Arts and Crafts Morris Chair Done!


Been a while since I posted, but was waiting until I got the back cushions from the upholsterer.  I’m very happy with their work.  The woodworking part was finished sometime in February.  I made the bottom cushions which was fairly straight forward, but opted to have the back cushions made which was definitely a good idea.  

I thought I’d go through some of the details of things I did and things I think can be tweaked a bit.  


I made the seat frames out of poplar with mortise and tenons on a Leigh jig.  I put small dadoes in them to accept the clips for the rubber webbing.  


Next time…I’d make the frames about 1/2″ narrower on the length and width.  I first made them with just 1/4″ spacing which was not quite enough for the room the leather and batting took up.  The frames can be secured to the chair from underneath if you end up with a little play.

I added a layer of burlap over the rubber webbing.


Then, used 4″ high density foam.


And covered that with 2 layers of batting which was just like wrapping an X-mas present.


Then, covered with a piece of leather to wrap over and stapled to the bottom of the frame.


The upholsterer did a nice job on the back cushions with a bead around the edge, and a zippered bottom.


Now onto the woodworking.

I’m pretty happy with the results, but of course you’re always your best critic…I always notice my mistakes when I walk into a room, and try my best to not make them again…not always successful.  That’s one reason I like this blog, I can look back and see what I did previously.  One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work”.

Here’s another pic of the chair.Image


The through mortises on the arms.  Back one sloped to match arm slope.


The back pegs to adjust the chair’s back.  I think I’d add one more peg, so it could lean back just a little further.  I find I keep it set at the furthest back position, but I think when I make a stool to match, it would be just a little more comfortable to recline more.



The corbels which support the arms.  I glued, screwed and then plugged the holes.  This worked well.  With the arm slope, I had cut the wedges to attach to the underside first, then glued them on.  Next time, I’d glue a full block on the underside, then cut the wedge off the piece.  If you can see in the pic, there is a small gap at the back of that wedge on the underside of the arm.  Probably could eliminate that.Image

The through mortises of the side stretchers and the front stretchers that I pegged to hold in place.  Image

This project was fun.  The slope on the arms was the most challenging portion.  I didn’t curve the back slats like some others had done, but chair is still comfortable.  The back foam is a little stiff, but I think with time will conform and give a little more.  

Any comments or questions are welcomed.  

The first photo shows the chair with an end table I made about 2 yrs ago, and the clock I did about 5 yrs ago (which is NYW design).  Image

Special thanks to the where I purchase the leather, and to who made the back cushions.


Not productive, but fun woodworking day

ImageAny trip to the lumberyard is a good time.  It feels like a place of possibilities.  All that wood just waiting to be planed and shaped into a piece of furniture, except for those unlucky scraps that get tossed in the burn pile.  

Anyway, I picked up about 200 BF of QS white oak for the kitchen remodel.  Took just under 3 hrs travel and pick up time.  I’m trying to keep track of cost for this project.  So with tax, the wood came to $3.31 a BF.  I’ll probably need only 75 BF or so for the face frames, and doors.  

Also got a new bandsaw blade in the mail yesterday to help with the resawing for the panels.  It’s a 1 1/2 in carbide tipped beauty.  It should last several years.  


Was a bit of a challenge to install the blade though.  It’s the largest my bandsaw will take.  Jet’s design for this one was a little lacking.  But, I took off the lower guide and was able to get it on.  


Hope it works well.  I have never had good luck when resawing, but I’m optimistic with the new blade.  We’ll see.  


Kitchen Remodel 2

Well, I’ve been working on the boxes for the kitchen cabinets.  

Few dadoes here, a rabbet there, a little wood glue, brads and voila. I only have to do 2 more base cabinets.   So, making some progress.   I plan on using plastic adjustable legs for the bottoms of most of the cabinets, except for the pantry cupboard.  Used them last time and they seemed to work well. 

I used dado set on table saw and on radial arm to make most of dadoes, and router with straight edge for a couple.  


Also, I’m going to pick up about some QS white oak to face them and make the doors.  The weatherman predicted snow here today, and I put that trip off until Friday.  

Kitchen Remodel

I started remodeling our kitchen.  

We moved into our house about 5 years ago.  It has taken that long for the sting of fixing up and then selling our last place to subside.  Like alot of you, we are fans of the Art’s and Craft’s style and I had made cabinets there….then we sold the place.  Here are a few pics.
Old house kitchen
Pal kitchen 1

I’ve focused most of my efforts to make furniture that is “portable” after that experience.  

