View Full Version : The Great Morris Chair project

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Walt Caza
06-06-2008, 10:00 AM
Good Day to the Creek,
Please allow me to lay out the who, what, where, why, when and how...

This is an invitation to all Creekers:
Gary Zimmel and Walt Caza cordially invite you to join us in a remote build of a classic furniture project.
We are each going to build the same Morris chair together, just 1975 miles apart. Even farther if you decide to play along!

We have selected an attractive project that includes bow arms, through tenons, corbels and a 3 position reclining back.

The chairs will be built in our own workshops as we find time, and pics of progress and problems will be brought right here to this posting.
The plans are readily available 3 different ways, from WOOD magazine.
Details in the following post to this thread if you are interested.

We are hoping for a fun, shared learning experience building this hallmark of the Arts & Crafts movement together.
This is not a contest, nor a race. It is more about the journey, but the destination holds much promise too!
It's a great chair.

No time seemed ideal to start...
many are not in their shops in winter, most are too busy in summer.
We decided we will start within July. Plenty of time to get your plans,
gather materials, sharpen your tools and sweep our shop floors.
We are just weekend warriors with jobs, yard work, families, other projects, etc...
so progress may be slow and steady.

All it takes to join the Morris Chair project is modest skills, a desire to build a handsome and classic chair and the warm spirit of Sawmill Creek.
The only thing that can make it 'Great', is your participation !!

Further details in the following post...
Hope you'll join us,
Walt and Gary

Walt Caza
06-06-2008, 10:20 AM
After careful consideration and comparison of 11 different designs,
we have decided to go with plans from WOOD magazine.

The same plans are readily available 3 ways:
The book,
WOOD magazine Arts & Crafts furniture
190 pages, contains history, joinery, finishing and 18 project plans
ISBN-13: 978-1-4027-1174-9
ISBN-10: 1-4027-1174-3
Sterling Publishing
The Morris Chair in play is on page 38
link to this book on Amazon

Two more options:
Their website store offers paper plans and a PDF file download for sale. (link)
[URL]http://woodstore.net/arcolmorchai.html (http://www.amazon.com/Wood-Magazine-Arts-Crafts-Furniture/dp/1402711743/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212761594&sr=1-1)

You can see pics of the chair and the matching ottoman at that link.
I would have liked to include a pic in this post, but am not sure if that is allowed? (copyright?)

Some details about the selected chair project are:

Wood magazine chair details: (18 points)
lower side and front rails thru tenon
under arm 6 narrow slats and one wide in center with cut-out
bow arms laminated over form with clamps not steam
side slats into groove with fillers not m&t
same with backrest with vertical mounted slats not m&t
and also seat frame has 7 wooden slats to support seat cushion not m&t

2 and 1/4" legs are 3pcs of 3/4" stock glued up for 3 layers with 2 seams and 2 sides of plain sawn grain
corbels under arms
back slats are straight and mounted in straight line
3 position back tilts by moving pegs
front legs do not poke up thru arms (could fake tenon caps)
upholstery instructions included for cushions, but pro recommended

matching ottoman and coffee table plans readily available
straight forward and strong chair construction
shortcuts to build quicker and easier
plans readily available 3 ways
great looking Morris chair overall
should be comfortable, with cushions, tilt back and bow arms

Stay tuned for a future posting about how this chair got it's name...

Mike SoRelle
06-06-2008, 10:22 AM
I will definitely be participating in this. Though I expect to be on the slow boat with Glenn and Gary.

J. Z. Guest
06-06-2008, 10:50 AM
What an awesome idea. Unfortunately, my queue is pretty backed up from prior commitments at the moment. However, if there is no time limit, I may eventually participate.

I was thinking of maybe building a couple of the outdoor Morris Chairs from the old Popular Woodworking plan. Unlike yours, this one has straight arms, cheap, home-center lumber, and is not really attractive. But it should still be comfortable. ;)

Von Bickley
06-06-2008, 12:08 PM
GREAT idea and I will enjoy watching the progress.....:D

Joe Skinner
06-06-2008, 1:52 PM
This is the plans that I want to use to build a reading chair, since the couch is not too comfy for reading. But I am in the middle of another project and don't like to have more than 1 big project at a time. So I decided to rush and cut some minor corners in order to get this project finished and move on to the Morris Chair. Well, i rushed too much and cut too many corners and had to start my other project over.

I have yet again learned some lessons

1. you cant same money buying cheap tools
2. you cant save time by cutting corners
3. Borg wood sucks
4. the chair will get done when it gets done

Good luck on the chair and I will be following the progress.

Deck Reagan
06-06-2008, 4:38 PM
This is a great idea. I have always wanted to build one of these chairs.

Count me in!

I need to order the book tonight.

Thanks for hosting the group build.


Glenn Clabo
06-06-2008, 4:55 PM
GREAT idea!!! I'm in...just ordered the book. But I may be competing for the last finished.

gary Zimmel
06-06-2008, 10:36 PM
Looks like we are going to have more than a couple of the Creekers involved with the chair project. It may take a little while to get us all finished, but watching everyones progress is going to be fun.

I've got my plans and am starting to go over them to see if mine would have any minor changes to them. Have one or two in mind and as we get closer to the start of the build I will let the group know about my changes. If anyone has any extra ideas please let us all know, thats one of the things that will be neat about this project.

I too may take a little while to get comleted as I always have a busy summer on our acreage. But as Walt said this is a journey....

Glen, I may be in compititon with you for the slow award.

As most will QSWO I am considering doing my chair and foot stool in cherry to get a little variety going. Phoned my wood guy and he has some nice cherry 6/4 that would make the legs a little faster to make.

That will be my next step. Getting all the wood into the shop to sit for awhile so I can dream about the chairs we are going to start building.

Thanks Walt for taking the liberty to get this community build off the ground...

scott spencer
06-07-2008, 6:48 AM
This should prove to be an awesome group project. I'll be really interesting to watch this evolve. Too bad I'm so swamped this summer. :rolleyes:

Jacob Reverb
06-07-2008, 7:32 AM
Great idea! I'd join in if it weren't tuna fishing season. (Actually, I'll probably just lurk and learn, wait to see where the roadside IEDs are hidden, and try one myself in the fall...)

Looking forward to seeing the progress. Thanks for starting a neat group project.


Dewey Torres
06-07-2008, 2:03 PM
Ahhh, what the heck... I am in!

Reed Wells
06-07-2008, 8:02 PM
Walt, I spend 8 hours a day in my shop to pay the bills, but by golly that does sound like fun. I'm in.

Dave Lehnert
06-07-2008, 9:28 PM
Sounds like a great idea. Problem is I built that chair some time ago. Still have it sitting in my shop. No room in the house.

gary Zimmel
06-08-2008, 12:05 AM

With you having built the chair, maybe you could give us some tips on the build.

Maybe you could build the foot stool to go with the chair.

I too am not sure where mine is going to live. (may have a fantastic chair and ottoman to relax in my shop....)

Dewey Torres
06-08-2008, 12:18 AM
I for one am going to replace one of my aging La-z-Boys. I may enlist my mother in-law to do the upholstery (if that is not against the rules).

I would be interested in where participants are planning on getting their QSWO. I am going to start local and see what the prices are here but it never hurts to consider an online shipment.:)


Nathan Conner
06-08-2008, 8:46 AM
Count me in. Book's ordered. It's been on my list for a long time, and this will ensure I actually get it done in a timely fashion!

Although, I may commit a "material felony" for the ages and use Alder (still have many hundred feet of 8/4 left) to match the bedroom set...and most of all because it requires no wood purchases.

Great idea, guys...

Dave Lehnert
06-08-2008, 6:57 PM

With you having built the chair, maybe you could give us some tips on the build.

Maybe you could build the foot stool to go with the chair.

I too am not sure where mine is going to live. (may have a fantastic chair and ottoman to relax in my shop....)

I will post some pic's about mid week as I have some crazy work hours the next few days. I also built the Ottoman at the time. My chair is currently unfinished but I plan on using Rockler Mission cherry. God! I love that color. I also have yet to make the chair cushions.
Something that may be of interest to the group. I used flat cut Red Oak for my project as I have a ton of it in my shop. I mostly used the grain along the side of the boards that look like quarter sawn, Not the typical "arch" pattern in the middle. I also used all 3/4" inch stock and glued up and planed to the thickness needed.
It has been some time since I built it. if anyone has questions I hope to be able to remember and give you a hand.

Just as a side note. The chair was all built with a Shopsmith mark 5 and Shopsmith wood planer. except the Mortises were cut on a benchtop Grizzly unit.


Pat Germain
06-08-2008, 7:48 PM
I for one am going to replace one of my aging La-z-Boys. I may enlist my mother in-law to do the upholstery (if that is not against the rules).

I would be interested in where participants are planning on getting their QSWO. I am going to start local and see what the prices are here but it never hurts to consider an online shipment.:)


Great way to use that recently acquired Unisaw, Dewey!

FYI, Colorado Woodworkers always has a great selection of high quality lumber. If it's not in stock, the owner is a great guy who will order it for you.

CO lumber is also pretty good. Their lumber isn't quite as high in quality as Colorado Woodworkers, but it's also a little lower in price.

Dewey Torres
06-09-2008, 1:35 AM
Just as a side note. The chair was all built with a Shopsmith mark 5 and Shopsmith wood planer. except the Mortises were cut on a benchtop Grizzly unit.

Man... A classic Morris Chair built with a SSmith??? Boy Howdy!

Walt Caza
06-09-2008, 4:22 AM
Hello Creek, How are Ya?
As we near the close of the third day of this invitation, we have 8 builders on board. Outstanding!
If you are sitting on the fence about jumping in on our first group build, there is still time.
In the coming days, stay tuned for posts about the tools and lumber needed to build this chair.
It would be great to have a shopping list,
so we can get our lumber into our shops to acclimatize before dressing.
[ok, there's my homework...give me a couple days to put it together)

Members have asked about the best way to get these plans.
I can only answer for myself:
I like the style, and feel the book is well done and well worth it.
I have contacted them re: the differences between the other options, and am assured that the paper plans=the PDF file.
For eager beavers, the PDF is instant, and a solid option if you have
a decent printer. Gary Z. printed his off in colour and it looks great!

As this is a first run of a group project, we have a chance to establish
how this (and possible future) build runs. Your input is valued and welcome
through every phase. Please feel free to share your thoughts with
Gary Z. or myself, in this thread or by private message.

If you are tempted to join us, but feel unsure of your shop or ability,
I encourage you to take the plunge. Some may find it amusing that
between us, Gary and I have accumulated a total of zero chairs built!
How can you feel less than confident with a track record like that?!?
This project is shaping up nicely, and promises to be rewarding for
ourselves, our fellow members and our beloved Creek.

So come down off that fence, you are welcome...
and besides, we would not want you to hurt your butt!

Walt Caza
06-09-2008, 1:20 PM
Good Day group chair builders,
The WOOD mag. A&C furniture plans offers a meager lumber list. Helpful but not quite enough to send us shopping just yet.
For the Morris chair, the net, dressed lumber required will be around:

>7 bf of 3/4” thick for leg blank laminations, if you stick to the legs as original plan
(more on leg options in the next posting)

>16 bf of 5/4” thick for stretchers, rails and decorative corbels
(all 25 thin slats are contained in frames of this thicker stock)

>10 bf of ½” thick for slats, splats and bow arm lamination layers (3 per side)

I say greater than these amounts, because you must always dance with knots, end checks, light sapwood that I try to remove, and butt ugly sections of grain. (character!)
Not to mention that most every board is just a little too short to get that last set of matching rails out and with pleasing grain layout… (shucks again!)

The material needed for this project hinges on two main variables:
#1 Will be how you go about getting to ½” thick for the various slats for seat, back and sides. You may choose to resaw, or heavy waste thickness planning.

-The spendy but straightforward heavy waste approach:
If you were to just joint straight and flat, then plane ¾” stock down to ½” thick, it would take twice as much wood as the net 10 bf indicated,
for a total of gross 20 bf of ¾” thick stock.
The board feet calculation would be the same surface area, which is length x width, but multiplied by twice the starting material thickness.
All to end up in the same place. The upside would be plenty of stock to work with, making it less stressful to get to the desired ½” slats, well straight and flat.

So if you could buy acceptable ½” hardwood, you would need about 10 bf for your slats.
If you were to plane down ¾” stock down to the ½” , we would need 20bf for slats,
plus the 7 bf of ¾” needed for the leg blanks. ( =27 bf total ¾” stock)

-resaw 5/4” approach
Depending on how generous the actual thickness you start with, and how cupped, twisted and bowed your boards, you may be able to resaw some 5/4” right down the
center. After stack and sticker a while, these will probably have moved, and then need to be dressed to acceptably straight and flat. The catch is you will need enough
extra thickness, to dress after resawing, to end up at the desired ½” thick in good shape.
Good luck, the condition of your boards, and their internal stresses may contribute to your own condition and stresses!

-resaw 8/4” approach
Myself, I may try to take my slats out of a pile of 8/4” oak I have been sitting on. (make that tripping over!)
My goal will be to resaw into 3 equal layers, stack and sticker and let it move until its happy, and then joint straight and flat, and plane to the needed ½”.
This would allow me to use up my thick stock, and provide opportunities for good grain matches.

In fact, I have come up with an idea, which I have never heard before, when I explained it to Gray Z., I called it a ‘stack match’. (surely I didn’t invent this…)
My idea is to try and take the 3 layers earmarked to become ½” thick eventually, out of the 8 quarter.
If the slab is wide enough, this might allow enough extra wood for dressing, and allow me to take all 7 slats for one side from the same thick board.
If this works, it would mean my 6 narrow plus one wide center slats would all be from the same board ‘neighbourhood’, hopefully providing pleasing colour and grain matches.
All this hinges on if the resawn bananas afford me enough extra to dress away and end up with suitable straight and flat slats.
It would be easier to do then my akward attempt to explain. Sarry!

Refer to next post for the second main stock variable --- leg approaches
Stay tuned to this station for #2. (and more endless blah, blah, blah)

Walt Caza
06-09-2008, 1:22 PM
The other main variable in buying lumber for our chair project,
is which way we choose to build the 2 1/4" square legs.

#2. options for building up 2 ¼” square chair legs

If we build up our legs by following the original plans, each leg is 3 pieces of net ¾” stock glued together.
This should prove a stable assembly with long grain to long grain lamination lasting many seasons to come.
The solid core will serve our through mortises very well. The trade-off for this simple leg construction will by a pair of glued seems on 2 sides of each leg.
Also, if we use the traditional QSW oak, we will end up with 2 sides of ray fleck, and 2 other sides only a mother could love,
each with a pair of glued seams and plain sawn grain. (cathedrals in sharp contrast against our straight grain with flake)

Going with the original plan approach would require:
>7 bf of 3/4” thick for leg blank laminations

There are many other ways to build the legs, each with it's own pros, cons and appearance.
The ultimate choice, by my humble opinion, would be a 5 piece leg with invisible seams and quarter sawn straight grain with
attractive ray fleck on all 4 sides. If the front legs on our chosen design had poked up thru the arms, this could have been real tricky.
We could still make fake tenon caps, in that classic pyramid shape, to simulate the effect with less difficulty.

I have played with the simplest of 5pc legs previously. (not simple at all, by the way!) As linked here...

Other approaches to the quadrilinear leg include:
-Leopold Stickley's original 4pc shaper profile. Who could argue against the man that invented it? (me, with no shaper?)
(while Gustav, the most famous of the 5 Stickley brothers, was using veneer caps)
[can anyone post a picture of this gem?)

-similar to Leo's leg, is the lock miter router bit, although ww's seem to love'em or hate'em...
Both of these options leave a hollow leg, ok for our design choice this time due to no visible leg tops.
Also the hollow offers less support for our through mortises.

-dab hand and pro, fellow Creeker Mark Singer once posted a 3pc leg, with a core ripped with bevels and infilled
(can someone find that inspired post and include it here for our chair builders?) I failed to locate it...

-please post any additional methods you have ever heard of, used, or are curious to try.....

Obviously, our leg approach will require an adjustment (in the spendy direction) of our lumber purchase for this chair

stay tuned for a future post on required tools

more to come...

Glenn Clabo
06-10-2008, 10:27 AM
Just in case you didn't see Walt's excellant essay on legs...


gary Zimmel
06-10-2008, 11:52 AM
My plans are bought, downloaded, and printed off...

I have spent a little time going over them and they seem pretty straight forward. My legs will be 4 piece, 2 1 1/8" pieces and then 1/16" veneers.
The chair slats I may bump to 1/2" rather than the 3/8". On top of the bowed arms I think it would like to add 2 square plugs for effect and am considering raised square plugs to give the effect of pinned M/T joints.

We now have the ability to add albums here at the Creek so I will start one. As one posts the progress here in this thread we can also update our albums. To see the albums go into ones public profile.

This community build is going to be great.....

Walt Caza
06-11-2008, 12:19 PM
Good Day,
I have my book, and wait for the mailman to bring the paper plans.
My books end up dusty if I bring them into the shop...

I am putting together a lumber order to place tomorrow, and expect to
receive shipment in the following week. QSW oak

I know my lumber posts were verbose, sorry...I had hoped our builders
could buy lumber before getting their plans. A head start to let the wood
acclimate to our shops was all I intended.
Sorry if I was ahead of myself...

As Gary Z. posted, the construction of the chair is pretty straightforward.
Basically a pair of slatted leg frames, with slatted seat and back frames.
The tricky parts I foresee will be the bow arm glue-ups and mounting.

Eager to hear when our builders get their plans and lumber.
Gary's idea to add albums to our Creek profiles is terrific.
I too feel this is going to be great!

Glenn Clabo
06-11-2008, 4:27 PM
Interesting site...
http://www.evenfallstudios.com/woodworks_library/007/mission_furniture_pt1.htm#how_to_make_a_morris_cha ir

p.s...Hey Walt...did they name your home town after this guy?

Dewey Torres
06-11-2008, 4:34 PM
WOW Glenn...
Some old but simplified plans you posted. Kind of made me feel like a kid again digging through my Granddad’s collection. Thanks.

Mark Singer
06-12-2008, 8:40 AM
The other main variable in buying lumber for our chair project,
is which way we choose to build the 2 1/4" square legs.

#2. options for building up 2 ¼” square chair legs

If we build up our legs by following the original plans, each leg is 3 pieces of net ¾” stock glued together.
This should prove a stable assembly with long grain to long grain lamination lasting many seasons to come.
The solid core will serve our through mortises very well. The trade-off for this simple leg construction will by a pair of glued seems on 2 sides of each leg.
Also, if we use the traditional QSW oak, we will end up with 2 sides of ray fleck, and 2 other sides only a mother could love,
each with a pair of glued seams and plain sawn grain. (cathedrals in sharp contrast against our straight grain with flake)

Going with the original plan approach would require:
>7 bf of 3/4” thick for leg blank laminations

There are many other ways to build the legs, each with it's own pros, cons and appearance.
The ultimate choice, by my humble opinion, would be a 5 piece leg with invisible seams and quarter sawn straight grain with
attractive ray fleck on all 4 sides. If the front legs on our chosen design had poked up thru the arms, this could have been real tricky.
We could still make fake tenon caps, in that classic pyramid shape, to simulate the effect with less difficulty.

I have played with the simplest of 5pc legs previously. (not simple at all, by the way!) As linked here...

Other approaches to the quadrilinear leg include:
-Leopold Stickley's original 4pc shaper profile. Who could argue against the man that invented it? (me, with no shaper?)
(while Gustav, the most famous of the 5 Stickley brothers, was using veneer caps)
[can anyone post a picture of this gem?)

-similar to Leo's leg, is the lock miter router bit, although ww's seem to love'em or hate'em...
Both of these options leave a hollow leg, ok for our design choice this time due to no visible leg tops.
Also the hollow offers less support for our through mortises.

-dab hand and pro, fellow Creeker Mark Singer once posted a 3pc leg, with a core ripped with bevels and infilled
(can someone find that inspired post and include it here for our chair builders?) I failed to locate it...

-please post any additional methods you have ever heard of, used, or are curious to try.....

Obviously, our leg approach will require an adjustment (in the spendy direction) of our lumber purchase for this chair

stay tuned for a future post on required tools

more to come...


