Picking out wood for a Morris Chair

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Forum topic by CubsFan posted 11-16-2011 05:49 PM 2957 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 2434 days

11-16-2011 05:49 PM

I’m going to build a Morris Chair (one from wood magazine from a few years back) and I need to go and pick up my lumber.

I’ve never really picked out lumber for a larger furniture project like this, so I’m looking for suggestions as to what I want to look for. I’m looking for white oak, and I assume I want quartersawn. Is that for the entire project that I’d want quartersawn, or just for the most visible parts? Also, is there anything in particular I’m looking for in terms of grain?

Thanks for the help!

11 replies so far

View jusfine's profile


2405 posts in 2346 days

#1 posted 11-16-2011 07:18 PM

I would buy all QS White Oak for that build, the flecks or rays will show up as you machine the lumber, unless you are buying material already milled. In that case I would go for the best / most figure possible.

If you don’t buy all QS, and you mess up one piece, you have another problem…

All the Best!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 2470 days

#2 posted 11-16-2011 07:37 PM

I’m with Randy on buying all quartersawn, compared to saving a few bucks and throwing in some flat sawn white oak. It’ll be more stable and you’ll have continuity of grain patterns throughout the chair. You could also throw in some riftsawn white oak, as it’s about the same stability-wise as the quartersawn white oak. Riftsawn white oak just won’t have the flecking everywhere like quality quartersawn white oak will. That would be a good addition if you don’t want the fleck pattern everywhere.

Just make sure if you start mixing the 2-cuts to have the same cut-type of wood on matching pieces. For instance, maybe you use quartersawn on both arms, but then use riftsawn on all 4-legs, and then quartersawn on the headrest and apron/base of the seat. If you want flecking on pretty much every piece, then go with all quartersawn.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3164 days

#3 posted 11-16-2011 07:48 PM

Go with quartersawn all the way. A Morris chair doesn’t have that much lumber in it anyway, compared to a table or a case works piece. Riftsawn is the same price as quartered most places anyway, and someone already stated the case for the instability of flatsawn.

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2795 days

#4 posted 11-17-2011 12:34 AM

QS. I’d put your best pieces on the arms where they’re most visible. Keep us up to date with pics!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View StumpyNubs's profile


6830 posts in 2220 days

#5 posted 11-17-2011 12:48 AM

2X4s BABY! Check it out: Here

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 2690 days

#6 posted 11-17-2011 12:50 AM

I like QS white oak on my outside furniture. For an inside chair I prefer maple, cherry or walnut. All of these woods can be used….I’ve even seen a morris chair made from all purpleheart (it is up to your wallet as to using an exotic I suppose). I would get the wood all QS if you go that route….to me it is all in the detail….if you start making things based on what is seen and what is not….you spend alot more time and it makes for a harder build in my opinion.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View pintodeluxe's profile


4825 posts in 2233 days

#7 posted 11-17-2011 01:13 AM

Depending on what machinery you have available, you will find a great savings if you purchase rough cut lumber. I used to spend $5-8 per board foot on QSWO. It was hit-and-miss planed on two sides, but not jointed on the edge. Now I buy rough lumber for $.70-1.50 per board foot, and it is just as beautiful as the stock in the stores.
Of course you would need a planer and jointer. However, I would venture to say that you would recoup your investment in 3-4 projects.
I really like QSWO for its dimentional stability. You can make tabletops with it, and they won’t cup like flatsawn lumber can.
Best of luck

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

View Paul Lajoie's profile

Paul Lajoie

131 posts in 2524 days

#8 posted 11-17-2011 01:27 AM

I built that same chair 2 years ago, all QSWO. I’ve seen the same chair made using other woods, but I believe it looks MUCH better in QSWO! Just my 2 cents.


View ShaneA's profile


6417 posts in 2018 days

#9 posted 11-17-2011 01:28 AM

A mix of qs and rift sawn. If two faces are visible, the riftsawnwill give a better effect. Where only one face is visible like the arms and back, qs would be best.

View CubsFan's profile


26 posts in 2434 days

#10 posted 11-17-2011 04:53 PM

Thanks for all the help! I’ll make a trip to the store tomorrow and see what I can find.

Paul, was there anything you ran into when you made it that would be helpful to know from the start?

View Paul Lajoie's profile

Paul Lajoie

131 posts in 2524 days

#11 posted 11-19-2011 02:01 AM

Cubsfan, as far as I can remember everything went pretty smoothly. Even the arms only straightened out less than 1/16” when I removed them from the bending form. I had left them clamped up 24-36 Hrs. One thing I wish I had done was take some pictures as I progressed. It’s a great project and I’m very happy with it, and everyone who sees it loves it and wants to try it out!. Good luck with your’s and keep us informed with some pictures.


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