What skill level/tools are required for this project?

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Forum topic by nadnodbe posted 07-08-2010 11:21 AM 1821 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View nadnodbe's profile


6 posts in 2348 days

07-08-2010 11:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: advice help woodgears matthias wendel chair kitchen mortise

I would like to make some new kitchen chairs for my new house, and I like the style and presumed strength of the ones at Woodgears but am worried that I might like the tools or skill level required to complete the project. I’ve previously made some Adirondack chairs from plans, and a picnic bench, also from plans. Both projects went well, but they were for outdoor furniture. I have a jigsaw, a circular saw, drills etc – and am considering buying a router (I guess I would at the very least need a router to create the mortises used in the design).

Can anyone comment on what tools and skills would be necessary here for a successful project? I am without a table saw, for example…!

5 replies so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 2483 days

#1 posted 07-08-2010 11:56 AM

Those chairs look pretty simple. Without knowing more about exactly how they are constructed it is hard to say exactly what you would need, but you could certainly build some chairs that look like those using dowel joinery, although mortise and tenon would be preferred (stonger). You would obviously need something to cut the curved pieces that make the back supports and the back legs. This could be done well enough with a jig/sable saw. A band saw would be better, but not necessary. If you were to use dowel joinery, you might need a doweling jig and of course you would need a drill and bits. If you were to try mortise and tenons, things would be more complicated, but could still be done easily enough with a drill, chisels, a back saw.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2584 days

#2 posted 07-08-2010 12:47 PM


The design looks pretty straight forward. I’d suggest roughing the back legs with your jigsaw, then routing them to finish with a router & template (google ‘template routing’). Most of the rest I would suggest a table sar (or temporary access to one). Lastly, the two back slats… he pretty much shows you the tools. For a curved back (for me), a band saw would be my weapon of choice. Then some hand tools to clean them up(card scraper, spoke shave, etc.) as he shows. Note the alternate shape for the slats in his plans at the bottom of the first page. Make it “your own”.

Realize this could ALL be done with hand tools alone, but that looks like too much sweat & effort to me. :)

Doc, I’m not sure what you mean about not knowing more about how it is constructed. He even includes the plans. Maybe you could elaborate.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2539 days

#3 posted 07-08-2010 12:49 PM

ad a framesaw and a straight spokeshave and a roundspokeshave, to what DOC. said
then you can do all of it unplugged you can use your jiigaw instead of the framesaw


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2498 days

#4 posted 07-08-2010 02:20 PM

I think your biggest challenge will be the mortise and tenons. A router can help cut the mortises but you really need some kind of jig to guide you (you could make your own – but that’s another challenge). Without a table saw, you would probably have to cut the tenons by hand (if you have an appropriate hand saw).

One person already mentioned that dowel joinery would be easier and he is right. It would not be quite as strong but I it would be strong enough IMO. You really need a dowel guide to do this accurately.

Another option would be pocket hole joinery. That would be even easier. If you are working with oak or some other hard wood, the pocket hole joints will be quite strong – strong enough. You can do pocket holes with some relatively cheap jigs but you will be much happier and the job will be easier with a Kreg pocket hole system. Many of the pocket holes will be out of sight and those that are visible can be filled with plugs.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 2322 days

#5 posted 07-08-2010 06:18 PM

you could somewhat easily cut the mortises with a router table and stop block. For tenons you will need a table saw hands down, however I have heard of tenons being cut with a jigsaw.

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