Bill Borchers
06-12-2008, 2:25 PM
Gary and Walt,
What a great idea! I only wish you had started this about four months ago! My cherry morris chair is in the varnish stage right now and I sure could have used your help and guidance. :rolleyes: If I procrastinate long enough, I can follow all the comments on the cushions...:)
Based on some good advice from friends, I started with the ottoman, then did the chair.
I'm really looking forward to following the posts on this one.
I went with the plans from Woodsmith magazine that use bent arms, not steamed curved ones - I didn't feel ready to take that on. I also skipped the pinned tenons. Don't forget to expose that cherry wood to the sun - it really does turn a nice color!
Good Luck,

gary Zimmel
06-12-2008, 2:32 PM

How about a couple of pics of your cherry morris chair.

We may be asking for a few tips from you......

Scott Greaves
06-12-2008, 5:02 PM
OK, here goes my first post here in like three years! :eek:

I LOVE the idea of this chair-building group! I have wanted to build a Morris chair forever, but never got around to it. This project would provide the motivation to get going on it!

I live in Idaho, and decent oak is either unavailable or prohibitively expensive here, so forgive me if I substitute some really neat fir I happen to have a bunch of. It was standing dead old-growth fir trees that got some bug infestation, so it not only has strong, tight grain, but also some holes, tracks and spalting in it.

I hope you don't mind me jumping in after such a long time away! I have been busy at the IAP (International Association of Penturners) and the FPN (Fountain Pen Network).

BTW, this can all be made on a mini-lathe, can't it? :D


gary Zimmel
06-12-2008, 5:30 PM

Welcome aboard..... With you our numbers grow to 9 and counting.

Build your chair out of any wood you would like. Nathan is going to use alder and I may do one in cherry.

Did you get the plan ordered?

Scott Greaves
06-12-2008, 5:49 PM
Did you get the plan ordered?

Hi Gary!

I just downloaded it! Nice plans! This project will challenge me in a couple of areas. Should be fun!


Patrick Nailon
06-14-2008, 1:19 AM
So come down off that fence, you are welcome...
and besides, we would not want you to hurt your butt!

I'm in too. I just ordered the book thru Amazon (along with a nifty little book on pictures of WWII aircraft factories!), and will be working on this chair as time permits. I have no place I can think of at present for a Morris Chair, but I think they're beautiful.

It will be great working with other guys on a similar project. I'm glad this is the project you all chose.


Dewey Torres
06-14-2008, 1:40 AM
So there I was....

Answered the door, picked up the book and flipped strait to the chair.

My reaction:

Happy:) This plan calls for much less QSWO than I had planned to buy

Disappointed:( I don't like the arms. They don't look like a classic "Great Morris Chair" to me.

I may regret this later but I plan on figuring out a way to build this chair with the classic Morris slanted arms and through tenon square caps... If I can.


Walt Caza
06-14-2008, 10:07 AM
Welcome aboard to Scott and Patrick!
Things are shaping up beautifully.
Still plenty of time to gather plans and materials, not to mention some
of our builders have less shop time or prefer a slooow construction.
The rules are, there are no rules... play this any way you see fit, and change it up at your whim!
Variety in details, wood species and finishing touches will be the spice...

Dewey, we were up front in the details post about our design featuring arched bow arms. I am sorry if you did not catch that...
it remains however an authentic Stickley detail. In fact, Gus used 3 different arms on these chairs over the years:
straight arm
bow arm
and also slant arm, which resembles a dogleg.
(Popular WW offers plans of a nifty approach to the dogleg)
You are welcome to modify as you please. (pm sent to D)

As for pacing of this first group build:
We are aiming to start within July, after most of the group indicates their readiness.
Gary and I will keep in touch, trying to post our steps of progress around the same time.
Any and all group members are welcome to build ahead or lag behind.
Our saving grace will be, that posting time can vary from actual build time,
so that we can hold back progress posts to wait for the main group as fits. (or risk chaos?!)

Thank you to group build members who have honoured my request to fill out their
Creek profiles with pics and locations. I ask now that anyone who hasn't, please consider it.
We may be chatting for a long time on this project...it would enhance things to share faces and locations.

Gary Z. has started an album just for this project, in his profile here.
It is a shiny new feature of SMC, and a great way to use it!
Perhaps we can all consider posting our pics to albums?

It is exciting that we have moved the Morris chair from our 'someday' list,
to our starting soon list! I look forward to input from everyone...
Let us know when you get your plans,

Walt Caza
06-15-2008, 1:36 PM
Good day to Sawmill Creek,
I am pleased to present this map of our 10 group builders.
You will find that we have grown to spread out from coast to coast!

Just a decade ago, we might have remained perfect strangers.
Only the connecting power of the interweb could make this possible...
Not to mention the brotherhood and warm spirit of our beloved Creek!

I have done my best to reasonably locate everyone. Deck, I was unsure
where to place you in Nebraska, so I stuck you in the middle... hope everyone is ok with that...

Our crew includes:
Gary Zimmel from Alberta, (crazy Canuck)
Walt Caza from Ontario, (the other crazy Canuck)
Mike SoRelle from Kentucky,
Don 'Deck' Reagan from Nebraska,
Glenn Clabo from Rhode Island, (East coast)
Dewey Torres from Colorado,
Reed Wells from Wisconsin,
Nathan Conner from Washington State (West coast),
Scott Greaves from Idaho,
and last but not least to join our circus of sawdust...
Patrick Nailon from Southern California. (West coast again)

We look forward to postings of progress and problems from everyone.
Our 'little chair project' is off to an auspicious start...
only your input can elevate it to special.
We have a good group of colourful characters, I have learned that from our private messages back-and-forth.

Also, we look forward to pics of Morris chairs built by other Creekers,
Dave Lehnert from Cincinnati, Ohio, (he has built our chosen design!)
Bill Borchers from Beavercreek, Ohio,
George Bregar from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
and just maybe Mike Keers from Hereford, Arizona.

This is an open call to all dab hands who would like to post their
Morris chairs here as well, for the benefit of all the Creek.
on we roll,

Dewey Torres
06-16-2008, 1:01 AM
Walt and Gary,
I have to hand it to you two (and Canada).

You guys are truly keeping this thing classy. Not to mention Canadian tools makers are not to shabby either.

The map, and other extras you have come up with thus far have been a great touch. I almost wish I had came up with the idea. Maybe I could help co-host the next one.. I have some ideas as I am sure at least one of the other 10 do as well.

Anyone got their lumber yet...
Not me:(
Will post when I do


Patrick Nailon
06-20-2008, 5:27 PM
This is an open call to all dab hands who would like to post their
Morris chairs here as well, for the benefit of all the Creek.
on we roll,

I just got the book. Wow. Of course I want to make everything in it, and I'm especially intrigued buy the arts & crafts makeover. We have a room in our house that's just aching for something like that.

Well, I'll be getting the wood together asap. Don't anyone wait for me, I have a wedding present to finish, an arts & crafts bookcase to build for the hallway I'm refinishing, and will be starting on my Scharz workbench as soon as I've saved up for a planer.

But I'll be there in spirit, and catching up as soon as I can. Already priced QS white oak at my local supplier - $5.76 a bf.

John Dodson
06-25-2008, 5:58 PM
Well, I've got waay too many projects to do as it is (it sounds like everyone does) but this sounds like a fun thing to do - and the group motivation always helps, so count me in. I'll be pulling up the rear with the rest of the stragglers. :D

I've got the book, wood on order (If Mike Morgan will ship it, local supplier is pricey) and I'll try to squeeze it in with everything else. I've posted a little intro here:



Walt Caza
06-26-2008, 2:39 AM
Good Day to the Creek,
I am pleased to welcome John Dodson to the Creek, and our group build.
Another lurker drawn in .....and then there were eleven!
I have included a larger, updated map of our chair builders. (boy, are we spread out)
Anyone tempted to jump in from the South East??

*** Announcement: our official starting date is July 15, 2008. ***
Your mileage may vary. Reminder...we are focused on the journey...
so relax and feel comfortable if you are taking the scenic route!
We do this thing for fun, sharing and lessons...

Gary Z. reports that cushion upholstery may prove spendy, but shrewdly points out
that we are building heirlooms. (spot on, man)
No wonder he is building a pair...

As we gear up to begin, it would be terrific to hear from our builders who
are holding plans, receiving lumber or just plain napping.
The first week of July, we are gonna discuss build options and approaches right here in this thread.

A sneak peek at my thoughts for now...
need to make multi-layered forms of MDF for bow arm bending by clamping plys during glue-up. (no steam)
I might just order a flush trim pattern router bit for the job.
I always wanted such a bit with bearings both top and bottom. (great for real wood grain)
Sand up a tidy original, and zing off a few copies into a thick stack form?
Perhaps a couple dowels to align the blanks for cut and also assembly? (establish and preserve registration)
I would hope a single bending form is enough? Anyone wanna share experience with such forms? (springback?)

Put a red star on your calender ..... soon we begin!
take it easy,

Glenn Clabo
06-26-2008, 5:52 AM
I have the book...the plans...the desire...but the time is going to be THE problem. Like I've said...I WILL get this done...but I might be last to do it. I have a set of stairs...a table for the bathroom...and if DRLOML has anything to say about it HER new gas fireplace surround is higher on the list.

Anyway...mine will be cherry...so I'm in search of some special stuff. When it shows up I'll buy it and that will inspire me.

One good thing about taking longer...I'll learn from everyone elses mistakes.:p

John Dodson
06-26-2008, 8:53 AM
Oh good - someone with more projects than I have -- it will be a race to last place. :p

I've got the book and lumber on order. Good idea to start thinking about the bending/laminating. An mdf block seems the way to go. I've bent guitar sides - considerably thinner than 3/8" laminations for the arms... so I don't think my 6" X 36" heating pad would do much good.


John Dodson
06-26-2008, 10:05 PM
Here is a bit of motivation. Just got back from a high end furniture store called Simply Stickley (stores sells Stickley furniture as well as a line of Amish and Shaker, all high end) . Started about a year and a half ago by 2 doctors with two stores - one in El Paso and one in Albuquerque. The El Paso store is going out of business (which is no surprise). The going out of business SALE price on a Morris chair almost identical to the project chair is $2,800.

So making these chairs will be just like minting money. :p

Dewey Torres
07-06-2008, 7:48 PM
Walt and the Morris Chair Gang,

Great news!

I am ready to start the chair. I had another project taking up my shop until today:


So here I come!


Dewey Torres
07-08-2008, 3:39 PM
I have the book and I have just recently cleared my shop with another project so I am ready to begin... well almost.

I still have yet to clean my shop and sharpen and align my tools. (something I do before any big project)

I have the wood picked out locally here but it haven’t purchased it yet only because I really wanted to get my other project done first.

I am going to buy QSWO for the main viewable parts and flats sawn WO for the parts you don't see (or see very little).

I am going to buy about 30 bdft of each and whatever is left over will get used on something else.

Once I get the lumber and get started I don't expect it will take terribly long to complete…Maybe a month not counting the finish. (I will warn you, I am not good at these types of estimations as I have never built one of these before).

I am concerned about the mortises, as all I have right now is a drill press attachment. I will try it with the attachment and see how it goes.

Once I get started, expect plenty of pics starting when I get the lumber into my shop. I will try and update this thread similar to the way I made the marquetry tutorial.

Go team!


John Dodson
07-08-2008, 4:46 PM
Greetings Morris Chair Groupies.

At the risk of telling you more than you want to know - but you'll have to blame Walt for that - here is where I'm at re: Morris chair.

I've got the plan book.

My lumber order is in, however, they left off the QSWO <sigh>, which I had planned to use -- so I may use cherry, got plenty of that, or go buy QSWO locally at a higher price, or maybe the forgotten QSWO will show up. Species to be determined.

Currently I've got two main projects going, a bathroom remodel and a Stickley/Harvey Ellis No. 72 magazine case. It's been awhile since I've built furniture - I've been building and repairing musical instruments for a number of years. Quite a change - a guitar having almost no square or flat surfaces, while A&C furniture having almost no curved or radiused surfaces. So the magazine case is a warm up project, in order to determine weaknesses in tools, technique and thinking (sure enough, I've found several in all areas). So I've spent some time and will continue to spend time tuning table saw, jointers and re-arranging my shop to accommodate square stuff. I've purchased a few tools aimed at A&C furniture building as well - a SC bench mortiser, a freud dado head, jet parallel bar clamps. I've got a small but nicely equipped shop: jet contractors saw (with a terrible stock fence - need to do something about that, maybe use it as an excuse to buy a new saw), 6" jointer, dust collector, an old sears drill press, delta drum sander, delta bench planer, 1948 Oliver lathe (my one gloatable piece) and a variety of routers/laminate trimmers and other portable power tools.

Both the bathroom remodel and the cabinet are pretty far along, but the devil is in those finishing details - so they'll slow my initial participation somewhat. The other thing is a planned vacation beginning July 27 for two weeks. I plan to at least get some stock milled and the bending form done before leaving on vacation - but it will probably not be till mid August that I will start in earnest. I would hope to complete in not much longer than a couple of months of catch as catch can evenings and weekends.

Looking forward to the group build!


gary Zimmel
07-09-2008, 12:54 AM
Greetings All...

One more of the Morris Chair Club checking in.

My downloaded plans are in hand and I have had some time to go over them. Everything seems pretty straight forward.
I haven't done a bowed arm before but am looking forward to that part of the project.

At first I was going to build a cherry version of the chair and ottoman for one of our spare rooms. Thought it would be nice do do a couple of cherry pieces for our home, Arts and Craft style.

When my wife saw what we were doing, things changed just a bit....

The chair and ottoman will be QSWO and be for the living room. The two will have a brother and sister... So it's two chairs and ottomans. Here is a shot of where the finished pieces will live. Will fit in just fine with the other Arts and Crafts coffee table and two end tables.


Upside of the change is I don't have to buy any wood. I have a good stock pile of QSWO on hand. And with a couple of more pieces of furniture for the house it might be tool shopping time again after. Don't really need anything but always what a few more things.

I am going to do things a bit backwards and build the ottomans first. That way I can get them stained so the boss can pick the leather color. By my guestimate I will need 2 hides. (not to sure what that will set one back) By doing it this way she will have her color and be assured they are from the same dye lot.

The way figure it the ottomans will take about a month to do, with the amount of shop time I get. The chairs, about a month and a half. So all in all with finishing it will take me a little over 3 months to complete everything.

This weekend will be spent getting the wood picked for the first 8 legs.

It's going to be a pleasure working alongside (well sort of) the rest of the Morris Chair Gang....

Nathan Conner
07-09-2008, 11:09 AM
Uneventful so far, but here's some status:

I ordered the book through Amazon, and when it showed up, I was surprised. I have the same book already sitting in one of the many piles in the shop. Of course, I couldn't find it. That (and the 4x7 upper that FELL off the wall) got me motivated to start another "whole-shop" cleaning, which got me reorganizing, which made me rearrange the entire shop's setup and move all the power tools around. Once again, had I made little models and moved them around on paper, it would have saved my back and brain). I have a recent cyclone add-on that's taken up a lot of time, and is functional, but only about 60% complete. Another 8 hours should see it complete.

Current project has been a new studio (conversion from an old open pole barn) up near the house. It's complete aside from insulation in the rafters, so a trip to the big box this weekend and some crawling around in the heat up there may get it 100% finished. It's temporarily an office for me, a guest room, and a quiet place to go think about the Morris Chair project.

Anyhow, I have the plans, have looked them over, nothing scares me so far. I have no mortiser (in fact, no DP, either), and no _current_ plans to pick one up. Hand tools should do the trick. I also don't have a tenoning jig, so I'll attempt those by hand, too (but it may mean creating a plywood mortising jig for the tablesaw if it causes me fits. I recall seeing Roy U. making them and wondering at how easy he makes it look.) I figure that if my great grandfather could do it years ago, I should be able to. I'm going to get everything well sharpened and tuned and cleaned before getting started, and I have two clean 4x8 work tables ready to accept some dust and shavings.

The wood is going to be Alder. I have several hundred feet of 8/4 left over from a goldmine I found last year. It's been acclimating for months, and should be more than ready. Fairly clear stuff, and it will match bedroom furniture.

I don't know how long it will take - other projects seem to jump in every few days. I'm planning on about 5 weeks plus weekends, but I plan on taking it slowly so I don't end up with two right sides or something ridiculous like that. DAMHIKT.

Looking forward to getting started - I imagine within the next week I'll get the wood all laid out and sketched on, maybe get some initial milling done. I have to read the plans and make some sketches to make sure there are no trouble spots. I'm going to take some photos of the lumber and the workspace and put them in an album here.

One question - what about using a vacuum bag to do the lamination glue-up for the arms? Does this intimate that I'll need a full-sized MDF jig and not a "center-strip-style" jig? Anyone else planning on this? I haven't gotten much use out of the vacuum press yet.

Good luck, guys! It's going to be fun!

Scott Greaves
07-09-2008, 3:02 PM
Hi All!

I have the downloaded plans in-hand, and have read them over and think it all is something I can do. I have to admit to having some fear (but no loathing) about being able to do this project, but that is taking a back-seat right now to anticipation about getting started!

My plans are to use a large stock of wormy fir I had originally bought to be used as trim in our cabin. It is rough stock, and once we started running the boards through my planer, and saw all those holes that would need to be filled, my Wife decided that plain old pine would be just fine for trim in a cabin! This stuff is pretty dense, and it has some beautiful grain, but there are those pesky wormholes. I intend to fill them with colored epoxy, and in the past I have pretty consistently used black as it provides a nice contrast with most woods. But now I am second-guessing, and thinking that maybe a medium to dark brown might be better, so it doesn't overwhelm the wood. Any thoughts on this?

People keep talking about cleaning the shop in preparation for this project, and I have to admit I'm not sure if I know what this term means! I know what cleaning is, and I have a shop, but using those terms together confounds me! But I will have faith and keep reading here, and hopefully I'll figure out this "clean the shop" thing pretty soon. :p


Nathan Conner
07-09-2008, 11:48 PM
I intend to fill them with colored epoxy, and in the past I have pretty consistently used black as it provides a nice contrast with most woods. But now I am second-guessing

Hey, Scott. Welcome!

First thing that came to mind when you said Epoxy is clear epoxy. That would highlight the holes, bring out the character, and still give the stability and keep out dust and junk. And no funny colors in case you decide later on that the color/tone you went with was too distracting. I could see _anything_ being distracting, though...

Can you post pictures of it and what you've done before?

And about the cleaning thing - don't worry, we were just kidding. Who ever heard of cleaning a shop?

George Bregar
07-10-2008, 9:02 AM
I am going to do things a bit backwards and build the ottomans first. That way I can get them stained so the boss can pick the leather color. By my guestimate I will need 2 hides. (not to sure what that will set one back) By doing it this way she will have her color and be assured they are from the same dye lot. You're guestimate is spot on. My chair/ottoman took a hide. The upholsterer charged $850 for the combo (material/labor)

Larry Tobias
07-11-2008, 4:36 PM
If anyone is looking to buy their own hide, you might look here:


I bought a hide for my planned chairs/ottomans

Patrick Nailon
07-11-2008, 11:20 PM
Put a red star on your calender ..... soon we begin!
take it easy,

I'll be lurking in the background for a while. I'm currently finishing up panel doors for the hall cupboard that I'm redoing, then I have an arts & crafts bookcase to make for the same hallway. But I'll be checking in from time to time. This is an advanced project for me, so I'll be taking it slowly and reading up on others suggestions and issues.:)

Don Bullock
07-12-2008, 12:26 AM
I'll be lurking in the background for a while. ...:)

Patrick, you're not alone lurking in the background. Since my workshop plans are still being redrawn so that I can get a building permit for my shop/garage, I don't have a place to build anything. Hopefully by reading and looking at the pictures from these builds, when I do get a chance to make my own chair I'll be able to do a better job. Thanks in advance to all who are making the chairs.

Bill Borchers
07-12-2008, 12:53 PM
I just finished the "wood" part of the chair. Next is the upholstery. Attached are a couple pics. I have really enjoyed working with cherry. Remember, the arms are the most visible part, so choose your lumber carefully for those pieces.

Walt Caza
07-14-2008, 4:11 PM
Good Day to the Creek,
As we approach the official start date, I want to thank all contributors to this posting…
over 4100 views of a build thread before a single board is cut, thanks for your support.
I have both the book and paper plans in hand. The only advantage of the paper version is a full sized corbel pattern---no biggie at all.

