Arts and Crafts Cherry Dining Set

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Project by BigRedKnothead posted 04-08-2013 02:25 PM 4520 views 6 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s the cherry dining set I made to go with our hutch. This was my first complete dining set and it was very rewarding to build. There’s just something about sitting down to a meal with your family on a table made with your own hands.

The design of the chairs was loosely based on one I found in fine woodworking. You can see all the parts before assembly in the last pic. Most of the parts were made by pattern routing. I learned loose tenons are a pretty slick way to achieve those angled shoulders on the tenons. I made the seat frames, jute webbed and upholstered them myself. These chairs are still rock solid a few years later.

I kinda came up with the table in an attempt to match the chairs. The table top was a tough decision, and I ended up going with a high end veneer plywood. Solid cherry would have been pricey, and I didn’t have a planer or jointer at the time, hand or power. The base is just aprons, mortise and tenon into thick legs and then pegged. I didn’t put a leaf in it because we never took the leaf out of our old table. And the length is such that it could seat 8 or more.

A dining set is really one way a woodworker can save a lot of cash. Most of the cost is labor. Think I made this set for about $600. Can’t even buy a couple solid cherry chairs for that. Hope this kicks some of you in the rear.

Questions and comments welcome. Take care, Red

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

17 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117204 posts in 3699 days

#1 posted 04-08-2013 02:31 PM

Very nice work Red ,Beautiful table and chairs.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Mosquito's profile


9451 posts in 2414 days

#2 posted 04-08-2013 02:35 PM

I like the style, Red. Excellent work.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Woodbridge's profile


3566 posts in 2540 days

#3 posted 04-08-2013 02:42 PM

great looking dining set. I know how much work it is to build the table and all the chairs and you have done a really nice job. Your last slide with all the parts tells the story. Well done.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3073 days

#4 posted 04-08-2013 02:49 PM

This is great, Red! I bet your family loves this.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View ShaneA's profile


7022 posts in 2720 days

#5 posted 04-08-2013 02:55 PM

Looks good, I like the corner detail on the table.

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3273 days

#6 posted 04-08-2013 03:07 PM

Very nice! Wow, that project scares the crap out of me for some reason. Just seems so daunting.

What do you mean when you say most of the parts were pattern routed? Is that how you did the mortises?

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View pintodeluxe's profile


5741 posts in 2935 days

#7 posted 04-08-2013 03:25 PM

Great dining set! I second the recommendation to give dining chairs and tables a try. The chairs entail a lot of sanding, but are well worth it in the end.

Well done.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8539 posts in 2104 days

#8 posted 04-08-2013 03:29 PM

Thanks guys.

Mauricio, it really wasn’t that bad. The slanted back legs and curved back rests were roughly cut on a band saw, then I made a pattern with mdf and routed them up. I used my mortising machine for the mortises (bought for this project). I pity anyone who would want to do this by hand. I think there’s over 20 mortises in each chair.
Trickiest part is the angled shoulders where the chair rails meet the legs. This is where loose tenons are the bee knees. Like this.
When you do it this way, you can miter the shoulders before you glue in the loose tenon. Most people use a plunge router jig on the end grain. That’s probably the easiest, but I didn’t have a plunge router, so I mounted my mortising machine over the vise on my bench. It worked, but they needed some tuning by hand.
Of course this was in my power tool only days. I would do some of it different now.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Don W's profile

Don W

18947 posts in 2689 days

#9 posted 04-08-2013 03:55 PM

great set. i like the table corners. nice touch.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View LukieB's profile


966 posts in 2452 days

#10 posted 04-08-2013 04:04 PM

Wow Red, both the table and chairs look awesome. Looks like a future family heirloom for sure. I read a quote in PWW a few years ago that kinda stuck with me, wish I could remember the exact line and credit the guy who said it, but it was something along the lines of…
“100 years from now, I don’t want my great-great grandchildren to look at an old photo and wonder what kind of man I was. I want them to be sitting around a table I built, and know what kind of man I was.”

-- Lucas, "Someday woodworks will be my real job, until then, there's this"

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3608 days

#11 posted 04-08-2013 11:33 PM

I love cherry best of all. Looks fantastic. I really like the chairs. Chairs intimidate me somewhat. Painted pine scraps glued together to make a tabletop and the rest MDF is about what you get for $600 these days, and made to dispose. I curb shop those $600 piles of junk most every week to make jigs and such. Can’t say I’ve ever seen a cherry dining room set on the curb. Best I don’t. Folks get shot at round here for what I would tell the owner.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Mean_Dean's profile


6861 posts in 3269 days

#12 posted 04-09-2013 01:33 AM

Beautiful dining set! I’m sure your family really loves having dinner around that table, and on those chairs!

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

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 4056 days

#13 posted 04-09-2013 06:09 AM

I’d love to make a table and chairs set like that. You do great work!

-- Robb

View AnthonyReed's profile


9968 posts in 2562 days

#14 posted 04-09-2013 04:38 PM

“There‚Äôs just something about sitting down to a meal with your family on a table made with your own hands.” – Little left for want.

Beautiful dining set. Wonderful work BRK!

-- ~Tony

View lysdexic's profile


5256 posts in 2745 days

#15 posted 04-11-2013 03:22 PM

Impressive sir. When I grow up can I be like you?

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

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