Seeking opinions on up-sizing a chair design

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Forum topic by jjagerson posted 05-06-2011 05:13 PM 848 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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46 posts in 3153 days

05-06-2011 05:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: morris chair furniture plans modifications

I have been planning to build a Morris chair for some time and the plans from a recent edition of Popular Woodworking look pretty great. However, one of the reasons I started making my own furniture is because I am a much larger (6 foot 7 inches tall) than the average person. Up-sizing desks and tables (what I have mostly been doing) is pretty straightforward because I can mostly just make them a little taller in the legs, but up-sizing a chair seems a little more complex.

My first thought is to just increase all the parts of the chair proportionally. So if I need a seat height and back that is 25% larger than shown in the plans I could just increase the size of all the parts in proportion. However, is that really the best route? I am very tall but not that wide so I really don’t need big width. But I don’t want to mess with the proportions that already look great by making some kind of franken-chair that is larger but looks stretched out in places.

If anyone has an opinion or suggestion – I would love to hear it. Thanks in advance!

5 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2868 days

#1 posted 05-06-2011 05:25 PM

I think you’re right that if you stretch the height and constrain the width, it might ruin the aesthetics of a proven design. I’m only 5’9” but I really admire oversized furniture. I’m wondering if you might even want to oversize the thickness of the components as well. I’m curious to see how others chime in below. Good luck, skyscraper:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View CharlieM1958's profile


16278 posts in 4394 days

#2 posted 05-06-2011 05:28 PM

You are very tall, but you are not 25% taller than the average person.

I agree with the concept of increasing all parts sizes proportionately, but I think something in the 10-15% range would give you the extra room you need , without making the chair look oddly oversized.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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46 posts in 3153 days

#3 posted 05-07-2011 01:16 AM

LOL yeah not 25% bigger. You make a good point… perhaps I overestimated the size thing. I was thinking that I would want to extend the seat back even further just so I could lean my head back on it, which would be about 25% taller than the plans specify. However, if everything else was sized up 10-15% that wouldn’t look bad at all.

Thanks for the input – if anyone has done that before I would love to hear your comments. I have never built from plans before. I have always just kind of build “free-form” so I am a little concerned about overlooking something on a project that is as complicated as this one.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3823 days

#4 posted 05-07-2011 01:50 AM

Most height differences are in the legs. In the spine, the variance
is considerably less. Thus you might want to make the back a little
higher but the seat significantly higher and deeper.

You have to do what you have to do to make the chair fit you.

Most of the books on chair making cover resizing chair designs.

View jjagerson's profile


46 posts in 3153 days

#5 posted 05-13-2011 02:36 AM

Thanks for the great suggestions! I found a very interesting book written by a couple of chair designers (they have an adjustable model that they use to size a chair to the person).

cr1 – thanks for your comment. that was a good idea and I actually did that. I took an existing chair from my office, that I like and started propping up the legs and such. It was a nice way to think through the sizing question.

My lumber arrives next week and I am anxious to get started. Maybe I should fix those shelves in the laundry-room in the mean time?

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