Time passes and then we’re at it again.  Our present kitchen has cherry cabinets which are nice enough, just not our style.  I’ll probably recycle and use the cabinets in the basement or the shop.


So, I bought 8 sheets of good plywood ($57 a sheet on sale) and also invested in a computer program–cutlistplus.  After using this program for the first use, it seems to be well worth the $90.  You can input all the part dimensions and it’ll give the best plywood layout.


The other nice thing about this program is that you can print out labels, which really helped keep track of everything.  Made one mistake though and miscut one piece, but wasn’t too bad.  I ended up using 6 1/2 sheets.  


Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the cutting program.  It’ll also let me input my inventory which is stored (not ideally) in 3 barns.  Planning on putting the info into the inventory over the next couple months.  The cut-offs were down to a minimum.  




I put together one of the cabinet carcasses. I’ll post some pics of them tomorrow.

Arts and Crafts Morris Chairs–Done!…minus cushions.

Well, finished my Morris Chairs today.   It’s been cold and have spent less time in the shop for past couple weeks.  Also, I figured how to add more that one pic to my blog posts and thought I’d just make one long post near the end of the project, rather than multiple short ones.  

ImageHere are two of the three chairs.  

I’ll give a rundown of the the last few steps since I left off.  


Did a last bit of sanding.  (Did I mention I hate sanding?)  I stained the parts before attaching the backs since it would be easier to reach certain areas.  I used a dark walnut stain.  I had made some A&C end tables a couple years ago and wanted them to match.  In retrospect, I caught the video on Norm’s website yesterday of an A&C hall chair.  He had stained with a cherry stain, then a walnut stain.  If I had not needed to match something, I would recommend this since the dark walnut alone is a little darker.


I had cut a dado in the front and back stretchers before the glue up.  I made the seat supports to attach to these, and made them with a 7.5 degree angle so the seat has the same slope as the arms.  


The bottom cushion supports that run between the front and back seat supports were half lap joints.  A good portion of this was not in the “plans” I used, but just a little ad lib.  The frame for the bottom cushion which will provide some support as well.  


1/2 inch pegs through pivot points in back.


I glued up two pieces of scrap to make the wooden washers that hold the seat back away from the sides of the chair arms/base.  Made it into an octogon at the table saw and cleaned it up by running through the planer.  Then, used a 1/2 in forstner bit to make a center hole in the blank, and sliced off 1/4 in wooden washers.


The stain had long since dried.  I was debating what to use as a topcoat.  Thought about polyurethane, waterlox, or shellac, but settled on just paste wax.  Not the best protection, but it gave a muted finish which my wife liked.  


Made the adjustment bar for the seat back.  This I chamfered at the router table, made the holes which will accept the adjustment pegs at the mortiser.  After that, I used the jointer to make their bottom angle 7.5 degrees.  Probably not needed for functional reasons, but I thought it would look better, and earlier I had made the adjustment pegs in the arms at the same angle.  


I put a little glue in the pivot peg hole, and tapped them home.  Just like Happy Gilmore.  

I ordered the foam/webbing etc to make the bottom cushions.   Plan on using Woodsmith’s instructions.

I’m having a local upholsterer make up the back cushions, they are several weeks out.  I’ll post a final pic of the chairs with the cushions when all is said and done.

It was a fun project.  Two of the chairs will be for the living room, the other will be my man cave chair.  Comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.  

Now for something different.  My wife wants honey bees.  I think hive boxes are next.  We’ll see…..

Just too COLD!

It’s been down right frigid around here.  My barn/workshop is not insulated and I can raise the temp about 15-20 degrees with the heaters on for about an hour or two.  This isn’t bad when you start at 25 or 30, but started at 8 degrees, it doesn’t seem worth the effort.  Hope everyone else either is in a warmer place or has some better insulation.

New Shop Day 2

Well, I’m a little nervous and I don’t get anxious about much.  The excavators came yesterday morning to work on the driveway which will lead back to my new shop.  

It will be 30×50 for the main floor area with a wood floor.  I’m planning on using attic trusses for the roof to give a about 14×50 room above for my wife.  I’m hoping she writes her book.  I keep telling her I want to become a “kept” man and just work in my shop.  With the slope of the land, there will be a storage area underneath, like a bank barn.  I figure I can store the lawnmower and maybe lumber.  

I’m going to try to attach a google sketchup pic as well.  We’ll see how that goes.  ImageImage