Due to high gas, I had to wait weeks for my lumber delivery from bigtown Toronto.
I bought 4/4” QSW oak, as well as 5/4” which I will use for my chair and other projects.
It stung my wallet, but I now have 250bf of lumber in hand, plus a little black walnut.

While waiting for lumber I have been trying to find my shop floor, which I have not seen in a very long time.
I have also shuffled my layout and been putting a keen edge on my hand tools. Dewey’s idea to tuneup machines is wise, but am I?
I did alot of 'busy work' such as a fresh router table and a bandsaw blade rack.
I had considered a head start, but having no lumber has kept me ‘honest’. I am glad to finally have my wood in hand...(!)

I am busy with other things, but will push for steady progress and updates of my chair until it is finished (bad pun).
I expect with build, finish and upholstery it will take months.
If I am able to sit in my chair before Christmas, I will consider that a win!

The chair is comprised of a pair of slatted side frames, plus slatted seat and back frames.
The plans feature slats into grooves with fillers. I am unfamiliar with that approach,
and might use traditional m&t. I applaud the courage of Nathan to attempt this project without a mortiser nor drill press.

As my first chair, I expect to be challenged by the bow arms and the reclining seat back.
The big hurdle (BH from now on) will be cutting the arches on top of the side frames to mount the bow arms.
Much time and effort will be put into the legs and poke-through
mortise and tenons of the side frame before the BH, thus putting them at risk.
Even more so if I mount the slats with traditional m&t. (hate to scrap sides after all that)
I consider the BH tricky in advance, and crucial to the success of the build.

As per Bill B’s tip, I will set aside some choice grain for the future arms, and then pick some nice oak for my legs.
When I posted the thick leg veneers on my last end table, Gary suggested I try thinner next time.
This would have been my first chance, but since he is using that approach, I will explore alternatives for my Morris chair.
I aim to build the legs first, and then the stacked MDF bending forms.

Let us strive to work safely and have fun with this,
I’m eager to get started,

Below is a snapshot of my rough lumber:

gary Zimmel
07-16-2008, 12:03 AM
As this is our official start date, I thought I would take the liberty and post a quick picture.

Not much, but if you look really closely you will be able to see my first ottoman....


First on the to do list will be 4 legs. Will keep you posted.

You can visit my album on the Great Morris Chair Project at http://www.sawmillcreek.org/album.php?albulmid=17

Nathan Conner
07-16-2008, 11:04 AM
So, being as yesterday was the start, I got some time to work on things in the evening. Got the pieces of Alder picked out for the legs, played around with some designs before settling on a simple bookmatch. I'm using 8/4 Alder, so it was simple enough to mill up, saw the boards in half, and re-glue after a half-turn.

The Alder is a little windy - not sure if it was case-hardened or just weird, but it's a bit tough to get boards flat and true. Lots of clamps seemed to help with the glue-up, and lots of pressure. The glue on the first two sets of boards dried last night, and this morning, I pulled them out of the clamps and took a photo before putting the SECOND set of legs in. (*ACK!*)

Yes, I'm going to build a pair of chairs. My wife said, "Well, if you're building one..." and so it became reality. I have a pile of wood that is just holding the floor down currently, so...off we go!

The bookmatch looks nice - I plan on that taking care of any veneer work or weird mitering on the legs. The sides of the legs will have visible seams, but it should look intentional - my goal on any project. It may look awful, but make it look like you intended it, and someone, somewhere will cut you some slack.

After these 6' leg sets come out of the clamps, I'll scrape the glue lines, re-mill them at current length to save steps, and then get started cutting them closer to length (I think I'll go 24" for some wiggle room).

I'll keep posting/updating pictures here on my album: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/album.php?albumid=31

gary Zimmel
07-17-2008, 7:22 PM
Time for a little leg glue up. My legs will be 2 pieces @ 1 1/8" to make my 2 1/4" and 1/16" veneers that will give me the looks of 1/4 sawn on all 4 sides. At 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" these will be chuncky little legs.

92680 92681

Next will be getting the 1/16" veneers on.

Nathan Conner
07-17-2008, 8:00 PM
So, I went in to a local printing company here in Portland today after work, and for $25, got a pair of enlargements from the drawings.

The enlargements, in case it helps anyone, are perfect at 400%. The place that did it was great and did all of the work in just a few minutes. It was the fourth place I visited, though. Everyone else had no large format printer and would have had to send away for the work.

If anyone's interested and has trouble getting to a place to do them, I'm happy to help out, just IM me. Given the simplicity of the drawings, though, should be a breeze to make something yourself, or draw arcs with a piece of hardboard or something if you're adventurous.

Also, there was a minimum order of 2 on any of this sort of work, and I only need one of these sets - my wife wants to laminate them to keep them safe and sound. If anyone is having trouble finding local services for this, and you're willing to pay whatever the shipping charge is, I'm happy to roll one of these up and get it to you.

I'm happy to do it for everyone, actually, but this first one is free. I didn't ask, but i think they totaled about $9 each set if you do more than 3 or 4 at a time. If there's interest, I can get them to anyone within a couple of days, or faster if you want to pay for expeditious shipping.

They look great, though. Plenty big and great to get a sense of perspective on the arm rails. I'll post photos of them in my album.

Dewey Torres
07-19-2008, 12:00 AM
Called around today and got a great price on lumber. I am using QSWO and I got it for just 9.49 bdft...:D

Ok not really but that was the first quote. I couldn't believe it. I had found it for 5.50 earlier but I waited to long and alas, it was gone when I got ready to purchase.:(

Back to the drawing board, I called one local supplier and was quoted 9.49 bdft:eek:. I almost vomited, thanked him for his time, and promptly dialed the next number. Next supplier had plenty for 6.00 bdft... ok, now we are talking:).

I got 30 bdft of 4/4 QSWO, 20 bdft of 6/4 QSWO, and 10 bdft of flat sawn white oak.

I got home tonight and unloaded it onto my bench. I will post pics to my album as Gary Z. did.

Also, I was asked earlier about how I plan to do the slats via M&T joinery or with spacers. I am trying to be as traditional as I possibly can with the build on this so the answer (for now) is M&T. It will be a lot of tenons so it may wind up more than I want to take on. Time will tell.

One thing the group will learn about me is, I tend to change my mind on how I build things many times throughout a project, even with plans.
Sometimes this is to make things easier and sometimes to please my tastes. Not too many of the "please my tastes" options wind up the easier way, but they usually make Dewey a whole lot happier in the end.

I will waiver from the plans form time to time and I will document when I do and whether it paid off. Creekers will be the judge as to the end result. Even though, the chair will not look radically different from the rest.

Hey, Walt said there are no rules!

Play ball!


Glenn Clabo
07-19-2008, 6:51 AM
In keeping with the no rule policy...here's just a suggestion....
I made this a sticky so it would be easy to follow. There seems to be a trend to "post pictures on my album". IMHO...I don't like that. It causes people to go from the thread to find pictures. How about posting at least a few pictures on the thread...and the rest in your albums. Then at least it will cut down on the need for some people...especially those with slow connections...to go looking.

One more thing...you can link/show your pictures in your album by adding the picture using the "Insert Image" button (little yellow one with the mountain in it). Go to the original picture, click on the picture to get the full size version, copy the URL, and then insert that URL in the new thread using the "Image" button.

Here's one from my album ... http://www.sawmillcreek.org/picture.php?albumid=2&pictureid=9

gary Zimmel
07-19-2008, 10:25 AM
My first plan was to do the ottomans completly and then go on to the chairs. However with so many pieces having the same machine set ups, I will mill a lot of my chair parts at the same time.

I spent a little time and got the wood picked for the legs, rails and strechers for the 2 chairs.


More leg glue ups. This time for the chairs.


Now its time to cut the 32 pieces that will be my venners...

Dewey Torres
07-19-2008, 12:51 PM
One more thing...you can link/show your pictures in your album by adding the picture using the "Insert Image" button (little yellow one with the mountain in it). Go to the original picture, click on the picture to get the full size version, copy the URL, and then insert that URL in the new thread using the "Image" button.

Thanks for the tip Glenn. I will do it that way from now on.

Nathan Conner
07-20-2008, 12:41 AM
Well, the first issue came up today. I worked for a few hours this morning on the mortises for the legs. Everything was going wonderfully until I broke my mortiser. (*sigh*)

It's the Delta 650, a little one, and was used when I got it, though it looked "lightly" used. I didn't pay much for it at all, but still. I broke the fence rail (the part that slides into the column to hold the work square and tight when you remove the chisel). The casting just snapped in half while I was pulling the chisel back out of one of the holes. I'm not hurt, and it's just a tool, so I'm happy with that part.

What I'm wondering is...should it be THAT hard to pull the chisel back out of the new hole? I wouldn't have thought so, but it's a bear. I was having to really put my back into it. I tried some Slipit, and then some wax, and I made sure the bit cooled down so it wasn't expanding in the hole...

I dunno. Weird.

So, I made up a temporary fence with some clamps and boards, but I've got to do something else - right now it takes several minutes each hole, as I have to reposition clamps and boards each time. I'll let you know what I figure out.

Hey, at least I got almost all of the mortises in the correct spot, so...there's that.

Good luck, guys!

Walt Caza
07-20-2008, 9:31 AM
Good Day to the Creek,
Glenn makes a strong point -that having to search for pics diminishes this
thread. Posting rules are different between threads and albums.

According to Dewey's inquiry in the tech forum, we are not limited in the
number of albums we can create. Each album can contain up to 60 pics,
with max 650 x650 pixel and a cap of 97.7K file size.

Pics posted to a thread are only limited by a cap of 107.8K for most formats.
Posting the same pic twice requires the hassle of renaming the 2nd pic with a unique
filename, and also consumes twice the bandwidth.

Glenn's suggestion is to first format and post pics to albums, which will
provide a URL that can be quickly and accurately cut-and-pasted to a
thread. This works fine, the only slight downside being albums allow smaller pics.
For common rectangular pics, the longest side is capped at 650pix which
is still large enough to be viewable.

I guess I will post my chair pics directly to this thread, where they are most relevant.(and can be larger)
I will use personal albums to show completed projects, which will gather them as a gallery of my posted work.
I suspect pics of a work in progress have more value in-thread, and with all the write-ups included...(?)

Thanks for the great posts so far, making me eager to start!
I am pushing to solve some problems, but will be along asap.
My loft shop has been cooking at over 100 F this week with humidity factored in... (110F humidex yesterday)

The lumber pic is an experiment, repost of same photo after renaming.
The same pic from prior post was 922 x614 pixel, 105K posted into thread.
This version of pic is 650 x433 pixel, 96.6K posted to album, then linked to this thread. Just trying to find the best approach...

carry on builders,

joe lehnert
07-20-2008, 2:30 PM
Hey, Dave your more than welcome to finish the Morris chair and store it at my house.:D:D:D.

gary Zimmel
07-20-2008, 9:55 PM
Good Day to the Creek.

As I have been glueing the veneers on the legs I thought instead of just watching the glue setup enough to take the clamps off I would start to make some side slats. The plan calls for 3/8" slats on both the chair and ottoman. The rails on the chair are thicker, 1 1/16" versus 3/4" on the ottoman. Because of this I am going to make my slats for the chairs 1/2" instead of 3/8".

Pretty staight forward. Face and edge joint to get ready to fire through the bandsaw.


1/2" blade in the bandsaw that has only been used for resawing. Portable extention table at the right height.



After the first pass back to the jointer to flatten the board again and then back to the bandsaw for another pass. Banana effect doesn't seem to be that bad on this one, but it's the best out of the bunch. (not a problem we always allow for the banana effect)


Here are the fruits of all the hard work. All that has to be done is a few passes on the jointer and then get them to final thickness with the planer.


As I was looking at these I started to think, did I leave enough to get that 1/2" I want.....

gary Zimmel
07-20-2008, 10:15 PM
Well after trying my best to get that 1/2" thickness I had to bring these down to 3/8". Didn't think they would bow as much as they did. All that wood went into only making these 14 slats. By my calculation they are worth about 5 bucks a piece. Upside is I have a few more pieces for another project.


Now I know why they charge $2700.00 for a chair......

Dewey Torres
07-21-2008, 2:55 AM
Well after trying my best to get that 1/2" thickness I had to bring these down to 3/8". Didn't think they would bow as much as they did. All that wood went into only making these 14 slats. By my calculation they are worth about 5 bucks a piece. Upside is I have a few more pieces for another project.


Now I know why they charge $2700.00 for a chair......

Wow Gary... I hope I do better with my wood lot or I am back to the lumber supplier!:eek:


Dave Lehnert
07-21-2008, 7:16 PM
[quote=Dave Lehnert;869301]I will post some pic's about mid week as I have some crazy work hours the next few days. I also built the Ottoman at the time. My chair is currently unfinished but I plan on using Rockler Mission cherry. God! I love that color. I also have yet to make the chair cushions.
Something that may be of interest to the group. I used flat cut Red Oak for my project as I have a ton of it in my shop. I mostly used the grain along the side of the boards that look like quarter sawn, Not the typical "arch" pattern in the middle. I also used all 3/4" inch stock and glued up and planed to the thickness needed.
It has been some time since I built it. if anyone has questions I hope to be able to remember and give you a hand.

Just as a side note. The chair was all built with a Shopsmith mark 5 and Shopsmith wood planer. except the Mortises were cut on a benchtop Grizzly unit

Sorry it took so long. Better late than never LOL!!!

Dave Lehnert
07-21-2008, 7:20 PM
Some other shots of the chair

Dave Lehnert
07-21-2008, 7:22 PM
One last photo. Enjoy

gary Zimmel
07-22-2008, 8:56 PM
Not a lot of progress over the last few days. Too much grass to cut (5 acres) and not enough shop time. At least on the prairies we don't have to deal with all the humidity that Mr. Casa has to...

Anyway found a little time for some more slats.
These ones are for one of the ottomans, 3/8" thick. One piece cut into 3 so we have the grain match. In the pic the ones on the left don't seem to have any fleck but it just my camera abilities.....


As you can see I kind of bounce around a little. But the plan will come together.


Did you get your problem resolved with your mortiser?

Nathan Conner
07-23-2008, 9:23 AM
So yeah, Gary. I got lots of help on the mortiser in the General thread. Seems like I was doing a couple of things wrong, and I've got a checklist for next time. Luckily I was able to finish the legs up with a limping mortiser, even if it was a bit time-consuming. The mortises need a little cleanup to straighten them out - can't use them straight out of the mortiser. The bulk of the work is done, though.

I've been using test pieces -- and I'm awfully glad I am. I ruined one of them while test-chamfering the bottom of the legs. The Bosch laminate trimmer depth collar was set a little loose, and the bit slipped down a good 1 1/2" inches, digging into - and ruining - the test piece. I spent a few minutes getting the collar all good and tight before I worked on the good pieces.

My wife threw a hand in last night and helped me get all the wood laid out and marked up for the rest of the pieces last night, then she handed me pieces in correct orientation to machine all of the upper and lower chair sides. I got those all cut to size and oriented so that the faces from the upper rails come from the same piece and orient the same direction as the armrests - stuff like that. These are details I'd never considered on another project, and I think will make the difference between a "finished" project and a "Well-finished" project I can be proud of. And, she encouraged me to describe to her how I'd figured that the arm slats, if resawn out of the same 6/4 piece, will really be bookmatches of each other all along the side. I've not yet decided how exactly I want to orient them, but the pieces are all marked up and ready for resawing. I wish there were an even number on each side of the large slat. Design change?

I plan to change the large side slat cutout somewhat. I don't have a scroll saw any longer, so either I'll find someone who has one, or come up with a slightly tamer design -- something easy to do with the plunge router and a template?

Anyhow. Still working when I can, when not crawling under the house to repair copper plumbing being eaten by our well, or mowing, or working. The next step is to start looking into the arm rests, and the MDF template for those guys. I'll do a test armrest and see how that comes out so I don't have any surprises.

Walt Caza
07-23-2008, 7:22 PM
Looking good men,
There was a scene in 'Jaws' where Richard Dryfus is frantically tying barrels onto the rope,
and the Sheriff is trying to shoot it into the approaching monster...
(in my best Richard Dryfus voice)
'Don't you wait for me'

As soon as I can steal some time, I now have a second window a/c to try to cool
my loft shop. I hope the pair can make things workable, if not comfortable.
I find it dangerous sweating into my eyes, tarred and feathered with sawdust, and dripping on cast iron machines.
I will start my chair and then make a post within the next few days, or die trying!
Don't wait up for me, I will be along...

I have been following your posts with growing excitement, and cannot wait to make some sawdust myself!
Nathan, I do find mortiser chisels can get grabby on the way back out.
It varies with different species. I use paraffin wax all the time anymore.
Melts onto a hot chisel nicely, and quiets any screeching to boot. uggh

Gary seems to be making steady progress. Myself, I am not sure yet if I will
do the center slat cut-outs...still time for me to figure it out.
With any luck Dewey and I will have some progress posts to share any day now...

Thanks to Dave, Bill and George for posting their Morris chairs for our benefit.
And thanks to all contributors to this thread,
stay cool,

gary Zimmel
07-24-2008, 11:53 PM
Good Day to the Creek.

Well I finally have all the legs made!

Before the veneers are glued on I made sure I had a flat and smooth surface. My # 8 made easy work of this.


All the 1/16" veneers that were ripped on the table saw. They start out about 1/4" oversized to make glue up a lot easier. A couple of extra were made just in case...


Starting to clean the edges with my 4 1/2. I used the bench plane as it will do both sides at the same time.


For final trimming of the veneer a 60 1/2 came in handy.


All the edges for the chair legs finally done. Not a lot of noise in the shop as this was being done.


gary Zimmel
07-25-2008, 12:05 AM
Here are a couple of shots of the finished edges of the legs.

93179 93180

Next is to get them into the mortiser to do a few deep holes....

John Dodson
07-25-2008, 12:35 AM
Nice job on the legs Gary! I think I may follow your technique... seems like a practical way to go - thanks for the photos!

Dewey Torres
07-27-2008, 3:12 AM
Well, in an effort to NOT to leave the group hanging I am posting to say that I have been ordered to finish the dreaded back yard landscape that has somehow alluded us despite our efforts, since we moved here in Aug 2006.

We have been chipping away at it but can I say eating the elephant one forkful at a time makes you quit to go to the bathroom quite often. The growing season around here is a short 4 months and I guess she is right. I will be posting pics of my non morris chair/ non woodworking project in the weekend accomplishments section by Karl Laustrup.

I have hauled 6 tons of breeze and 2 tons of rock so far, plus planted about 20 or so plants with landscape fabric and mulch... working on a retaining wall too. Man I am pooped!

Hope to get back to the easy stuff soon:)

Pat Germain
07-27-2008, 10:38 AM
^^ I feel your pain, Dewey. BTW, I've been in my house over seven years and have yet to landscape my back yard.

Nathan Conner
07-27-2008, 2:38 PM
Ok, SO.

I'm done with the legs, aside from some cleaning up of the mortises. I'm starting to work on the tenons, and I'm stymied. I'm not sure of the approach, and the test pieces I put together sort of fit. Nothing fancy - nothing to be proud of.

What's the order of steps, here? My plan was to cut the tenons slightly (like 1/64th on each side) over, and use a sanding block, maybe to make the fit perfect? But that leaves a lot to be desired. If any of the mortises aren't perfect (Which...none are) I'm going to have issues with seating at the shoulders and a good tight fit on the visible end.

I tried one test where I cut the tenon nearly 1/16" strong on each side, then, after it was cleaned up, used the marking knife and traced AROUND the outside of the already cut mortise, then cleaned up to the mark with a chisel and a clamped-on guide block. That seems to have the most promise, but that's a LOT of work. Each will have to be cut by hand, and the test took close to an hour to get an only decent fit. I don't mind, but I want to make sure I'm not missing some easy solution. That's a good 40-hour week to get them all fitting well.

On the other hand, are these SUPPOSED to fit beautifully? Is there supposed to be a slight gap/play that will be firmed up/swollen to fit with the glue or is that acceptable? I've never done these before, so I'm not sure which approach is best. I can cut them all to 1/2" and just tap them in, but I'm afraid the marks left by the mortiser will be so visible as to take away from the whole point of doing these in the first place. Maybe the mortiser shouldn't have left scallop marks because it was set up incorrectly, and now I've got to pay for it?

