in 1570 days

#3 posted 1450 days ago

Sounds like you hit on a solid design, though! I like it a lot. Vinegar + Steel wool is also one of my favourite finishing methods. :)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View mmh's profile


3306 posts in 2306 days

#4 posted 1450 days ago

Interesting designs. I like the rubber weave. Is it comfortable for long term sitting?

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View MsDebbieP's profile


18614 posts in 2744 days

#5 posted 1449 days ago

what happens with the MDF ?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13337 posts in 2257 days

#6 posted 1449 days ago

Those are some cool chairs.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Triumph1's profile


833 posts in 1663 days

#7 posted 1449 days ago

Very cool chairs. I think your studies went very well…can’t wait to see the final chairs. Thanks for sharing!

-- Jeff , Illinois Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 2111 days

#8 posted 1449 days ago

These are very cool!! Great eye catching designs, well made, functional. Fantastic!!!

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 1524 days

#9 posted 1449 days ago

Me like! Good work and welcome to LJ’s. I also use that ebonizing concoction. It is quite amazing, with different results on different woods. Depends on the tannin content from what I gather.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2161 days

#10 posted 1449 days ago

These are interesting and have a unique design so very well done.

-- Custom furniture

View mattalexander's profile


23 posts in 1450 days

#11 posted 1441 days ago

@mmh, I don’t know. They have never held up long enough for me to find out.
@MsDebbieP, The thin mdf de-laminates and splits when pressure is exerted on them.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback and comments. I appreciate them all! More pics coming soon of the shop renovation….

-- Matt, TN,

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