veneers vs steam bending for bowed arm morris chair

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Forum topic by buck_cpa posted 06-10-2014 07:02 PM 1808 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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150 posts in 2123 days

06-10-2014 07:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: morris chair bowed arm morris chair bowed arm steam bending veneers

I want to make a morris chair with bowed arms. However, I am at a crossroads:

1. Veneer strips – these appear to be pretty expensive from woodcraft. would you cut yourself on the bandsaw? Is there another store that has them cheaper? My resawing skills aren’t that great – I tend to get some waves on my veneers. Perhaps I need to work on perfecting this technique.

2. Steam bending – this appears to require some additional equipment necessary to steam. Also, failures/breakage is always a problem.

I couldn’t find a blog on here where someone documented how they made a similar chair. If anyone knows of a book/blog that discusses the process of creating these bows, please let me know. Also, if there is another technique I haven’t mentioned, please share.

Always appreciative of your feedback. Best, Buck

5 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5816 posts in 3049 days

#1 posted 06-10-2014 08:26 PM

I would steam solid wood to form the arms. FWW magazine had a good article on the topic recently.
If you decide to laminate, you will have joint lines on the side of your arms. To some that is a big deal, and others don’t notice it.
To make veneer strips just bandsaw them and plane the strips to uniform dimensions before glueup.

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

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3883 days

#2 posted 06-10-2014 08:28 PM

Failures and breakage are not likely to me a problem for a
mild arm curve. You can probably bend it with no rejects
and no backing strap. You would need a steam box
and steam source though.

To be fair, you would have to fuss around with making
cauls to laminate the arms, in addition to making a mess
with glue and going to the trouble and expense of
cutting or purchasing thin wood to laminate.

Read Shipwright’s comments in this thread:

View JAAune's profile


1854 posts in 2552 days

#3 posted 06-10-2014 08:34 PM

I prefer steam bending wherever possible. However, if you do decide to use veneer, don’t source it from Woodcraft. You’d be better off buying from a place like Certainly Wood since places like Woodcraft buy from them and mark up the prices.

Certainly Wood is buying sliced logs from larger companies like Danzer corporation and selling individual slices to furniture makers. Woodcraft buys slices from another company then cuts them into smaller sheets and sells them to hobbyists.

-- See my work at and

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2926 days

#4 posted 06-10-2014 08:34 PM

I’ve talked to many people over the years that steam bend Morris chair arms. It’s a gentle bend so steaming works well using air dried lumber.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View buck_cpa's profile


150 posts in 2123 days

#5 posted 06-11-2014 08:44 PM

thanks everyone for the suggestions. I didn’t realize woodcraft had a steamer for only $70. I might have to go that route. thanks again.

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