Any thoughts, guys?

gary Zimmel
07-27-2008, 3:15 PM

Going threw the 2 1/4'" is going to be a tall order.. Keeping everything true for the mortises is only the first problem. Next is the tenons. making them so they are going to fit tight but still will go together. Now one has to have them all go together so the shoulders sit thight against the leg.

It all depends on your definition of beautiful... If you want a sweet looking fit that gives you the look go with a faux thru tenons. It will take a little time but your finished product will look great.

As a matter of fact mine may be that way.....

Dewey Torres
07-28-2008, 3:40 PM
I've never done these before, so I'm not sure which approach is best. I Maybe the mortiser shouldn't have left scallop marks because it was set up incorrectly, and now I've got to pay for it?

Any thoughts, guys?

Your mortising bit should not leave scallop marks. If you use a hollow chisel mortiser right out of the box it will though (every time).

David Marks taught me this trick:

Take the bit out of the mortising chisel and hold it at a right angle to the grinder. The flat part at the very end of the bit (which cuts), is ground by lightly turning the bit so that you take just a hair off all the way around. Take light passes and reload the bit into the mortiser, test on a piece of scrap until the scallop marks are gone. This effectively reduces the diameter of the cutter which is what is causing scallops. Be carful not to take too much off or the auger will not properly lift chips though the chisel as it cuts.

Does that make sense?

Bill Borchers
07-28-2008, 4:51 PM
I know it wasn't a race, but I have completed my Morris Chair! OK, I did start in December;).
Anyway, I thought I'd post a few pics, especially since I did it out of cherry instead of the traditional QSWO.
I completed the upholstery last weekend. I never thought I would use vinyl, but I did. I remember proclaiming that a chair of this complexity and beauty deserved leather, but I succumbed to price pressures. A hide or two of leather is pretty darn expensive and some of the vinyls I found are really nice. I used a brand name called "Whisper". It is really soft - not plasticy at all. I bought from a chain fabric store - Hancock Fabrics. They had a special last Saturday and I bought 4 yards (plenty) for a total of $38 ($9.50/yd). That's alot cheaper that a hide or two. If I decide to upgrade to leather later, I can call the vinyl $38 worth of practice!
The actual upholstery was easier than I thought it would be. The plans I used were shown in issue 155 of Woodsmith magazine. I actually purchased the plans from www.plansnow.com (http://www.plansnow.com) for $9.95. They are really good plans. Anyway, Woodsmith has a video on their site that anyone can view. It shows how to make the cushions - the directions are clear and make it pretty straight forward. Here's the link: http://www.woodsmith.com/issues/155/videos/adding-cushions/
Good luck to all participating. I'd be happy to answer any questions. I'd also like to thank all the help I got during my eight month quest (mostly finishing questions).

Nathan Conner
07-29-2008, 9:25 AM
It makes perfect sense. I just wish I'd known that before cutting all...what...28 mortises? :)

Oh, well. I'll figure something out.They say the sign of a decent woodworker is that he can repair mistakes. I call baloney on that, because I spend the majority of my time figuring out how to repair mistakes, and I don't feel decent.

My options are - make them slightly larger, clean them up and cut the tenons by hand, split the tenons inside the legs to make fitting easier, or make a false tenon end cap outside each. I'll do some tests and get cranking on whatever looks best.

Thanks for the advice, guys. I'll go grind down my bits when I get home. Carefully. Next time I'll know better. Hey. I learned something. Can't be all that bad.

gary Zimmel
07-29-2008, 8:23 PM
Good Day to the Creek!

Well the ottoman legs have a few holes in them...

As there is going to be alot of hole punching I wanted to make sure my chisel was up to the task. A little jig for the drill press makes this job quite easy.


I made up a couple of story sticks to make the layout a little quicker.


Here are the ottoman legs. Just a little clean up and they will be ready to go.



Next on the agenda are all the rails and strechers..

I now will concentrate on the ottomans and the chairs will be on the back burner for awhile.....


Dewey Torres
07-30-2008, 12:46 AM
Looking good Gary!

Walt Caza
07-30-2008, 4:09 PM
Good Day All,
This week's heat wave has my loft shop over 100F and quite sticky.
I did find some early morning shoptime, and experimented with a new-to-me 4pc leg. (link)

My sample worked out fine, but proved fussy and time consuming. I am not
sure which approach I will use when I start my chair legs early tomorrow morning.(?)
I find Gary's legs to be very attractive and doable. I have until morning to figure myself out.

Nathan, I dug around in my shop and found my first try at through mortises
in white oak. I suffered nasty scalloping, as shown here. (tried to embed pics here, but they are at bottom)

I found that sharpening of both the hollow chisel and auger bit is crucial.
But, for me, the solution was to NOT leave a gap to drop the bit relative to chisel tip.
That advice is everywhere, but proved to harm, not help my efforts. If the bit extends too far,
it can engage the stock too soon... and also be horsed around from side to side.
Merely seating the auger bit and chisel fully, solved it for me. (!?)

I was honing the outside chisel flats on my waterstones, but that is wet
and messy. I now do the same with folding diamond hones from LV,
in 600x and 1200x. Quick, dry and tidy---but bonus, I can do it while the chisel is mounted in the mortiser. (link to LV diamond hone)

Inside the chisel I tune up with the fine and coarse cones as shown.
GZ's drillpress rig looks slick. I get by with softwood faces on vise to hold
her steady, and cones slowly in a VSR drill. Back to diamond to remove wire edge.

I use the auger file to deburr chip ejection port. It only cuts either on face, or edge---but not both at once, so no collateral damage!
The auger I also file the cutting flute, the scoring bevel and clean the points. I learned to hand sharpen twist drills on bench grinder in machine
shop as a kid. I am timid to power grind the auger, and find the hand file
works fine and not too aggressively. (your mileage may vary)

I am gonna try to get into my shop before my busy day, to beat the heat and get some bonus time to start building my chair.
In the original invitation post I had projected a July start.
If I can get something cooking in some very early mornings, I should be able to have my legs done just before July ends. (sneaking under the wire)
I will post any progress,

Walt Caza
07-31-2008, 9:17 PM
Hi Everyone,
I was in my shop darn early and finally got started. I was hoping to begin in July...
but never bargained for July 31st! (whew, just squeaked by)

I decided to try Gary's thin veneer approach. The legs he posted here look great.
I was planning to resaw veneers by bandsaw, but GZ steered me toward tablesaw.
First, I had to whip up a quick and tight zero clearance solution. (link)

From each 5/4" blank I was able to get 4 good sheets. The blank was jointed after
each slice to provide one glue-ready side per sheet.
My caps are 2 and 3/8" wide, giving lots of grace for glueing to leg cores.
I am not yet sure how I will trim them flush(?), but I have lots of ideas!

pics are:
-rough lumber for otto leg cores, and choice veneers to right---
then chair leg cores and choice veneers to right

-4 leg cores plus a spare (used up some light sapwood, for storystick and tests)

-I planned out which faces go where on chair, and marked with triangle

-the blank and 4 homemade veneers, slip matched and 3/32" thick
(interesting how rays show or not by changing light and position)

-Gary told me by pm, 'use lots of clamps, lots'. I'd like to think I did!
(I hope he finds this amusing...)

Thanks to GZ for helpful tips on his leg approach. I enjoyed how he told me that
he learned to match grain across spindles from me.
Now I am learning his leg technique, and see value added again.
Sharing this project is working out great!
be well,

Walt Caza
08-02-2008, 6:23 AM
Hi All,
I was able to get 4 chair legs plus a spare glued up.
Also 4 ottoman legs plus a spare. The spare will be used as storyboard
and also set-up and test cuts. There is nothing like a scrap of the exact
same dimensions for centering mortises. Also for re-checking layout
before committing on actual parts.

Once you have selected what grain you want to put where,
you wanna avoid scrapping anything.
My veneers were mounted so adjacent leg faces will match.
The spare could be used as a backup leg, in case of trouble...
but that would eliminate my matched leg faces.

With 3 long and deep mortises right through each hardwood leg,
there is always a chance you may end up with tear-out.
The spares were made from less appealling light sapwood, which was
just gonna clog my shop with more scraps.
Among the long list of shop dangers, there is also the risk you may
drown in off-cuts!

Now I need to trim the caps to the legs and clean them up.
And last crosscut the sets to final length.
take care,

gary Zimmel
08-02-2008, 9:57 AM

Now thats a lot of clamps... Who said we can have too many!

gary Zimmel
08-03-2008, 12:06 AM
Good Day to the Creek!

Here are a few more pieces to my ottoman puzzle.

93870 93871

These are the rails and strechers for one of the ottomans, legs are done, and side slats ready to be stained.


Next will be to put the grooves in the rails and clean up the machine marks on the edges with a hand plane.With a little luck I will be able to post a pic of a side all put together at the end of the weekend. It's a long weekend up here for us so I will have an extra day for a little extra shop time. Will keep my fingers crossed...

gary Zimmel
08-03-2008, 6:11 PM
As I get closer to putting the first side together I took the time to start making the fillers that go between the slats.

I have alterd from the plan just a bit and have desided to put 1/8" chamfers on the filler pieces.


Because the pieces are so small I find it easier and safer to do these by hand. I first shoot one end to make sure that I have a perfect edge.

93942 93944

Instead of measuring each one of the pieces, I just set my titemark to 1 1/4" and scribe a line.


gary Zimmel
08-03-2008, 6:21 PM
A quick cut and a little clean up and on to the next one.

93946 93947

Quick and easy. And above all safe. I don't like getting my fingers that close to the flesh eating blades.


The end fillers will be custom fit when the side is together.

Dewey Torres
08-04-2008, 2:09 AM
Walt and Gary,
Canada seems to be leading the way. I hope I won't disappoint.

Progress continues with the landscape. We are waiting on the sprinkler install to get the sod in and the remainder of the landscape material. On of the things I had to do anyway was a garden cubby which cured my jones for some woodworking. Nothing special as it is meant to look rustic.

The whole time I work on it though, the stack of QSWO haunted me. I truly can't way to get started. I may go ahead and start the surfacing work when the wife isn't looking this week.

I am the only one that is behind? There are quite a few of us in he build but I regularly see posts from Nathan, Gary, and Walt. I will be glad if I am not the only one who has a setback right out of the starting gate:rolleyes:

Walt Caza
08-07-2008, 9:25 AM
Good Day to the Creek,
Now that this thread is growing larger, it has become unwieldy.
To view the posts in chronological order, may we suggest using the
Linear display mode...

To do this, select any Creek thread. Now, in the upper right-hand corner,
on the 7th line down, you will see display options.
This allows you to switch between the 3 possibilities.
To avoid buried posts, and shuffled order... simply select Linear display mode.

You can also select it as your default under your User CP.
I also like to set it to view the freshest posts first, so I do not have to
navigate through older posts.
This will put the buried posts issue to rest. (link to Lumberyard thread)

Walt Caza
08-07-2008, 9:59 AM
Hello All,
The demands and distractions of summer are competing for our time and energy.
I found some shop time and started working on my slats.
The side frames are the most complex assemblies of our Morris chair.
Anytime I have parts, captured by other parts, I do them first.
Otherwise, trying to precisely fit them in between later is tricky.
To remember this, I call it working into 'the pinch'.
[and avoid it] DAMHIKT!

Also, I am a tenons first man. This is accomplished by making a keeper sample block
with a long mortise of the desired width. (determined by hm chisel)
I bring the sample mortise block to the tablesaw to determine correct tenon width for my hollow mortiser chisel.
I keep these blocks with my mortiser for future work.

The old hands often say to use actual pcs for layout, over measuring, where possible.
Having the actual tenons on an actual rail, makes layout of the mortise
length and postion quick and accurate.

So, to build my side frames, I first need slats and rails with tenons.
Gary and I have decided to first try increasing all slats to 1/2" thickness.
Also, the side slats we are starting wider at 1.5 inches, while keeping the
wide center slat at 4.25".

I was hoping to get a pleasing match for my highly visible side slat galleries.

pics are:
-started with a 4 foot slab of oak with promising grain
-note the vertical endgrain indicates Quartersawn
-jointing (for bandsaw resaw) revealed ray fleck
My attempts to Z match, as I referred to much earlier in this thread.
The pencil letters indicate bookmatches. (they were touching in board)
As you can see in the pics:
-The A bookmatch is barely ok, and the back of the center, is bookmatched
to B.
-The B bookmatch is also unappealling, the back of the center matches A.

I took 3 blanks of 16" from slab, and resawed into 5/8" thick pcs,
jointing one side each time to go against bandsaw fence.
While I am glad I tried, I will not be using these for chair.
I will make a box with them later, or drawer.
(spendy lesson, but how else can we get them?)


Walt Caza
08-07-2008, 10:13 AM
Hopefully, half inch thick slats will prove more stable over time.
I next decided to resaw some 5/4" oak for my slats.
The actual rough stock was 1 plus 3/8".
Jointing, and bandsaw resawing yielded a 5/8" bookmatched pair.

But not enough oak to make the slat gallery.
The center slat is 4.25" wide, and is flanked on both sides by
3 slats of 1.5". (plans called for 1.25, but trying wider first)

So I needed net 4.25 +4.5 +4.5 =13.25 of total slat width.

Since my Z match attempt, and triple slip match effort were ugly,
I tried a pair of 5/4" blanks taken as neighbours out of board.
Also, to make near-match less conspicuous, I was seeking toned down

pics are:
-the 3pc slip match from 8/4" board (no good)
-those 3 triples had a split fault, and I pulled them apart by hand
-the 5/4" resaw looked ok
-slat gallery cooperates nicely (neighbour grain match?)
-14 side slats - stacked and stickered

So, pretty grain on the surface of thick stock is no clue to what lies beneath.
And 5/8" layers are too far apart to provide enough grain similarities to be called a match.
If you wanna make an omelet, ya gotta break some eggs.

And lastly, resawn neighbour blanks solved my seeking.

gary Zimmel
08-07-2008, 10:55 AM

With the amount of wood the two of us are "setting aside" we will be able to build one more chair....

Slats are looking good. Thanks for the post.

gary Zimmel
08-08-2008, 7:52 PM
Good Day to the Creek!

Well it is finally comming together. It's closing in on one month from my start date to getting to putting a side together. All in all I am pretty happy on how everything is shaping up.

Here are some shots of the first side that is together. These little things are real chunky. The slats were made from a single piece so we have grain match. (thanks Walt)

94361 94362

94363 94364

As the side was going together the LOML said she wanted some buttons, so there are a few buttons that were added. Jury is still out for me, but she likes them and thats all that counts. Happy spouses mean more tools... I pre stained the slats so final staining will be a tad easier. (don't have to watch for runs on the slat cut outs)

Just a few more steps and the ottomans will be ready for staining.

Hope everyone at the Creek has a great weekend and a little shop time!

Walt Caza
08-11-2008, 8:29 PM
Hi Everyone,
I got some shop time last weekend, and now have the legs, slats, rails and
stretchers I require for my tenons first approach to building side frames.

My lumber included a pair of brutal bananas. This 9 foot banana had a 2.5 inch crook.
I did not have my camera, but the one I took my stretchers from, had more than a 4" crook!
My neighbour complained that I 'got ripped off', but I knew better...

I put the wicked crooked board under the sun, where it just barely revealed some fantastic grain.
I chose a pair of 3 foot sections for my chair front and back stretchers.
I drew pencil lines along the rays to help spot them under the rough, helping me find center of my prized pattern.
I had to bandsaw some grain correction.

The resulting sunburst pattern might look good in my finished chair. (fingers crossed)
It is difficult to decide which of the pair will become front stretcher. (?)
(tempting to wipe some stain on them for a sneak preview)

I am surprised we do not hear more complaining about sawdust.
Since I had just emptied my cyclone, I opened up the loft, blasted my
big push/pull fans and dressed the stock so far, just letting the chips fly.
I find the floor quick and easy to clear of these piles.
From an empty garbage can, I stuffed 2 garbage bags chock full from the
jointer (ribbons), and 2 more from the planer (Byrd turds).
94578 94579

I prefer to start my next workshop session with a clean, safe floor.
I do not always have the energy and motivation to pull it off, though!


Walt Caza
08-11-2008, 8:53 PM
As I said, to make tenons before mortises, you need to make and keep a
sample block for each of your mortise chisels, including hollow chisels for mortiser.
This block has 1/2" and 3/8" mortises for comparison.
My pet sanding block has a slit to receive a full sheet of sandpaper.

Then you make all the related parts, and tenon them too.
Tenon thickness is checked against the sample of an actual mortise.
The clamped corner had some grain open a gap, I hope it holds closed,
because my parts are chosen to match.

I have a General tenon jig for the tablesaw. However, I have grown fond of
using my crosscut sled, and a stop block for tenons.
The blade exposure was very small on this operation. (less risk)
If my machining is careful, I do not bring out my shoulder plane.
As you can see, I buy the spendy toys, but get great mileage from homemade shop helpers too!

While it is not nearly as slick as Gary's hotdog grip LN miter plane on a shooting board,
I clean up my tenons with homemade 80grit sandpaper glued to strips,
and a simple benchhook. Any machine then serves as my bench...
I promised myself no more projects, until I build a proper bench...(ya right)

Now I have all the needed parts for my side frames. Next shop time,
I will layout my mortises with the actual parts and tenons.
The yellow dot shows where I left the tenon wide to poke thru to the front.
(more balanced than original plans, which accomodate slat groove by offsetting the tenon)
The back cannot be similarly modified, due to the stretcher position.
The back stretcher sits lower, due to seat slant.

This is my first attempt to embed pics into the text.
After I get a look at how it comes out, I will decide if I will embed pics in the future.
Thanks to GZ for the embedding lesson.
And thanks for looking,

Glenn Clabo
08-12-2008, 7:17 AM
"and 2 more from the planer (Byrd turds)."
Ya kill me man...I have to clean coffee off my moniter now.

Dewey Torres
08-12-2008, 12:29 PM
Well folks,
I really am not stalling but this weekend I have the landscape project down to the shed, one tree ring, and a walkway leading to the shed. The sod is not in but that is because I can't get a watering permit until 2 Sept. No problem though because once I get the other things done I am headed for the shop. The sod will only take 2 hours tops anyway. I am really getting close now thank goodness.
On top of it all I can't take pics right now.:( The LOML put a new SD card into the camera and now it won't read any of the cards. It says, memory card is full, and goes to internal memory It is a Kodak easy share if any of you have ideas on how to fix it I am all ears.

gary Zimmel
08-14-2008, 12:15 AM
Good Day to the Creek!

Well it looks like the first phase of my project is just about
in the bag.

The slats for the bottom were made and then hand fitted between
the rails. Used my trusty # 9 again to clean up to the scribed
line and made up some spacer blocks to speed up the layout.

94710 94711

As so we have them. Two little chunky monkies! All together
and ready to go to the finishing room. When they are stained
I will be able to use one to get the hides in a color that will be
to my our liking.


Better day light pictures are on the way. However I couldn't
resist putting this up. I figured it would take me one month
to get the two to this stage. So being one day early is a real bonus.
For some reason I think the chairs will take a lot longer.

You got to love it when a plan comes together!

Walt Caza
08-15-2008, 6:47 AM
Good Day to the Creek,
I will be away for the weekend, but found time to start my mortises.
The original plans called for slats mounted into a full length groove,
with fillers blocks in between slats. I preferred to use traditional mortise and tenon.

Another change from plan, rather than 1.25" wide slats, I used 1.5" wide slats. (also 1/2"thick, not 3/8" as plans)
The rails were clamped together, and starting with the wide center slat,
I shifted the slim slats around until they felt right. (?)
Yes, those are my toes...

I only mark the outside width of slats onto the top board. This leaves less
lines on the other 3 rails, and less confusion.
I have taken to putting x's between cutlines, also to minimize confusion.
One bad poke, and I waste spendy oak. Which would send me back to
dressing rough stock, and also screw up my handpicked grain pairings.
I am a true wood hound, and get attached to the grain I am working.
I really don't wanna scrap anything.

