Charles Rohlfs Desk Chair Reproduction

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Project by Woodbridge posted 04-11-2012 08:41 PM 4314 views 8 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the second of three Charles Rohlfs chairs that I am trying to reproduce. I have made a number of chairs following this style of this chair, but decided to try to make a more faithful reproduction of Rohlfs original 1898 desk chair.

The original versions of the chair were made from oak or mahogany. This chair is made from left over ash hardwood flooring, resawed and laminated to make the various parts of the chair. From a few pictures and the overall dimensions of the original, I scaled the photograghs to make the plans.

I enlarged photographs and made a templates to help reproduce the carving in the seat back and front panel. According to the experts, the carvings were inspired by the cellular structure of oak as seen under a microscope. My carving skills are pretty basic and this was the hardest part of the chair.

The X leg structure of the chair, made from 7/8 X 7/8 pieces, although fairly light looking, is surprising stiff.
The chair is 54” high x 15” wide x 17” deep and is finished with antique cherry analine dye from Lee Valley, several coats of MinWax Tung Oil and buffed with beeswax.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario (

14 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


15819 posts in 2619 days

#1 posted 04-11-2012 09:46 PM

Nice work! I really like that chair design. I’ll put a similar one on my ambition list ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2005 posts in 3348 days

#2 posted 04-11-2012 09:50 PM

Three thumbs up. This is the chair I have wanted to recreate, it’s my favorite of all the Rohlfs work.
Well done.
Where did you find a good photo to duplicate the panels from?

Way to go!

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 2499 days

#3 posted 04-12-2012 12:11 AM

Excellent work, nice to look at

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View Woodbridge's profile


3176 posts in 1361 days

#4 posted 04-12-2012 01:18 AM

Thanks folks

Mark, the photos I have used come from a recent book published on Rohlfs, The Artistic Furniture of Charles Rohlfs by Joseph Cunnigham, but these same photos show up when you google images of Rohlfs chairs. I’d be happy to share with you the tracings I have done based these pictures.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario (

View DocSavage45's profile


6249 posts in 1785 days

#5 posted 04-12-2012 02:57 AM

Guess Mark added one of my thumbs. LOL I’ll add one more. Oh Wow!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Puupaja's profile


310 posts in 2043 days

#6 posted 04-12-2012 03:24 AM

Really beautiful…can´t wait those another five in your list


View michelletwo's profile


2405 posts in 1958 days

#7 posted 04-12-2012 11:21 AM

terrific repro..Only time I’ve seen this maker’s chairs was on antique’s Roadshow!

View Lidiya Blaznina's profile

Lidiya Blaznina

877 posts in 1481 days

#8 posted 04-12-2012 11:53 AM

Your work, are always top notch!!!


View Woodbridge's profile


3176 posts in 1361 days

#9 posted 04-12-2012 12:56 PM

Thanks, Charles Rohlfs does not seem to have the same level of recognition as some of his arts and crafts contemporaries. His work is quite unique and it is fun trying to reproduce it. My next attempt will

be his Tall Back Chair. Lidiya any carving tips you can provide will be appreciated.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario (

View stefang's profile


14407 posts in 2277 days

#10 posted 04-12-2012 02:59 PM

Another super well done piece Peter. Rolfs designs are very creative and unique and well worth reproducing. I was glad to become acquainted with Rolf’s history which I found on the web after your last post.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View PaBull's profile


929 posts in 2608 days

#11 posted 04-23-2012 11:16 PM

Very well done, it is a treat to see art work like this.
Thanks for the post.

-- rhykenologist and plant grower

View rmadja's profile


4 posts in 1091 days

#12 posted 07-08-2012 03:32 PM

The carving looks also very good. The mix of straight lines and some organic, cellular details is a nice combination

View stefang's profile


14407 posts in 2277 days

#13 posted 07-08-2012 04:45 PM

Very finely done Peter. I’m sure Rohlfs would give his full approval to this reproduction. Amazing work.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Christophret's profile


149 posts in 944 days

#14 posted 12-05-2012 07:06 PM

Wow, Excellent work, I love it!

-- I cut it twice and it's still too short!

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