Low Back Settee

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Project by Charles Brock posted 676 days ago 1845 views 8 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have always wanted to take the Maloof style Low Back Chair and try my hand at doubling it to make a settee. Here is my first in curly walnut. One of the interesting aspects of the project is the obvious question of support for the long seat. A middle leg just ruins this piece and Sam Maloof was able to build his without it. I like a challenge! Using Festool Dominos, I am able add support (And Align) all nine boards that make up the seat. I don’t think biscuits would work to give it enough strength. The real support comes from the massive piece of burled black walnut I cut from a slab (2 3/4” thick) to make the low backrest. I use a the larger Festool Circular Saw and a guide rail to plunge into the slab and cut out the piece I want with the desired grain orientation and figure. It is really a stretcher and helps the seat resist collapse. It was absolutely fun and challenging to sculpt. I start shaping with 24 grit sandpaper and go all the way through 1000 grit (white Scotchbrite pad) with my sanding schedule. The shaping continues with the grinder, a Foredom Industrial flex shaft grinder, Auriou rasps and a multitude of scrapers. This is takes a lot of time to get it to flow. The finish is Masterpiece Wood Finish a three Part Oil and Wax Finish that I developed with a coatings expert for my projects.

I will be at WIA 2012 MidWest (NorthernKentucky Convention Center / November 2 & 3) if you would like to see this piece.

-- Charles Brock

18 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


15623 posts in 1498 days

#1 posted 676 days ago

I think that this is a wonderful piece. You’ve done it so nicely and the wood is beautiful.

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 Charles Brock's profile

Charles Brock

50 posts in 1640 days

#2 posted 676 days ago

I like your Woodworking Expo Blog “Hand Tools for Woodworkers”. I’m asked all the time what my tool list is , The answer should be “All of them”!

Thanks so much for your comments!

-- Charles Brock

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


1771 posts in 820 days

#3 posted 676 days ago

Charles – That is an absolutely incredible piece. I don’t even have the skill to make one single piece. Your mastery is well reflected in the setee.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View a1Jim's profile


112015 posts in 2209 days

#4 posted 676 days ago

A very beautiful work of art ,great work.

-- Custom furniture

View Charles Brock's profile

Charles Brock

50 posts in 1640 days

#5 posted 676 days ago

James and Charles
Thanks so much for your thoughts. All of us are blessed by doing this work.

-- Charles Brock

View Nicki's profile


5 posts in 676 days

#6 posted 676 days ago

This is a beautiful piece

View Woodbridge's profile


2663 posts in 1050 days

#7 posted 676 days ago

Charles, you’ve created a beautiful chair. The grain and figure on the back is so nice.

p.s. I really enjoy your Highland Woodworker videos.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View cathyb's profile


757 posts in 1876 days

#8 posted 676 days ago

Gorgeous. It has beautiful flowing lines and is truly a work of art.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Retsof's profile


134 posts in 867 days

#9 posted 676 days ago


-- "There seems to be a black hole in my garage that swallows up pencils and tape measures as soon as I put them down."

View MonteCristo's profile


2095 posts in 820 days

#10 posted 676 days ago

Another awesome piece ! Exquisite harmony between the various joined pieces. It seems to me that biscuits/dominos aren’t really an issue viz-a-viz strength – since your joints are long grain-long grain, they should already be stronger than the actual wood . . . (but no doubt a help in alignment).

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Gerry's profile


253 posts in 1873 days

#11 posted 676 days ago

Gorgeous! The design, wood matching and grain patterns all compliment each other. Gives me inspiration. Perhaps this will motivate me to try chair building some day…....

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7683 posts in 2684 days

#12 posted 676 days ago

Beautiful job, Charles!

Thank you for the writeup…

I’m going to take the simple way out…
... I’m going to try to make TWO of the low-back dining chairs…
... (well, I’m avoiding the ‘strength’ issue… LOL )
... Thanks again for your phone help & ragchew… was fun & educational.

Nice to see you posting…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Ralph's profile


158 posts in 765 days

#13 posted 676 days ago

This is a wonderful work of art. Great craftsmanship. Love the lines.
The chair seems to invite you to sit in it.

-- The greatest risk is not taking one...

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 1869 days

#14 posted 676 days ago


You’ve created another masterpiece that should be in an art gallery! Charles not only makes beautiful chairs, he teaches everyone else to do the same with his book, DVD and template kits. I have both the rocking chair and the single low back dining chair book, DVD & template package. Both packages are complete and have easy to follow instructions to lead the student through the construction process. When I got the DVDs this Summer I didn’t have any 2 1/2” thick slabs to make the chairs from, so I’m waiting for wood to dry to make my chairs.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View gfadvm's profile


10736 posts in 1322 days

#15 posted 676 days ago

An absolutely beautiful settee! I love everything about it from the wood choice to the finish. These always looked very fragile to me when done in the double width like this one but you appear to have addressed that issue.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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