Having the actual tenons machined first, allows me to layout specific mortises.
I aim to split my pencil lines, to determine mortise length.
My slat thickness fit the mortises with just a few swipes of my sanding sticks.
I can't wait until the slats are glued, and I no longer have to keep track of the order!

I cut the tenons with a triple chip combo sawblade, leaving unclean corners.
I would trade my entire kingdom for a crosscut blade with flat teeth like a rip blade. (I hear Forest just put one out!)
I sat down at my bench hook with a 20degree paring chisel and chased around
those tenon at shoulder crotches so they would seat all the way, nice to the rails.

Now that the slats are into the rails, I will pin the unglued assembly with a
pair of clamps. Then, next shop session, I can layout the leg mortises to let in the rail tenons.
This makes slat length moot, rather than if leg mortises were cut by tape measure before tenons.
My 1" paring chisel was just a 25degree primary bevel, reground to 20.
Takes a while that first time, but edge tune-ups are quick for the rest of my days.
Again, yellow dots show my modified wider tenons which will poke through
the front legs of the chair.

As for the center slat cutout: wifey votes no, I vote no, group continuity votes yes. Undecided.....

I fear the forecast is gonna keep me out of the loft shop next week.
Another sticky, sweltering heatwave is on the way.
Next session, I tackle leg mortises.

I also need to build myself a shop 'thinking' stool.
(no, I already have a porcelain one)
I mean a wood one to use for scribbling notes at my outfeed table/workbench-uggh---and eating sandwiches!
take it easy,

John Dodson
08-15-2008, 11:45 AM
Gary and Walt, your projects look great. I'm glad at least a couple of the group had time to get started! I'm personally swamped with either being out of town or other projects, mainly a bathroom project (have you noticed that spouses don't have much patience for the lackadaisical approach to remodeling the main bathroom?). Hope to join you, but it may be awhile.

Walt, an aesthetic choice, but I vote for no cutout. An ebony or other wood inlay might look elegant, but the chair proportions are so "manly man" that leaving it plain might be most appropriate as the cutout does not do much to lighten things up. In my opinion. :)

Thanks for posting the great pics.

gary Zimmel
08-16-2008, 8:08 AM
Good Morning to the Creek!

Here are a couple of more pics of an ottoman
all together and in a little better light. Maybe too
much. Ray flecks don't show up at all. Will have
get a few pointers from Glenn C.

94839 94840

94841 94842

At least with these pictures, I got one with the old wagon in our front yard.
And one of my loyal helper, Monty. He loves wood, as long as someone is throwing it.

Hope everyone at the Creek has a good weekend and
a little shop time...

gary Zimmel
08-19-2008, 9:25 PM
Good Day to the Creek!

Well the ottomans are done. Simple stain and a few
coats of hand wiped poly.

The veneers tuned out quite well. After staining they
are not very noticable at all. The tenons are faux.
Desided to do them this way at the last moment.
In hind sight they may of taken a little more work but
they also turned out as well as I could expect.

95085 95086

Walt and I were talking back and forth and wanted to
come up with something a little different for the end
of each finished chair or ottoman.
Here is what we came up with.....


Cheers! And now it's on to the two chairs.

Comments and critiques please...


Dewey Torres
08-19-2008, 10:41 PM
Man that came out great Gary. I love the finish!

Walt Caza
08-20-2008, 6:28 PM
Hi Creek,
I am seeking your input, should you be so kind...

The Morris chair side frames are connected by a front and a back stretcher.
The front stretcher will be highly visible. Cushions will mostly
conceal the seat and back. Besides the leg fronts and horizontal arm tops,
the front stretcher will be centerstage of the front view.

You may recall that I took my stretcher blanks from a gnarly board with
more than a 4 inch crook.
The rough 5/4" thick banana just barely dressed to 1 plus a 16th inch.
It yielded a pair of sun-ish grain patterns, which I had hoped would be
good for my stretchers. All this was posted earlier in this thread. yawn

This is another pic of the grain correction. Note the knots I tried to
remove. The front stretcher, but not the back stretcher will require
a 1/2" chamfer at the top, just in front of the seat.
If we choose this board as 'FRONT', cutting into those knots may complicate things?!?
This guy is bottom in all four other pics...

Here are the anemic and disappointing looking stretcher blanks on loft floor.
The patterns were better before the 6" wide blanks were ripped down to size. groan
The pattern centers are marked, that was how I determined the end cuts from rough stock.

Not easy to see, but I have layed out the 1/2" chamfer with pencil.
Even more of the desired grain lost, sigh...
Originally, there was a nice center and emanating waves. ack

As I had thought-out-loud in an earlier post, I wiped the faces with
mineral spirits for a sneak preview of the remnants of my sunrays. uggh

The spirits were flying drying, but I also took a snapshot under the sun.
I still have not decided if I will mute the ray fleck, or pop it when
finishing my chair and ottoman. (I'm just surfing this adventure!)

So, the question is:
Which stretcher to become the FRONT of my chair?
The top one has a big thumb print ray on the lower left.
The bottom one has a more defined center and flanks.
I regret that these patterns were much more like I wanted when wider. shucks
They are all cut up to ribbons now, a shadow of their former glory.
Lesson learned---keep in mind the finished part size, before you grow attached to grain.

I meant this to be a poll question, but I guess I don't know how to make it so...
*****OK, I now know a poll must be in a new thread only*****
So, look for this poll as a seperate thread, sorry! (in the project forum)
If you need to search for it, the thread is titled 'help me pick a chair front'. whew

*****added link to stretcher poll: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=90630


Dewey Torres
08-20-2008, 9:41 PM
Sorry folks but I have been training for this race since March. I hope to finish the landscape by Labor Day.


Some good news... I got my camera working again! Stand by for more of the usual Dewey "pics" flavor!

Walt Caza
08-21-2008, 4:54 AM
Hello All,
Last we saw my chair legs, they were capped with 3/32" thin veneers.
I decided to flush trim them at the router table, along a guide bearing.
The notched fence is more guard than guide.
95161 95162

The little barebones router table I posted a while back, is hard at work again.
(link to router table thread) http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=87977
From my loft shop ..... a trim with a view. I was taller than this maple a while back!
95163 95164

I licked 1/32" off the leg caps at the jointer, leaving true 1/16" veneers.
Gary's 4pc leg method is looking real nice. Thanks GZ!

Walt Caza
08-21-2008, 5:10 AM
To take my chair slats down to 1/2" thickness, I made a basic planer sled.
Just 3/4" MDF, plus a 3/8" fence glued on --- no metal screws.
The trick is remembering to feed the fence into planer first!
My Byrd head dressed down each set of 7 slats together.
95166 95167

As I machined tenons at the tablesaw, on my homemade but spot-on accurate
cross-cut sled, splits opened up--before my eyes!
End splits, as well as edge splits in the quarter sawn oak.
95168 95169

It is not often we see nor hear of woodworking problems and difficulties.
To me, that is probably the biggest part of it!
I spend most of my shop time overcoming challenges, and trying to stay safe.
I made a good effort at closing up the splits, with mixed success.

Forget glossy magazines and slick tv productions---
to me this is real woodworking. It's where the wheel meets the road...

Next I get some shop time, I start poking mortises in those legs.
Wow, over 10000 views of this thread, Thanks for your support!
and Thanks for looking,

ps I gotta try and quit these 5am postings!

David Fortin
08-21-2008, 10:35 AM
Good Morning,

My name is David Fortin this is my Morris Chair story and I’m sticking to it.
We needed a new chair for the family room so my wife and I ordered a contemporary leather recliner with ottoman (didn’t want the ottoman but had no choice) at our local department store. Upon reflection after seeing a wood recliner with leather cushions, she suggested that I could build a nicer chair than what we had ordered. A quick trip to the internet showed that the new object of our affection was a version of the Morris Chair. We cancelled the department store order and ordered several Morris Chair Plans on the internet (including the Wood Magazine Plans used in the Great Morris Chair Build). We chose the original Stickley Drawings from www.craftsmanplans.com (http://www.craftsmanplans.com/) which are not plans at all but good quality drawings (that’s all they claim to be). We thought the 100 year old design had a more contemporary look and there was an undeniable appeal of using “real “ Stickley drawings. I joined Sawmill Creek because I thought I might get some help or ideas on my project and lo and behold found the Group Build. I did not join the G B because I was using a substantially different plan and my wife tells me I don’t play well with others. None-the-less the chair is just about done (I had some free time and need a place to sit for the football season) and I thought I should share it since I have been lurking around the The Creek since early July.

A few notes:

I followed the drawings except the seat is 1” higher in front, 2” higher in rear and 1” wider. I did not notice that the arms had a ½” taper until it was too late. I’m thinking no pegs in the legs at this point.

The legs are 6/4 QSWO planed and glued together. No veneers. Side grain exposed.

I built a form that had the arms rest on the tops of duplicate legs so the angles would be correct. This was a little unwieldy but worked ok. It went faster when I drilled out the center of the mortise and let the mortiser deal with the edges.

Through tenons in arms are buttons with 1/8” “tenons” to fit in the mortises and glued to the top of the “real” tenons. I tried to make true through tenons but only one was marginally acceptable. If I make another, I’ll use buttons again without hesitation. They relieve more stress than Happy Hour.

The arms and back slats are bent laminations not steam bent. 3 pieces of 3/8” white oak will bend around a 72” radius form, but not happily. Eat your Wheaties on “Arm Bending Day”. I used powdered veneer glue and not carpenters glue. There was some slight spring back but no creep to this point.

The side rails each required 6 separate table saw settings to cut the angled tenons. Because of the size 1 1/8 “x 5 ½ I was most comfortable keeping the rails flat on the table saw. I would almost certainly use loose tenons next time.

For reasons I still don’t understand I used regular white oak for the back slats. It seemed like a good idea on the way to the white oak store. The chair will have its back to a wall and a cushion will cover the front, so any purists that come over won’t be offended. I don’t actually know any purists so I’m not worried.

Overall, it came out pretty well. It was far more difficult to build than I thought just looking at the drawings (you really need to study them carefully), but was worthwhile. It really made me appreciate the work the Stickely artisans did one hundred years ago without the benefit of modern tools. We decided it is “leather worthy” and will publish a pic when it comes back from the upholsterer. Good luck to the Group Build. We visited a newly opened Stickley Store locally and a similar chair was on sale for $2300.

David Fortin

Walt Caza
08-21-2008, 11:51 AM
Whoa David!
For starters welcome to the Creek!
Maybe I just have Olympic fever, but you seem to have hit the new-member Trifecta.
-great story
-humour (in Canada we like to add u's everywhere)
-shop pics

It doesn't get any better than that...
Yes, us A&C hounds were also drawn in by the appeal of the Stickley boys.
Gus was king of making and marketing Willy Morris' chair.
One day I am gonna make time to blog Morris properly.
Just sooo much info on him...tricky to get it done.

In case you missed it, you would have been welcome to build a different plan
than the group chair. Craftsman plans books were written by a guy whose work
in this area I am crazy about... fellow Creeker Bob Lang (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/member.php?u=972)
As I stated earlier, the group build rules are.....there are No Rules!

You may have built your chair solo, but modifying the plans, figuring out ww'ing is tricky
and using fancy glue proves you are one of us.
Don't worry about scrutiny from purists, they showed up in my driveway.....
but I sent them to Gary's place in Edmonton!

Besides, your chair looks great, and is leather-worthy indeed!
Gonna be sweet for your football season.

***Bonus marks awarded for reaching enlightenment.***
The great woodworking hobbiest paradox is thus:

Our partners often entangle us in more wood projects.
Pleasing partners with handmade stuff built with love always justifies
more and better tools and machines, so you can build them more and
better stuff. We never say this out loud.....and they never seem to raise objection.
Bravo grasshopper, you have grown very wise!
***Shhhh...mums the word on our Big Secret***

Oh, something you can mention to your wife...
'us' others really like the way you chose to play with us!
Welcome aboard,
good to have you on the team,

ps Anyone who posts pics of a Morris-type chair built by their own hands
to this thread, will be recognized with Honourary Group Build member status.

Walt Caza
08-22-2008, 6:51 AM
Good Day to you,
The original Wood Mag. plans call for the side frames to be dry assembled
without glue. This is a test fit, and also facilitates taking it apart to cut the top arch to accept bow arms.
I would have preferred to glue the side slats into the upper and lower rails at this point.
But fear of the rail ends not lining up perfectly when subsequently assembled to leg, I dry clamped
the slats between the rails to treat them as a single piece. This will help accurate layout of the
tenons I have, into the mortises I need to poke.

I used the top of the legs as my reference point to align the top of the upper rail.
Back in my machine shop days as a kid, we called that datum on blueprints.
Any oak sanded away, to flush the leg top to rail top, would be lost from the overall height of the chair.
95250 95251

Working with tops down against the tablesaw as reference surface, I laid out
the mortises with my big single piece. I'm pretty new at traditional mortise and tenon.
But I know that is how all parts must fit at final assembly.
95252 95253

Important to remember to poke the through mortises from the most visible side.
The untidy exit mortise will be concealed when butting up the rails.
I bring the actual cleaned-up tenon right to the mortiser, to determine length.
I make it almost fit, leaving forgiveness for later hand-tuning.
Paraffin drips from mortiser chisel will be sanded away at mortise cleanup.


Walt Caza
08-22-2008, 7:15 AM
The blind mortises seem forgiving after you wrestle with the throughs!
My pet 'stop' is temporarily clamped on to help flush the tops.
The leg must be slid home on both tenons while flush to the tops.
95256 95257

I aim to build my tenons so that they will slide home with light mallet taps,
and not fall out if inverted. (If dry winter shrinks them, I want to start big as possible)
Fitting all four sides at once can be time consuming and joy-murdering.
Having done a few, I figured out that fitting is best broken down into stages.
I fit the thickness into the mortise, but the tenon is still too wide to enter.
I have taken to tucking the tenon in diagonally as fit test.
Next the width is fit, with tenon tilted off axis---thus taking it's thickness out of the equation,
so we can get some work done.
95258 95259

As you sneak up on a sweet fit, both thickness and width must slide in at once,
as well as both tenons at once.

***my shiny new strategy***
Last time I built an m&t frame, I got struck with a bolt of insight.
Machining the blind tenons the same length as the through tenons would
be very helpful.
This keeps the crucial shoulder to shoulder length identical.
Such as when pinched between the legs at final assembly.
I struggled in the past to achieve that...due to different rail lengths.

Also, it really helps layout and fitting to have both tenons the same length.
The through tenon needs to be longer than the blind tenon.
This causes the finished rails to be different lengths.
If they are cut to those different lengths before machining the tenons,
you will have your hands full.....
and good luck making exact shoulder to shoulder fit.


Walt Caza
08-22-2008, 7:29 AM
So, I make both rails the longer length, as required for the longer through tenon.
This lets me butt up the leg nice and square to the tenon ends for layout.
After test fitting, the blind tenons are cut short enough to depth of blind mortises.

This is a small sacrifice of material, for an easier, quicker and more accurate fitting.
You want to end up with identical shoulder to shoulder lengths.
This is my personal solution. Surely old pros must know and do this? (there is nothing new under the sun)
Especially true of an ancient craft like ours... (why didn't someone or somebook tell ME?!?)
did you know the ancient Egyptians used mortise and tenons?!?
95261 95262

Now our 'single pc' sides are let-in to the legs, with flush tops.
edit* I notice this pic is out of sequence, as blind tenons still long! haha*
[oops-I was juggling a pile of pics]

The top rail with blind tenons.
and the bottom rail with through tenons.
95264 95265
The mortise appears too long for the through tenon, but that is an illusion
of perspective.....it is actually a press fit.


Walt Caza
08-22-2008, 7:39 AM
So, I gently clamped my side dry fit to see where I'm at...
(the double clamps pull nice and straight, but gently!)

Tenon poking through the back of the back leg.
And a wider tenon, with a mysterious yellow dot poking through the front of the front leg.
(You may recall I modified the front wider than plans...for better balance)
95267 95268

Dry fitted, but unclamped, this is chair backside.
The tenon ends will be chamfered by 1/8" later...

After another shop session, I end up with a pair of dry fitted side frames.
These will be taken apart to let in the stretcher tenons next time.

Sorry for long-talking, but I wanted to offer what I stumbled to learn,
for anyone who might wanna fasttrack their own lessons.
I feel I am very early in my woodworking journey.
If you're still with me, thanks!
be well,

gary Zimmel
08-23-2008, 7:23 AM
Good Day to the Creek!

So the second phase of my project is now under way.

Spent the last few nights milling most of the pieces
for my 2 chairs. The legs were already done, so that
was a bonus. Here is a quick pic of the rails, strechers,
legs, side slats, and the slats for the seat and back.


Like Walts chair, mine will have side and back slats
that are 1/2" thick instead of the 3/8" as the plan calls for.

Hope everyone at the Creek has a good weekend
and a little shop time.


gary Zimmel
08-24-2008, 8:31 AM
Good Day to the Creek.

Found a little shop time yesterday and was
able to make the form to bend the arms.

All in all quite straight forward.
I cut 8 pieces of MDF to size and marked
the arc with the help of a asymmetric drawing bow from LV.
This first one will be the template to cut the rest.


A little work with the bandsaw and spindle sander and
we have our template.

95393 95394

The rest of the pieces were cut close to size.
Then my template is then screwed to it and the router gives
me an exact replica.


A few screws to hold everything together and my form is done.


Hope everyone had a good weekend!


Brandon Wichmann
08-24-2008, 5:08 PM
Hello all,

My name is Brandon and I first came to this website when I was looking for some guidance at the tail end of my Morris chair project. When I searched your site, I came across this project thread. what a great idea! I wish I had worked on this project with a group for all the same reasons that I'm sure you all are enjoying it!

Well, it was too late to chime in for me, but I figured that I would share my chair with you all once I got done. I used the American Furniture company plans (basically a stickley reproduction) for my chair. I stuck to the plans with a few slight modifications. (less radius in bow arms, straight back slats, and my rear corbels are just a bit longer than the front to try to match the curve in the arms and the 4 degree slant in the chair bottom). I also used the lock miter bit method in making the legs. The finish I used was basically the recipe on Jeff Jewitt's Homestead finishing webpage for Stickley reproductions.

I couldn't be happier with the chair! It's been home for 4 days and I've already have one preseason football game, one nap, and about 4 hours of reading in it!

Here are a few pictures, and if there is any way I might be able to help share my experiences to help any of you, please let me know!

Walt Caza
08-25-2008, 10:35 AM
Good Day to the Creek,
I noticed and wanted to applaud newcomer David Fortin for not just
becoming a member, but also a financial Contributor to our Creek.
Even with the new ads, those who receive value from our forum should
consider contributing money to keep it going. Lots of great new features too!
Thanks for your consideration.

The group build is just starting to find it's stride. Some of our named builders are soon to begin.
Also, I have been speaking with a couple 'stealth' builders who are following along,
and quietly building their own chairs.
One of whom is using a shed full of red oak, and promises to post here
as soon as he feels he has something worth showing.

(for myself, a pic of a board and a pencil is something I would want to see)shrugs
It is uplifting to have heard more than once, that they would not have started,
had it not been for this thread. Cool!

Gary and I are amazed to have had over 11000 views already.
Thanks for your interest and support.

Just a reminder for newcomers, it helps bring you into the fold if you plug
a little info into your personal profile. Let us know your birthday, location
and maybe a pic of yourself, (or a pet!). It's nice to get a sense of who it is you're talking to...
Bonus: you also get a Happy Birthday email from Sawmill Creek!!

Also, longer threads are best viewed in Linear display mode. This keep postings
listed in chronological order, and prevents shuffled posts, which we call 'buried'.
I explained this in an earlier post called 'solution to shuffled posts'.
It is also helpful to adjust your User CP to your liking.
Myself, I view the freshest postings first, so I do not have to scroll through old posts each time.

Lastly, to those following this thread: Please feel welcome to post comments
and questions you might have... chances are someone else also wants to know.
...And thanks for watching our story unfold!
be well,

Nathan Conner
08-25-2008, 10:36 AM
Hey, guys. I've been distracted for awhile. Thanks for the concerned emails - I think the last project update had me whining about how my mortises turned out.

