|Project by jjagerson||posted 12-27-2011 04:58 PM||1871 views||6 times favorited||12 comments|
I decided to build a Morris chair for myself because I am an XL guy (6’6”) and most easy-chairs are just too small. I got some good advice on this site about building a model to fit my frame and preferences and then started building the actual chair from there. The pictures I am sharing here are sans upholstery because I am still making that but I was pleased with the outcome and thought it might be interesting. I am a novice so I thought a few of the lessons I learned would be interesting to anyone else thinking about building something like this. I didn’t use plans but I modeled it after a book I got at the library about Stickley furniture and the arms are based on a design I saw in Popular Woodworking.
1. Red oak is NOT white oak. I did not realize this until I attempted to stain a few pieces. If you want the real craftsman look – make sure you buy white oak. Red oak turns green when exposed to a lot of dyes and ammonia. I wound up just finishing it blond with some wiping varnish and am very pleased with its appearance, but the real ammonia treatment would have been nice to complete.
2. I did not have a band saw so I coopered the back’s upper and lower rails to make the back curved. Based on the width and my desired curve I cut each piece with a 2.5degree angle on the edges and then glued them in pairs before gluing all six pieces together. This turned out very well and I was pleased with the solution. I took the rails and jumped on them before making the rest of the back and they were as solid as it gets. I think this will hold for the long term without any issues. I have a closeup of what I did in the pictures (#2). I smoothed the curve out some with a plane and it came out great.
3. Cut mortises FIRST!!! This sucker had so many joints I finally figured that tip out towards the end – duh.
4. I reinforced the back where it attaches to the recliner’s hinges with some supplemental wood. I like the look and it really seemed to stabilize the back nicely. I struggled a bit with where to put the dowels that the hinge pivots on and should have planned ahead a little better for that. Picture #3
5. Cutting the through mortises were a challenge on the arms. I am pleased with their final appearance but there was one side on all four of them (different on each) with a small gap. I have never used filler before but I have to say – it did a great job. You cannot see the gap at all. As it is the friction fit is very tight, plus glue makes the arms nearly indestructible.
I will add a couple pictures in a week once the upholstery is done to show how the the finish came out. I am copying the upholstery from an interesting article about a prairie settle from Fine Woodworking magazine.