I took a short break from the chairs - piled up all the materials and decided to take a swing at the shop - the worktables had been driving me batty for a couple of years - sagging, out of square, generally messy, and poorly organized. So, I put an ad on CL, got rid of ALL the tables and benches in one sitting, and started over from a gutted shop. I had a week vacation, and LOML was summer vacationing, so she spent a LOT of time in the shop helping and lending emotional support. She went so far as to sit down with boxes and boxes of screws with a tape measure and organized them all by length/type/finish. :)

Anyhow, 28 sheets of plywood, 2 weeks and a gallon of Deft lacquer later, I have new Oak ply/Alder trimmed LARGE workbenches. Everything is now at 34 1/2" to match the height of the PM2000, even the mobile tables (that double as scrap storage). So, throwing a sheet of ply on the TS got easier and easier as I built things out. By the last two or three cuts, it was a breeze. Why didn't I think of this earlier?

The sticking point was that I designed the drop (4 7/16", of course!) for the Makita LS 1012 CSMS with a couple of inches on each side for clearance. Then, when I got the 20' of lowers built and got the saw mounted, flushed, level, I noticed a teensy issue - it had enough clearance to go to ALMOST 10 degrees either way. (*sigh*)

So, instead of tearing out the saw and the cabinet, I thought, "Self, this shouldn't be too hard" and raised the saw to countertop level, made 6 marks at the various 48 degree marks, sliding all directions, and got to cutting. It was WAY more work than I thought, getting all those compound angles and inside 45s cut and trimmed and sanded and plumb was a lot of work. And now the cabinet looks like a Frank Lloyd Wright creation near the miter saw. But it's functional, and finished.

Anyhow, a new workspace, and completely reorganized and cleaned out shop, and way more table top space to work let me get a fresh look at the chairs, and gave me some time to think about new angles as I finished this big project off.

Got to working last night on side slats, spacers, and got 4 sides dry-fit! Note that I'm going with slats/spacers all the way down the side instead of the center piece with the cutout. I like the look better this way.

Then got the jig/form made for the arms. I took a sightly different tack than Gary. I cut 7 pieces of 3/4" MDF at 36" x 6", screwed them each together from opposing sides after clamping tightly and squaring, then drew the tracing on the face. Wrestled the whole block over to the band saw, and with one pass, had the whole thing done. Because it's a form, it didn't require any sanding, as I got a clean cut and went slowly. Heavy little beast, but I guess that's the point! Started to cut out the pattern for the arm shape, then realized I'd have to use 1/4" or something anyhow, as it needs to be flexible enough to bend on the curve. I may just stick with paper. Of course, the first pass with the Festool on the MDF left a nice clean cutline in one of the new mobile benches. (*facepalm*)

Anyhow, I'm back in the groove. Got lots of catch-up work to do, but hopefully over the next week or two I'll be where I should have been. Making this shop work for me has been a bit of a trial. but well worth it.

James Brown
08-25-2008, 1:22 PM
... I have been speaking with a couple 'stealth' builders who are following along,
and quietly building their own chairs.
One of whom is using a shed full of red oak, and promises to post here
as soon as he feels he has something worth showing....

Guess that was my cue ... My original plan was to follow along with this thread and keep my mouth shut in case I never finished the chair, but speaking up might keep me on track. Hello all!

So ... I'm working in red oak, even though my shedful is dwindling. I glued up my legs this weekend and am milling some lumber for the sides. I need a new BS blade before I resaw the pieces for the arms.

I had a question about a potential "gotcha" in the Wood magazine directions (which I'm following, more or less) ... how much springback should I expect from the laminated arms? And how much of a problem will it be? Would it make more sense to trim the sides up using the arms themselves as the template, rather than the mdf form?


David Fortin
08-25-2008, 3:13 PM
I used a different plan, and I think a little more severe bend to the arms. I bent the arms to a 72 inch radius at about 40 inches in length and had about 1/4 inch of spring back at each end. It was probably less when I trimmed them to 36 inch finished length. I used the finished arms as templates for the angles on the legs and it worked out fine.

Walt Caza
08-25-2008, 8:27 PM
Hi Everyone,
I want to formally welcome Brandon to the Creek, and also the Morris chair group.
You built a terrific Morris chair, made a great first post, and shared
a few pics with us to boot!
Threads are like an ongoing conversation, it is never too late to chime in.

How did you like making your lock miter legs?
Do you have any construction pics...we would love to see them.
Pleasing colour, any chance you want to lay out the basics,
for those not likely to dig up Jewitt's homepage?

Those are some beefy corbels! Attached by screws then plugs?
Care to share how you made your pivot and recline pegs?
Inquiring minds wanna know!

Sweet looking leg top tenons, do they really poke through the arms?
Or are they faux caps? Not that that would make them any lesser...

Do you find your 4 degree seat slant comfortable?
If you had it to do again, would you change that slant?
(some of us are discussing that very issue today!)

Your cushions look awesome...are you willing to tell us about them, too?

It is clear to me that you have nailed the chair trifecta:
-and naps

You have every right to be happy with, and proud of, your Morris chair.
Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
We hope you stick around the Creek, and share some more!
Good to have you on the team.

ps All these variations are the spice of our story!
pss Brandon, What are you working on next?!?

James Brown
08-25-2008, 9:43 PM
I used a different plan, and I think a little more severe bend to the arms. I bent the arms to a 72 inch radius at about 40 inches in length and had about 1/4 inch of spring back at each end. It was probably less when I trimmed them to 36 inch finished length. I used the finished arms as templates for the angles on the legs and it worked out fine.

Thanks, this is very helpful! I plan to use the actual arms as templates also, just to avoid having to persuade them.

Did you use three layers laminated, or more?

Brandon Wichmann
08-25-2008, 10:39 PM

Thanks for the complements and the warm welcome to your community. This project was an exciting one for sure, and I am happy to be able to share my experiences with you all.

About the lock miter legs - this was the second time I have done this. (first time was an arts and crafts clock with a tile inset which is very similar to a Schlaubauch clock design) I used a jig published in the Tauton Press book: In the Craftsman Style. The article in called "Stickley Style Legs by Patrick Nelson. If anybody is not familar with this method, contact me and I will try to help. I did this using my Rockwell shaper and even with this I ended up doing this in two passes! With one pass the White Oak just seemed to hard and tore out when I was cutting "into the grain". I ended up making these about 5 inches longer than necessary so that I could avoid using the ends. Even doing all of this, I ended using wood filler on the edges quite a bit as I had gaps. This filling seemed to work out fine and really can only be noticed by a fellow woodworker. I plugged both the ends about 3 inches deep after I glued them up.

The finishing process goes as follows:

1.) Sand to 180 grit
2.) Wet wood and sand the raised grain (with 220 grit)
3.) Apply transtint dye (2 parts golden brown/1 part mission brown diluted in water) - sand with grey scothbrite
4.) Wipe on one coat General Finishes Seal-A-Cell clear
5.) Wipe on General Finishes Antique Walnut Gel Stain
6.) Wipe on two coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Satin - sand between lightly with grey scothbrite
7.) Apply Antiquax Brown Wax

I did end up screwing the corbels to the legs and plugging them afterwards. Two screws for each one.

Now for the pivot and recline pegs - this was quite a chore! I don't have a lathe and decided to make these with the only tool that I had access to that made sense - A Powermatic belt and disk sander in our prototype shop at work! I made a blank and sanded them from there. This method worked, but talk about a tedious task! Two days of sanding during my lunch hour and they were done though.

The tenons on the legs do pass through the arms. The plans that I had just showed me how to make caps, but I really wanted to give this a shot. The tenons do have small gaps and some glue squeeze out visible, but I am happier that I went this route even though it would of looked alot cleaner with caps. I guess I've bought in (maybe a little too much) into all of the arts and crafts history mumbo jumbo about the return to honest craftsmanship I've read about. This whole process of making the thru tenons on the legs and mortises in the bow arms was quite an experience as I had no guidance and will gladly attempt to explain some (or all) of the steps if anyone else is going this route.

I originally was going to match the angle of the seat bottom to the angle of the bow arm at the rear leg (5 degrees), but I feared that this would be too much. I ended up going with 4 degrees and this seems good to me. I must confess that it doesn't seem like much of an angle when sitting in it, but if I compared it to a flat seat it probably would. The way the chair sits, I usually have a bit of a gap between by lower back (at the hips and just under) and the seatback, so I would imagine that a 5 or 6 degree seat wouldn't be too bad. If I remember right, the difference between the front and back of the seat bottom was 1 3/4". (seat length x tangent x degrees) - 25.5tan(4)

My leather was purchased at Weleather.com (recommended by somebody on this website!) Dark Honeywas my choice and wasn't my first choice but I was told to get at least 60 sq. feet of leather and this was the only hide I liked from them that came in a large enough size. I am very happy with the leather and got it for $300! The chair bottom is done in a 8-way tied coil spring instead of just foam. I knew this way is better, and I was afraid I'd regret not doing it. Because I chose this way, I had to make corner braces and a seat frame rather than a sheet of plywood for the seat bottom base. I supplied the plywood base for the ottoman and the frame for the seat bottom and the upholsterer charged $325 for the labor. I am satisfied with the job they did. I did get other quotes for about $600 and the job may have been top notch but I feel they did a B+ job for an A+ price!

I was also asked about the bow arms. My arms were sawn from an 8/4 board with a brand new blade on the bandsaw. I used a life size template that came with the plans. In the plans, I believe the arms were to start at the front legs already beginning to bow, but I made them perpendicular to front legs. The reason I think this is because the original Stickley chairs have a much more extreme bow than my chair. I didn't want this much bow, but did make one mistake. I didn't adjust the locations of the four holes in the arms for the adjustable seatback. I know that I will never use the first location, and probably will not use the second. If anyone desires, I can get the angle of my seatback in all four positions as a reference for you. One thing about the arms - they are 6 inches wide! at first I thought this would be a little much as they to look huge, but thet are great! - I can use one arm as a place to put my drink and the other as a place to put a book. You really don't need an end table with this chair. I am going to get a floor lamp instead. I think it will be the Quoizel Grove Park Inn light. (any thoughts?)

Unfortunately I didn't take pictures along my journey of making the chair and only have the finished product. I will take better pictures, or more detailed pictures and post them or email them if it can help anyone.

All my other projects (besides a log bed for my son) have been functional, but nothing I actually personally use and put my hands on and I must confess this project has reached a new level of satisfaction and I am excited for all of you to enjoy the same reaction with your chairs!

As for the next project - I guess I have to chose. The chair was one of many things needed to refurnish our living room. We are going down the arts and crafts/mission road for this and still need a couch, rocker, and table. For awhile though, I think I'll just come home, enjoy my family, and spend my quiet evenings in my Morris Chair!

Take care,

David Fortin
08-26-2008, 7:57 AM
3 layers each 3/8 inches thick. They will bend around a 72 inch radius form but require some persuading. I used Pro-Glue veneer bond dry resin (Woodcraft). Long open time and pot life, no creep.

Walt Caza
08-26-2008, 11:55 AM
Good Day Everyone,
After the latest heatwave, with humidty adjusted temps over 100degrees F,
I finally got a little shop time in the loft.
I was able to poke through the mortises to receive the stretcher tenons.
Earlier, I referred to making the tenons which poke thru the front of the front legs wider.
(indicated by those yellow dots)

The tenons which poke thru the back of the back legs could not be made wider.
The mortise criss-cross at the back leg is just 1/4 inch.
The mortise criss-cross at the front leg is 3.25".
This provides a 3" seat slant between the stretchers.
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So, my side frames are nearly done, fit but not glued.
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Fair warning: If you are gonna trim tenons down to length,
do not attempt this floating trapped projectile cut!

I snipped them nearly off, and finished with a couple strokes of my hand backsaw. (really, I did...)

Next time I hand fit the stretcher tenons into the legs...
Here is a link to a homemade tool I use to tune these m&t to fit. (link)
be well,

gary Zimmel
08-27-2008, 1:18 AM
Good Day to the Creek!

Welcome James to our little build..

And congrats to Brandon and David for a job well done on your chairs.

In one of Walts earlier posts he had ripped
some of his boards to get the grain staight.

As I was milling the parts to my chairs I had to do the same.
If the correction is quite big I will use my bandsaw.
However most of the time I will use my taper jig to make my adjustments.


Nice quick way to get a nice straight grain pattern.


gary Zimmel
08-28-2008, 12:07 AM
All of the mortises are in my legs for the chairs.
Not very hard set up as my mortiser was left ready to go for the legs.

I do my mortises and tenons opposite of Mr. Caza.
Mortises first and then tenons. 6 of one 1/2 dozen of the other.
As long as one is happy with the end result.

Another story stick and we were ready to go.
The holes for the plugs will be done after I do a test fit of everything.
The shoulders are all different depths so it will be easier
to mark the story stick for them then.



Now just a little clean up and we are ready for the rails and strechers...


Dewey Torres
08-28-2008, 12:35 AM
Nice progress guys. I just got back from my race. Love to see those tenons go together! Still have work left on the landscape but I am pressing to get much done this weekend.

Walt Caza
08-28-2008, 2:56 AM
Good Day to All Creekers,
Well, it's 3am and my body is tired, but my mind is off racing again.
So, I'm gonna type at ya. More... frustrated clacking, actually!

Congratulations to Dewey! On your 'amazing' race, and soon-to-be-behind-you
landscaping. If your fan inlay tutorial was any indication, we eagerly await
your Morris postings! Well done on all 3 counts.
Can I request a string inlay tutorial for down the road?

Wow Nathan, terrific shop redo. 28 sheets speaks volumes about your effort
and intent. You are in for a great payoff as you get back to work in your 'new' shop.
A tip of the hat to your wife...good to have her on your team!
Sometimes it helps a project more, to push it to the back burner and then come back fresh.

I hope that's the case with your Morris chair. Your slats are lookin' good.
I am glad you had the courage to post your obstacles. It would be easy to
keep quiet. But there is value in sharing the reality of our woodworking.
I encourage others to show and tell their own shop 'challenges'.

Yikes Nathan...please tell us that your sliding miter saw has a blade guard?!?
Do we need to pass the hat to raise a Makita guard fund to keep you intact?

A big welcome to James Brown. (insert your own 'wow-I feel good' joke here)
[ya, like you haven't heard that before...]
Glad to have you, and your red oak with us for the group build.
I did not mean to flush you out of the bushes so soon, but glad you decided to join us!
It takes guts to emerge from stealth..... now eyes are upon you!

I hope the team momentum and spirit keeps us all going to completion.
I believe alot more projects get started, than finished (pun) in this world.
I see you are already posting well thought-out questions.
Good to have you on the team, Jim. (that's how he signed himself in pm's)

Wow Brandon, I had the nerve to come at you with 10 questions, and you responded in spades!
Thorough and helpful answers shared for the benefit of our group builders, and story followers.
Aside to BW: it's our community, you are a part of 'us' now

Thanks David F., for responding with answers and experience from building
your own beautiful Morris chair. It's great to see you participating and
adding value to our thread. We look forward to seeing your chair wearing
wood finish and cushions. I have never been near a Stickley store...
any chance of getting us a couple of spy pics?

Ya know, you put an idea like this 'out there', not knowing how it might go.
It feels rewarding to see meaningful exchanges between members.
As I wrote in the original invitation post to start this thread:
only your participation can make this group project 'Great'.
Gary and I are pleased that things are shaping up nicely.
Good Show!

ps It's not how you start, it's how you finish...
We are determined to see this project bear fruit.
(I really made you hang in there until the end for the title tie-in, huh!)

Nathan Conner
08-29-2008, 8:42 AM
Wow Nathan, terrific shop redo. 28 sheets speaks volumes about your effort
and intent. You are in for a great payoff as you get back to work in your 'new' shop.

So far, it's been well worth it. It's a joy to go down to the shop and get work done, the miter saw station and the available workspace has been awesome! No more shuffling and moving pieces around just to find a clean place to work. Now I need MORE tables and benches!

Yikes Nathan...please tell us that your sliding miter saw has a blade guard?!?
Do we need to pass the hat to raise a Makita guard fund to keep you intact?

No hat-passing needed. I have the guard. It's in a Safeway bag, underneath the saw station. :O But I'm good. I took it off the first day I bought it, and have left it off since. No laser guide on it, so I eyeball everything, and with the guard on, it's more trouble than it's worth. So far. On the TS, I always leave the guard, riving knife and palls on. But maybe when I get this new measuring tape for the workbench to quick measure at the miter saw, I can put the guard back on and stop eyeballing all the cuts.

The chair! Still working when I have time. Got all the rest of the pieces cut up for the 4 sides. All the correctly-sized spacers (needed 16 oversized ones for the ends) and the rest of the slats (I was short a few because of the continuous slats) are all cut. I started working on fitting the shoulders of the mortise/tenons, and found that my chisels needed a good going over on the sharpener. Now that's done, I can go back over them and get a tighter fit. They look ok.

I got the first bent-laminate arm done. Well, mostly done. It needs a bit more cleanup, but it looks great! I need to plane a little more cleanly after the resaw and before I glue up, as the lamination lines were still visible in a couple of places. I planed, but not perfectly as I didn't want the arms too thin. I started with 6/4 pieces, and after the resawing and kerfs, I was left with exactly 4/4 after the glue-up. A little shy of the intended 1 1/8. As you can tell, the 4 clamps they show in the book weren't NEARLY enough. I had maybe 20 on there, and even that wasn't quite enough. It may be worth it (if I were to make more chairs) to make a mate for this form and clamp the pair of forms together around the laminations. The 3/8- was a little tough to bend and keep together. No problems adhering to the form lines, but a little tougher than I thought to keep the 3 pieces tightly together.

Also, on the arm, I used brown veneer cold-press glue that I usually use in the vacuum press. I've found it to be pretty hardy and hold up well. It held up fine, and we'll see how it lasts.

I was not willing to run the edge of the arm over the jointer with the glue in it, so I took after it with a hand plane, and I was surprised at how easily it cleaned up. After the squeeze out was taken off, I took a couple of passes over the planer to square up the sides, but in general, the hand plane was the way to go. Tracing and one pass through the bandsaw made the final shape, and it turned out great. I had, I would say, 0 springback. When I put it back on the form, it matches perfectly. I think I'll use the arms as they're done to trace the cutlines on the tops of the arms, for a better fit with less clamping required.

Anyhow, still in the game, no huge issues. Still wondering about the mortises, but I think I can clean them up so the fit is good enough for my eye.

Keep it up, everyone! I love seeing everyone's progress as it comes along.

Walt Caza
08-29-2008, 5:29 PM
Hi Everyone,
Well, after 28 days of building, I was able to have my first sit down in my chair.
Nearly a month of spare time gets me a dry fitted frame that supports me nicely,
without a hint of wobble, despite no glue. (snug mortises pay off)
I checked the feet for level on the tablesaw. Sitting pretty!
95791 95792

This is the left front leg. And a quick pine test seat.
So far, there are 40 mortises and 40 hand tuned tenons.
95793 95794

Gary had concerns about the 3" seat slope.
The real seat frame will sit lower down the stretchers, but I find the slant just fine.
Keen eyes may notice my purple router table fence serving me well, again.
(it also appeared in my barebones router table thread)

Thanks to all who voted in my pick a front stretcher poll.
It was a landslide! I have posted new 'wet' grain pics in that poll thread. (link)

Now it all comes apart to cut the top rails to receive the bow arms.
A long while ago I referred to that critical step as the Big Hurdle.
Too much time, effort and oak into it already, to scrap anything in the BH!
Better proceed with extreme caution...

Next post, I will make my arm bending form out of MDF.
be well,

Walt Caza
08-30-2008, 6:12 PM
I got some time in the shop and built my bow arm bending form.
I screwed together 7 layers of MDF.
The business depot wanted $5 per scan, and $6 per foot of big paper print out
to enlarge my template from paper plans. Forget that...
I wrestled with it on my own scanner and printer for more than an unfun hour. No joy.
Lee Valley had the drawing bow in my lap on the third day. (thanks for the idea GZ)
95860 95861

I left my blank wider than needed, to create a clamping caul, should I wish
that I had one later. The big block blank was nearly a half sheet, and thus heavy.
I considered building an aux. table for my bandsaw, but instead just
shoved it through, following the line carefully.
My actual cut is very smooth, but downsizing the pic caused it to look very jagged. (jpg)
95862 95863

Walt Caza
08-30-2008, 6:29 PM
I carefully laid out the layers of screws, so that both pieces would hold
together once seperated. I did not want to try to bandsaw any screws!
Here is the form, the plans, and the clamping caul.
See, despite that jagged pic, it really worked out very smooth!
95866 95867

Taking Nathan's suggestion that much clamping would be required,
I notched the form to receive parallel clamps.
As my first try at brute force bending, I used slower white glue, and ran
through a bit of a mental rehearsal. Doin' the shop hustle again...
95868 95869

I hope to resaw rough 8/4 QSW oak into 3 pcs that will be 3/8" thick after dressing.
Hopefully, the gluelines will be less visible because the layers came from the same board. (?)
You can see my clamp layout lines, necessary to notch the form bottom.

Next time...
I will try my hand at bent lamination.
My concerns going in are to get a no-gap glue-up, and hoping for minimal springback.
I plan to use the actual arms as templates to cut the side frames.
So, I did not make an extra mdf template to match the form.
take it easy,

Walt Caza
09-05-2008, 9:09 AM
Good Day,
Wow, labour day came fast! I had hoped for more shop time this summer,
but it just seemed to fly by... maybe you know how that is?

I resawed the 8/4" oak into 3 layers, jointing a good side between slices.
Dressed down to 3/8" thick, the 3 plys will yield the 1" plus 1/8" arm.
I leaned toward the heavy side with clamping. (tick tock)
96209 96210

I let this monster sit for 24 hours, with my fingers crossed.
The bow arm stayed tight to the form, down to the last few clamps.

My new worktable proved handy for spreading glue on the layers.

My first try at a 3pc bent lamination went ok. When placed back on the form,
nearly a 1/4" of springback is revealed. Zero gaps between plys.

After this effort, I did hours of research into bent laminations.
Old Creek posts, and the FWW archive proved insightful.

I learned that both yellow and white PVA glues can creep, both initially and
also over time. The glue remains flexible and can stretch.
Scouring my local hardware solutions revealed that glue is marketed without
identifying it's actual composition. Faster! Stronger! Yummy!
Silly marketing names aplenty...Sumo! Gorilla! Ultimate Bull!
Only the MSDS reveals what they are... a dismal joke really.

Lots of people say lots of things about glue. The polyurethanes foam, are messy and push layers apart.
Epoxy can be too quick, and does not like to be overly squeezed.
Titebond is good for bent laminations. Titebond is bad for bent laminations.
One part glues are inadequate for bent lams....on and on it goes.
You can read conflicting views all day long.

Ultimately, I decided I will next try UF glue. Either Unibond 800, Dap Weldwood,
or WoodCraft's own Pro Glue Resin Veneer Bond.
Unfortunately, none of these are available in Canada.
I killed an afternoon between the phone and computer to find that out.

I also learned that 3/8" is on the heavy side for bending. Between those thick plys, (pun warning)
and my white glue...it comes as no surprise that I got springback.
The wood fibers remember how they started, and aim to go back.
They even have a formula which predicts such things!
I could proceed with slightly-less-bent arms, or may try again.

I am stuck for now, needing to figure out how I will approach these arms...
how to build them, and how to attach them in a way that will last.
I may try thinner plys, and more appropriate glue for less springback.

Winter is a difficult time for me to apply wood finish.
I hope to push for more progress and wrap this up before then...
But as of now, I have stalled

Ben Davis
09-05-2008, 2:47 PM

I have been reading along over the past several weeks with keen interest. Good job(!) on keeping the thread going.

In terms of the lamination, I would like to share several comments.

(1) In terms of a clamping strategy, why not trace the desired shape of the arms into the original block of MDF, cut that out as well, and then have a perfect top and bottom bending form? As it is now, the top will not necessarily fit/match the bottom form due to the thickness of the lamination you're making. This would eliminate the need to notch your forms as you would have a perfectly co-linear top and bottom edges to the forms.

(2) 3/8" is thick! Since you're using QSWO, the tight linear grain patterns will be on the edges, right where you glue lines will be essentially hiding all of them! I think you could easily go to 1/8" or even 1/16" laminates and do just great. You will still get spring back, but that's life either way. It's just a matter of limiting it.

(3) You could likely get a more uniform clamping pressure by lining the MDF form with cork as well. Costly, I know, but it does make for a very nice fit. You can use clear packaging tape over the working side of the cork to protect it from glue squeeze out thus making the bending form much more re-useable.

(4) Was there consideration to making a single double width form and lamination and then bandsawing it in half to get matching arms? Seems like that would eliminate the need for duplicate work with possible discrepancies in the final outcome.

Looking great!!

David Fortin
09-05-2008, 3:45 PM
Walt, I had the same problem with 3/8 inch thick laminations and springback but as long as both arms spring back the same amount and you use the bent arms as templates it should work fine. I would be more concerned about creep than springback (you can overbend to compensate). I used Pro glue resin veneer bond. If you can't get that Titebond makes a hide glue that according to their website has no creep.
Good luck

Nathan Conner
09-07-2008, 10:39 AM
Well, after a couple of weeks of frustration and feeling like there was little progress, I got some good time in the shop this week, and the sides/arms are coming together!

Lots of part sanding, and it's going great. Started with 120, moved up to 220 for the "final" pre-assembly sand. There are LOTS of those little parts! To sand those little spacers, I clamped a piece of 220 to the workbench, and used that as my sander. It worked better than I expected, and I ended up putting a tiny chamfer on each piece (Not the ends, though!) with that setup. Two swipes on each corner was enough to make an attractive edge for each spacer.

I got going with the assembly, and Walt was right, I sure felt like I was doing the glue dance. Those extra few slats made it even more fun (I skipped the center slat idea). It took some speed, but I got both sides all glued/clamped and the joints wiped down before the Titebond II started to set up. It was easiest for me to, with the bottom stile of the arm to me, run a bead along the bottom, quickly insert all the pieces, starting from center, then add the top stile, pre-glued. A quick check for square and then glue on 2 of the tenons for one leg, slide it in, and then the other. It went much more smoothly the second time, and I'm guessing the 3rd and 4th will go even better. A few light clamps and some joint wiping, and all was good.

A test fit of the curved arms revealed the need for a little sanding, but I was able to get a good fit, and will have those and the corbels glued up this evening. I did use the arms for each side as a pattern for the curve, but it was a match to the jig, anyhow, so the juggling a machinist's square and holding the arm while I traced may not have been necessary.

This morning, will have some time to start milling up the pile of lumber into seats/backs. If I'm lucky, will have one set of those assembled today!

Progress looks great, Walt and Gary - nice to see some detail work in yours that I've had trouble with - the pictures look...just like mine! I'm seeing lots of familiar issues, and it's nice to compare.

Keep going, guys!

gary Zimmel
09-09-2008, 12:12 AM
Good Day to the Creek!

With all the legs out of the way it is time
to move on to the strechers, rails and slats.
I first made the shoulders as they are a few
different sizes.

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I make a test tenon to make sure it is a little fat.
It is then cleaned up with my 60 1/2R to get a proper fit.

96482 96483

With everything set finishing the tenons is a snap.



gary Zimmel
09-09-2008, 12:46 AM
After all my tenons are cut a 1/2" chamfer is put
on the two front strechers.


To clean up the edges of any machine marks
I used my LN 164.


Now that the tenons are all done next on the
agenda will be to put the grooves in the rails.



David Fortin
09-09-2008, 12:57 PM
Just got the MC back from Mike the upholsterer. A couple pictures are attached. The cushions are actually dark brown, not burgundy. This is not its home but rather a pit stop for photos only. Its home in the family room is in a corner with an end table next to it.

My brother who is very generous with his N.E. Patriots season tickets (how much are those things worth the rest of this year) has expressed an interest in one for his family room as well, but prefers the spindle look so I will be making the “Group Chair” after all as a gift for my brother. My only real concern is how to attach the arms. “Glue and clamp the arms to the side frames” doesn’t fill me with confidence. I think some kind of tenon or spline would be desirable. I’ll be interested in how the Group tackles the problem.

Back to MC 1: I feel that I did really well cost wise.

QSWO was about $270
Leather (on sale at local leather shop
recommended by upholsterer) $ 99
Upholstery (make cushions and web bottom) $ 280

Total $649

I’m happy with the upholstery job. It looks traditional to me and is very comfortable with medium-soft seat and soft back. Mike had to use Pirelli webbing (no room for hand tied springs and every upholsterer I talked to gave me a very funny look when I mentioned zigzag or sinuous springs).

I’m glad I made the changes to the plans I did (1” higher front, 2” in rear and 1” wider). It is a really nice comfortable chair. The bow arms are comfortable and will hold the remote and a beverage.

Now for my real reason for writing this post: I believe woodworkers can do anything. Seriously, does anyone out there know a really quick way to repair a torn ACL?

gary Zimmel
09-10-2008, 9:22 AM

Sweet looking finished chair! Excellent job.

Your costs sure make it worth while to build a heirloom
rather than buying one. The changes you made to your
plan sure look good. As in the slope of the seat.

Another chair. Is the ottoman on the books too?
Your brother is going to be one happy camper.

As for our bowed arms. Walt and I have been talking
back and forth and may screw the ends of our bowed
arms to the legs. I too have concerns about just glue.
It would be capped off to give it the look of yours but it
would be a faux tenon. Too late to do anything else as
my legs are already made as per the plan.

Congrads again. Can't wait to see the progress of the
chair for your brother.

Nathan Conner
09-10-2008, 9:32 AM
Wait, wait. Gary...you're going to LIE? You're planning on DECEIVING people with your design? That's...that's...I'm just breathless.

And, of course, I'm doing the same thing, only everywhere. :)

I did a sample of a faux through-tenon, and it looked great. Since they're already through-tenons (flush with the outer edge after trimming), I doubt anyone will care or notice. Since the mortiser bit was un-tuned and new, and I didn't know what I was doing, I ended up cutting all my mortises incorrectly, and it was either start over, which I was unwilling to do on those legs, or just make a little cap and pretend.

I think it's perfectly acceptable.

And on my bowed arms, I think since it's mostly long grain to long grain, and since I used the arms themselves to trace the curve and then sanded to get a great fit, I'm not too worried about the glue giving up. Maybe a pin or dowel for some extra strength in the tops of the legs, but I would make it invisible if I were to do it. Something about knowing there's a screw in there wouldn't sit well with me. But then, I'd planned on skipping the screws on the seat rails, too, and just using a good amount of yellow glue. I'll let you know when the first seat collapses, and if my homeowner insurance covers the hostpital bill.

David Fortin
09-10-2008, 11:14 AM
Thanks Gary,

An Ottoman is just something else to trip over at this point, but an A&C coffee table is likely. I'm glad I am not the only one concerned about the arms. I'm a little reluctant to use screws, but since the legs aren't built, I will probably extend them an inch or so, dowel through the sides and cap again.

Bill Borchers
09-10-2008, 1:55 PM
Hi David,
Wow, nice chair. How in the world did you get your leather for $99? That's a heck of a deal. Am I missing something? :rolleyes:

David Fortin
09-10-2008, 4:23 PM
Thanks Bill,
We expected to pay $2-300 for a hide on the internet. An upholsterer (not the one we actually used) recommended we check our local Tandy Leather Store. They had some full hides on sale for $99. We bought one with the understanding if we didn't like it it could be returned. We showed it to the upholsterer who said it was good leather and we were done. This same upholsterer said that cushions made with leather from him would cost $1200.

gary Zimmel
09-12-2008, 9:33 AM
Good Day to the Creek!

The slats are made for the chairs.
I desided to make them 1/2" thick instead of
3/8" as the plan calls for. They are also a bit wider.
1 1/2" versus 1 1/4" wide.


When I was making the grooves there was a little oops...
Look once cut twice.
I cut one of the grooves on the wrong side of the rail.
Tick me off.


Not wanting to waste the piece I just filled the extra groove.
After the glue was dry I planed it down flush.

96720 96721

This will be one of those things that no one sees.
But I know it is there.
All in all it is just about invisable.


With the slats and grooves done next will be getting
the slats fitting just right into the grooves.


Bill Borchers
09-12-2008, 4:51 PM
Thanks for the leather advice, David. There's a Tandy store about 60 miles from me (in Columbus), so I'll check it out next time I'm there.

gary Zimmel
09-13-2008, 8:42 AM
Good Day to the Creek!

As the slats are made and the grooves are
done (and fixed) I took the time to make sure
all of the slats fit just so.
All of my slats are just a hair fat of the grooves.
This lets me custom fit them to the grooves.
Also saves me from having to sand them.

96820 96821

And so I get to see a little peek at how a chair side
will look. The spacers will be made and fitted after
the side is glued up.


This weekend I will get the detailing on the center slats
done and rip some 3/8" blanks for the arms.

Hope everyone has a good weekend and a little shop time!


Nathan Conner
09-14-2008, 10:43 AM
So, I got some shoptime yesterday, and started focusing on only one chair for now. Wow, what a difference a day makes!

All the parts of Chair #1 are assembled, glued, and have the initial 2 pre-fit sandings out of the way. I have one more sanding to do, and a slightly better fitting of the back. It, unfortunately, was my biggest mistake. Instead of milling it like I was supposed to, I laid it flat, like a raised-panel frame. Habit, I guess. Anyhow, got it all assembled (and glued, of course!) and realized it was 1" oversized on the width. GRRRR! Instead of tearing it all apart or making a new one, I ripped 1/2" off each side, and I think I'll live with it. Because of the glue, I would probably make a mess trying to get it apart and make new "Q" (I think) pieces. It looks fine, just may not be as strong as intended. We'll see. If it looks like it will hold up, I'll keep it, otherwise, I'll do a new back.

Anyhow, progress really came fast this weekend. Not sure what happened. All of a sudden, I was looking around for the next pieces to cut, and realized I was done! I threw a piece of black walnut on the spinny thing in the corner to turn the dowels for the back (I wanted some contrast, and besides, I don't own any 5/8" dowels), and as soon as it's a reasonable hour, I'll finish. (It's awfully loud with the screeching chatter of the flat scraper)

Gary, I threw in a shot of the right upper rail, before I attached the arm, just for you. My first mistake (other than my mortises) was milling the groove in the wrong side. I did, as you did, just fill the grrove. You can't see it, but yeah...I know it's there!

The mortise repair came out better than expected. They look...intentional. No one but me need know.

I called around yesterday looking for a decent upholsterer and some leather. Looks like I'm in luck on both - there are several around, and they all seemed anxious to do it. I just need to make a choice and go pick out the leather from a local leather store.

I have to say, I've discovered my hand planes again. I took an hour break yesterday to put a good edge on three of them, and then have used them for all the chamfers and edge cleanup. In my eyes, MUCH safer and saner than using the trim router. If I screw up with the hand plane, it's just a nick. If I goof with the router, it's a new piece and possibly days' more work. The plane did wonders on the outside edge of the arms. The Rotex did a number on the saw marks, but also left a bunch of waves in the edge that were obvious from the right angle. The plane took all the high spots down smooth...I should have used it from the beginning.

So, have any of you guys thought of finishes? Maybe it's not that time, yet, but I need to get a finish started before it starts to get cold. 58 in the shop is too cold for a good cure, and it's awfully expensive to keep it at 70. My options so far are a sprayed-on, water-based lacquer or a wipe-on poly. When I brush, I tend to leave high spots, puddles, ridges and brush marks. I'll just say, I'm HORRID at brush-on finishes, and this is not the project to...uhhh...brush up on that skill. (*cough*) I'm not going to stain it. Maybe Chair #2? We'll see how this one turns out.

A few pics of the pieces, and I'll take some more after I get the completed assembly this afternoon, and before I take the pieces apart for final sanding.

Nathan Conner
09-16-2008, 1:40 PM
So, before teardown and final sanding, wanted to get some shots of the pile of sticks. It's starting to look like a real chair!

I don't know about the back. It may or may not survive any abuse, and though it's not flimsy, it's about 1/2 as sturdy as it was intended, so it may be rebuilt/swapped out depending on how it feels when you sit in it. Also, in retrospect, I should have built the chair and ottoman instead of two chairs. It seemed like a good idea, and I know the second chair will actually turn out better than this one (learning curve, right?) but it would have been pretty nice to have an ottoman - looks like this chair needs one. Also, the LOML is hinting strongly about rockers for the second chair.

In general, though, I like the looks! The proportions are nice, the Alder looks fine, and it looks like it may fit alright next to that walnut/alder table sitting next to it (I made it a little while ago out of some scraps, but it's been in the shop, waiting for some new home in the house). The color on the skirts and legs of the table is what this would turn out like if I didn't stain it, and I don't think I will. It may turn out VERY blonde, but I think it'll be alright.

A few things I noticed as I was putting the final pieces together:

Turning your own dowels is well worth it - it was about 25 mins. work, and they stand out! One scrap of walnut, and they were done. I put a little BLO on them to bring out the color, and they fit nicely, look great. Just another little touch you can say you did...

I don't like the clamping/jig system they had you use for the arm holes. Neat idea, but in practice, it's a little hard to get set up to 90/11 degrees on the back. It would have been easier to measure, (even using their jig) and I would have been right on. I'm going to have to re-turn the left-side top pin a speck larger to make up for the slight difference.

The 4 slats in the back make for a simple centering, because you can just cut the two center spacers to fit, instead of 4 matching ones on the outside corners as you needed to with the sides. As you can tell, though it's symmetrical, there's a noticeable difference between the center space and the outside edges. Nice trick, but maybe I should have stuck with the 4 outer ones so there wasn't an exaggerated space in the center.

The slats for the seat seem weak. Maybe I should have beefed them up a bit to 1/2"? Not sure if it was intentional for the 3/8 to seem "softer" for a more comfortable sit, but I think I prefer stable over soft. I haven't yet had a seat in the chair - I'll wait until the cushions get done.

Speaking of that, has anyone poked around and considered material/leather colors for the cushions? I hate to "cheap out" on that, but a pair of chairs in full leather could easily top $1,000. Are there leather-look vinyls or Naugahydes (or whatever that stuff is) that are functional and look nice? I'm a bit green around the gills from the thought of using leather in the first place, but I'd like this chair to be around a few years...

How's everyone else coming along?

gary Zimmel
09-17-2008, 12:53 AM
Your chair looks great Nathan.

I like the way you have the side slats all the same size.
Little to late for me to think about that as the ottomans are done..
Maybe next time.
I have been wondering if the the bows on the arms were going
to be to big. From your pics everything does seem in proportion.
I hope you don't have to do the back again.
Can't wait to see it finished.

As for me things are going a little slower than planned.
I did get some shop time tonight and finished off the
middle side slats.

To begin I put a 5/8" start and stop hole for the long grooves.
With an 1/4" upcut bit and a stop block it was quite simple to get
a nice straight line.

97034 97035

Since I don't have a scroll saw I made a quick trip to
my dads to use his. They need a little clean up. But all in all
they turned out not bad.

97036 97037

I am hoping to get a couple of the bowed arm blanks cut
and then glued up by the end of this weekend. Am still
trying to figure out what glue to use. After that it seems
like clear sailing.

Nathan I was checking out the price of hides here.
I need two and it seems they will be between 400 - 450 per...
Tandy here doesn't have two from the same dye lot that are
at a reduced price. So I guess we pay the bucks.
Haven't checked out how much it will be for someone to put
the cushions together but I think when its all done it will be a little pricey.

Walt reminded me that thats OK as we are building heirlooms....


David Fortin
09-17-2008, 8:05 AM
Nathan, looking very good indeed. Try Gary’s Upholstery Supply. They have full hides, http://www.garysupholstery.com/leather-upholstery/index.html in a variety of colors for $259 ea. And faux leather http://www.garysupholstery.com/magnificent.html for $23.99 /yd. (a MC takes 3 yards). I’m told the faux stuff lasts longer than leather. I plan to use this on a chair for my brother (ash with Admiral faux leather cushions). They also send samples out very quickly and provide advice and help if you are upholstering yourself.

Bill Borchers
09-18-2008, 3:31 PM
Hi Nathan,
I posted a response on 7/18 (in this thread) that shows some pictures and the vinyl I used. The "Whisper" vinyl is really soft and warm. It's been two months and I'm still enjoying it. Please see above or search on my posts. I think you'd be happy with this particular vinyl (plus the fact it only cost $38!).
Bill Borchers

Bill Borchers
09-18-2008, 3:37 PM
Here's my info from 7/28 (I didn't want to waste space and re-post the pics)...
I know it wasn't a race, but I have completed my Morris Chair! OK, I did start in December;).
Anyway, I thought I'd post a few pics, especially since I did it out of cherry instead of the traditional QSWO.
I completed the upholstery last weekend. I never thought I would use vinyl, but I did. I remember proclaiming that a chair of this complexity and beauty deserved leather, but I succumbed to price pressures. A hide or two of leather is pretty darn expensive and some of the vinyls I found are really nice. I used a brand name called "Whisper". It is really soft - not plasticy at all. I bought from a chain fabric store - Hancock Fabrics. They had a special last Saturday and I bought 4 yards (plenty) for a total of $38 ($9.50/yd). That's alot cheaper that a hide or two. If I decide to upgrade to leather later, I can call the vinyl $38 worth of practice!
The actual upholstery was easier than I thought it would be. The plans I used were shown in issue 155 of Woodsmith magazine. I actually purchased the plans from www.plansnow.com (http://www.plansnow.com/) for $9.95. They are really good plans. Anyway, Woodsmith has a video on their site that anyone can view. It shows how to make the cushions - the directions are clear and make it pretty straight forward. Here's the link: http://www.woodsmith.com/issues/155/...ding-cushions/ (http://www.woodsmith.com/issues/155/videos/adding-cushions/)
Good luck to all participating. I'd be happy to answer any questions. I'd also like to thank all the help I got during my eight month quest (mostly finishing questions).
Attached Thumbnails

Walt Caza
09-19-2008, 4:55 PM
Well now, Good Day to the Creek,
I spent the last couple weeks sick and miserable.
I just layed low and watched our group build unfold.

Last I posted, I was stuck on glue for the bow arms.
Thanks to Ben D. for his thoughts and kind words.
Ya, a 2pc bending form is a possibility, and would offer parallel surfaces
for clamping. I learned from a Lonnie Bird article in FWW online, that you
would indeed have to remove the total arm thickness from the 2 forms
when they are brought together. Good tip...I stuffed it up my sleeve.

Yes, thinner plies would bend better. The original WoodMag plans called
for each ply to be 3/8" thick. Perhaps not the ideal approach...
and a contributing factor to springback for our builders.

Yep, a resilient form lining would better spread the clamping force.
Cork is spendy, I read someone got good results with floor underlay.
For me, I only have a single chair planned, and so am hoping to
make this work without spending too much more time and effort.

hrumpf...your double-wide form idea seems to me to cause as many
problems as it might solve! My parallel clamps from both sides
actually touch in the middle, giving full width pressure. (not possible if dbl)
This suggestion is interesting, I wonder if anyone can share their experience with it?

I believe David F. is spot-on, when he states that creep is a bigger problem than
bow arm springback. Using the actual arm, with or without springback,
as a template to arch the side frames, seems to be the hot ticket.
Sharing this approach is another great benefit of our group build,
and reinforces the value of our collective project.
Even though he already built an MDF template to match the form,
I bet GZ does not use it, in favour of this arm-tracing method.

David your finished chair looks terrific. Webbing under the seat cushion is an
intriguing alternative to a slatted frame.

I had to walk away from the computer and laugh for a while after I read your inspired quote:
"My only real concern is how to attach the arms. 'Glue and clamp the arms to the side frames'
doesn’t fill me with confidence."
He,he,he...it still hits me funny as I type it now.
In fairness, all the wood plans I have ever seen seem to gloss over big steps
with such over-simplifications and lack of elaboration.
I felt a twinge of panic upon reading that line, from the first time I skimmed over the plans,
to this very day! Feels good to not be alone on that one...

Lastly David, is the torn ACL you mentioned hobbling you...or a crucial
athlete that is breaking your heart this season?!?

Gary Z, thanks for sharing your extra-groove-oops. You do not see these
kinda things mentioned in slick tv shows or glossy magazines,
but I believe that is exactly where the wheel meets the road in our little shops.
It reveals plenty about your standard of quality, that the oops would not
be visible in the finished chair, but you filled it anyway.
I had to chortle when I read you said: "I would have known..." ha! Exactly.

The only trouble I am having...is that the tools in your pics are sooo sweet,
it distracts me from your careful work!
All that Jessem and LN, (whistles...) wow, and don't get me started about that
dream LN workbench of yours! A pair of vices to die for... (whoa)

A little MIA: If anyone runs into Dewey or Jim Brown, please ask them to phone home,
or at least chime into our thread and tell us the score...

***And finally: In an unexpected development...
Surprise, it was a race afterall... and Bill Borchers is our Winner! Tell him what he's won!
Just kidding Bill, sorry... but thanks for contributing to our story.

Thanks to all our posters....... Good Show!
be well, (unlike me...cough, hack)

gary Zimmel
09-20-2008, 10:14 AM
Good Day to the Creek

Well I finally got to use that arm form....

After making a bunch of 3/8" thick blanks
I got to see how it is to bend 3 pieces of oak.
Clamps lots of clamps. Who said we can have too many?
With limited open time for the glue it was a little bit of a
challenge. Get the glue spread, set everything on the form,
and get it all clamped down.
Thanks Walt for the heads up to use a couple of clamps to hold
the blanks together so they wouldn't slide apart.

97192 97193

Waited a full 24 hours to make sure we had a good bond.
My result was not to different than others.
About 1/4" springback. I guess we have to live with that.
The arms will be my templates to mark the sides to get a nice fit.
In the picture it looks like the arm is a little wonko but it's just the pic.
I ran out to the shop just to make sure. Don't want to make any more
of these than I have to.


One down 3 to go.....


Walt Caza
09-21-2008, 10:38 AM
Hi All,
I just wanted to thank Nathan for great work and some great posts.
His excellent efforts afforded me some downtime from posting.
Good show Nathan, and thanks for your new avatar,
it's nice to see who we're building along with...

Nice recovery from your scalloped mortises, that worked out great.
You are the first group builder to achieve no springback on your bow arms.
Makes sense when you say that you are willing to trust attaching them to
side frames with just glue. Despite the arch, it is as you say, longgrain to longgrain.
I also have pondered augmenting the arm mount with dowels,
and like you, would prefer any such effort to be not visible.
I recall Bill B. said the arms are a very visible part in the finished chair.

It is encouraging to hear that you have been honing and using more handtools.
I can't help but feel inspired by GZ's handtool pics.
Your Rotex sounds like a dream sander too.

Cool lathe work on your back pivot and back stop dowels.
The walnut does look good, nice to see some lathe work.
Myself I am gonna try to make them at the router table. (?)

Thanks for sharing your groove oops. I like to see it, not to make fun, but
to see that others make these goofs too... also, solid recovery.
I have not heard it in years, but they used to say, that it's not that the pro's
don't make mistakes, it's their skill in hiding them.

So, probably gonna leave the alder natural, no stain?
I also find shop heating expensive, and winter a tougher time to apply wood finish.
I gotta get back to pushing some chair progress!

I am gonna make a silly sounding suggestion:
Try your hand at brushing-on a wipe-on poly.
I did just that on my last 2 posted projects, and was surprisingly pleased...
the thinner poly does not build as quick, but lays down without brushmarks.
A few light coats, over a few days and linger around to wipe away any drips.
I had good luck with 2 coats a day, maybe just 20 minutes between.
This eliminates a knock-down sanding between those 2 coats, each time.
Obviously, we want a thicker build on wearing surfaces.
I like 400grit paper, which I crumple first, to knock-down any dustnibs.
The poly needs to be good and dry first, though.

For now, I am building a single chair and ottoman.
I was amused when you said maybe that would serve you better than a pair of chairs.
Sounds like you may end up building a pair of ottos?

Your wife's rocker idea sound great. The catch being that there are 2 kinds of bent lams.
Our Morris chair features bow arms that are well fastened and supported along their length.
I would have to get much better at it, to confidently build chair rockers,
which are a bent lam that is only supported at the bottom of 4 legs.
Also, the full weight of the chair and passenger are pressing the rockers in
the direction they would wanna springback. yikes!
On the other hand, woodworkers do build them all the time. (bok bok?)

Thanks for the heads-up about the arm hole drilling jig from the plans.
I guess the better approach would be to locate the backrest stops by the
actual mounted back. Both for dowel location, and also back tilt too.
I expect the tilt to be a factor in chair comfort?

It is tricky to type at strangers, or at least distant friends we have yet to shake hands with...
if we were standing around in your shop, just chewing the fat,
it would be easier, and stir less friction up, to playfully rib you like this:

N, having trimmed your back posts (part Q) thinner than plans to fit,
and sitting on a good pile of alder, and realizing that the 3/8" slats are more
flexible than you might prefer.......
I would be ribbing you...that you wanna rebuild the back and seat frames with 1/2" thick slats.
If we remember the context of this chair being in your life for decades to come,
I would be teasing you that you just 'gotta' redo'em.

All lessons cost, these lessons came pretty cheap...
and benefitted other group builders to follow.
What with the high cost of upholstery, and a chance for both of your hand-built chairs to match,
I encourage you to consider it.
Of course, no harm in living with your first chair for a while, before you
decide. I am not sure how you resisted sitting in your chair yet...
as you are far ahead of me, and I have been sitting down to eat my shop
sandwishes in mine, for weeks!

Great job Nathan,
you have been a valuable member of our team!

Walt Caza
09-22-2008, 3:51 AM
Hi to our group builders and story followers,
After some good build progress in August, I hit September stuck on glue,
and stuck in the mud.
I mentioned I was gonna try thinner plys and more appropriate glue for my bent laminations.
I know the plural of ply is plies, but it seems more clear to type plys.(?)

I did the homework, and decided to next try Urea Formaldehyde glue.
After an intensive search, I was unable to locate any within Canada.
I ended up ordering a 14oz tub of powder from WoodCraft.
They use a Canada Post shipping option called Border Free.

This service is faaar from 'free', but does offer the advantage of being a
single up-front price which includes shipping, any and all duty and taxes
to land your parcel on your porch. This means my shipping costed $27.27,
for a total of Can$ 37.15 . (paying quadruple was even less fun than it sounds)
Gripe, whine...both pee and moan!
Ah well, I am only in it for the lessons and the laughs...
so I pulled that hard-to-swallow trigger.

Being sick-at-home, I tracked my shipment from Ohio (pretty close to me) to New York(not so close).
The postman left me a card for post office pick-up next day.
I was home, but no attempt was made to deliver.
So much for the 'porch' delivery. Everything uphill !

I researched, gathered materials, and rehearsed my mix, glue and clamp routine.
My previous white glue attempt took me 18 minutes to clamp.
The UF open time is not much longer than that at 70degrees F.
I would have to mix, and do the glue hustle.
The 14oz tub estimated coverage of 35 sqr feet.
I divided the powder into 3 even piles, which should each do 12 sqr ft.
The other 2 piles were quickly sealed away in zipbags for another day.

Wearing my dust mask against the carcinogenic powder, I mounted a paint mixer into the drillpress.
My plastic resin maiden flight went all downhill from there!

Here are my 4 thinner plys, with the UF glue.

Chatting with Gary brought up his planer snipe concerns.
I am glad I do not have that problem anymore, and even told him so.
(famous last words!)
Just as I am about to mix this 'fancy' glue, I notice my oak sandwich has tiny snipe gaps. uggh
Anyone wanna tell my wife I "need' a wide-belt sander?!?
I hit'em with 80grit wrapped around a block until my arms screamed for mercy.

Both drill mixers I tried, along with a stick, would not achieve a homogenous mixture.
Maybe a kitchen whisk or pair of forks next try?

The resulting spendy goop refused to mix. I found these mudpies to be darker than the light brown I was expecting.
97307 97308

I tried to make slow additions of powder, into the measured quantity of water.
Either I added too much too soon, or perhaps my hygroscopic UF powder was no good??
I tried to get it to mix by hand for a long time. It still resembled oil and vinegar.
After waving a white flag of surrender, I made some test glue-ups
to pull apart next shop session.

All of this was my experiment to do better than the 1/4" springback from
my white-glued first bow arm lam.
Between sickness and paralysis from overanalysis, I have squandered 21 days of good loft-shop weather.
I gotta try to remind myself...I am not just building a single chair,
but also skills, experience, and I hear that 'suffering' builds character!
never a dull moment,

ps I am trying to make a poll for your input...

Nathan Conner
09-22-2008, 9:49 AM
Wow, Walt. What a mess! I can't for the life of me see what's going on with that glue. Were it me, I'd be calling Woodcraft for another shipment. Then another...and so on, before I turned to Elmer's and duct tape after I was broke from all the repeated shipments. Are you supposed to heat it or something to get it to mix?

Honestly, that brown glue I used - the Better Bond veneer cold-press glue - worked wonders on the arms. No springback, easy cleanup, and it gets tacky after a few minutes of open time, so it doesn't slip-n-slide quite as badly as yellow glue for me. I left them in the forms for 24 hours, glued up, and when they came out, I could have stood on them. I gave one a good going over to test for strength, and it feels pretty ok to me. I got a gallon of that glue cheap ($20) when I built my vacuum press, and it's been terrific. I'm sure it will go south on me before I use it all. Maybe you could try that? I'm thinking that whatever you use, you'll probably get springback, but that won't matter when you use the arm to scribe the curve on the sides. The only issue I have is that the dark color with the light Alder makes the seams in the sides of the arms visible. Well, to me, anyhow. When the chair's assembled, the eye follows the curve and bow, not the glue lines. If you want the name/place I ordered that stuff, let me know. Great stuff.

As far as the "only" gluing the arms to the sides, I have to say it felt nerve-wracking. But when I was done, and they'd been in the clamps about 48 hours, I took them out and gave the chair a nervous shake, holding it by the arms. Not a creak. Then I swung it around a couple of times for good measure, shaking as I went daring it to break. I'm sure I made quite a sight, but I figured it was easier to repair while I hadn't put a finish on it, and was willing to be a guinea pig on the strength. It held up great with no dowels. Honestly, without any tools or a hard concrete surface to bash on, I think I'd be hard pressed to get the arms off at all. I spent awhile with the sanding block taking the arms off, putting them back on, marking, sanding, taking them off again, all until I had a decent even mate line between the top and the arm. Maybe that helped. Rockers? That, I don't know about. May be an entirely different experience. I bet I'd have to make some hide-glue-soup for those.

After some quality time (read: "obsessive behavior") with the hand plane getting all the chamfers on the arms to meet nicely at the corners, it was time to start putting on a finish.

I went with the Deft Satin brushing lacquer. It looks great after 5 coats (6 on the arm tops). I think I'll give it a couple more on the arms, but the rest of the chair looks done. I hit it with 320 after coat #3, and 500 after coat #4, and 5 looks just about right. I tried shooting the water-borne lacquer on some "test pieces" (read: the seat and the back) but I forgot that the water-borne stuff doesn't change the wood's fundamental color or tone. So, I sanded my "test pieces" back off again and re-coated with the Deft. Brushing very carefully with a 2" brush took 100 minutes for the first coat on the base alone, 90+ for each additional with about 2 hours' dry time between. The first coat was applied with the chair base upside down on a towel-covered workbench so I could get color on all the underside parts. All successive coats have been right side up. I'll post some pictures when it's closer to done. The tone looks great - much nicer than I could have hoped for, and darker than I was expecting. Almost like a light cherry finish.

No choices yet on the upholstery. And no, I haven't had a seat in it yet. I'm saving that until I see some upholstery on it. For the $1208.00 I was quoted (cheapest place!) for 2 charis' worth of faux-leather cushions, I could buy an awfully nice sewing machine, do the work myself, and maybe even afford to do it again after I screw up the first set. I'm really torn, and will have to ponder some more. The small amount of Alder I've sold has more than paid for the rest of the pile, so it's free wood. So far, the only investment I've made is time, energy, a few consumables, and the plans. I'd hate for the upholstery to make these anything more than $40 chairs.

So far, this has been a fantastic experience. It's much more rewarding to have worked on this in a group setting than to have done it alone. All the advantages of working in a group with your own timetable...

Keep going, guys! I'm going to be right with you starting on chair #2 here in the coming days. Maybe I'll get this one done correctly!

David Fortin
09-22-2008, 2:06 PM
Something is wrong, probably a bad batch. I've used this stuff on several projects and it has always been fine. I mix it with a piece of shim for a couple of minutes and it's good to go. Is it possible you are over mixing with the blender etc? The only problem I ever had was when I added 2x the right amount of water. If mixed properly will this stuff repair a torn ACL?
1/4 inch spring back is not the end of the world. By the time you trim the to length it won't even be that much. If anyone notices (and no one will) tell them you thought the chair plans had too much bow and you fixed it.

gary Zimmel
09-23-2008, 11:55 PM
Good day to the Creek!

Well I finally get to see a preview of what
a chair will look like.

After bending two arms I will use them as templates
to make my arc on the sides. The sides were cut and then
it was time to glue some of these sticks together.
The filler pieces were put in after the sides were glued.
Too many pieces to muss with while the side was going together.
The last pieces on the ends were custom cut to get a sweet fit.


I stained my slats before assembly to make it a little easier
for final staining. Sides finally together....

97444 97445

A couple of more sticks and we have what sort of looks like a chair!

97446 97447

My arms are not attached as of yet. Still have to put the curve
on the outside of the two of them. I am still debating whether
or not to put caps on the top of each arm. That can be desided later.

A bottom and a back and we may have something...


gary Zimmel
09-24-2008, 12:16 AM
The process to make any caps for my mission
pieces is quite straight forward.

A 1/4" dado set 1/4" away from the fence and 1/16" high.
4 quick passes and step one is done.


A quick trip to my router that is set to 1/8".
And another 4 passes.


Cut it off at the bandsaw and start the process again.


Quick and easy and our little fingers are safe and sound...


Nathan Conner
09-25-2008, 10:52 AM
Well, Chair #1 has a finish on it. I went with the Deft Satin Brushing Lacquer. Mostly because I'm familiar with it, and the spray ChemAqua waterborne lacquer didn't turn out so well on that light Alder.

I put 5 coats on the base/back and 8 on the arms. Only a couple on the seat, as it will be hidden all the time anyhow.

It looks great in place in the studio where it will live, and I'll get the good camera out instead of the iPhone here this week and take some decent pictures of it in place. Sorry for the photo quality, but the good news is you all know what these chairs look like, anyhow. The color is what I was going for.

STILL haven't made a choice about the cushions. I think what we'll do is take advice from you guys, try to make our own with some online vinyl purchase, and if they turn out, great! If not, we're not out that much money and can go ahead and order a real set from a local upholsterer.

Still haven't had a seat in it, either. Want to wait until the cushions magically appear. (Shop sandwiches have to be eaten on an old wooden stool, Walt. Didn't you know that?)

I was really surprised at the look - I could pass it off as Maple. The curl on the left arm looks nice in the right light, even with the satin finish. I'm happy with it, though as I was putting it on, I was wishing for a darker look.

One down, one to go! I can't wait to put all I learned doing the first one to the test on the second! I imagine it will turn out much better.

I got distracted by the remote install on the cyclone last night. Was going to knock together a little scrap wooden box to cover the relays and wiring left hanging from the wall after the remote was installed (works great!), but got carried away with the scraps I had left from the chairs, and in the spirit of craftsmanship, an hour later I ended up with a little cabinet, panel door and pull and brass hinges and spray finish. It's about 4"w x 8"t. I REALLY need to seek professional help, but I love pretending I'm a woodworker. I can bore a hole and spit through it, right?

gary Zimmel
09-25-2008, 7:28 PM

Let me say that is one sweet looking chair....

It turned out fantastic. Always nice to the fruits of all the hard work.
(even with our little screwups)

Great job again. Nice to see another finished chair!
It gives me the drive to try and get a little more shop time this weekend.

What's your time frame for the second one?

Walt Caza
09-26-2008, 5:10 AM
Good Day to the Creek,
Well, it's 5am and my mind is off racing again...uggh.

Wow Nathan, your first Morris chair looks great!
I find your Alder to have pleasing grain.
Your last few pics are so nice, I have been back to look at them more times than I care to admit.
I giggled like a schoolgirl at the image of you durability testing your glued-on arms
like the gorilla from that old luggage commercial.

Your handplaned chamfers really shine in the pics. (you obsessive freak, I mean craftsman)
Well worth the effort, and I like to believe that they add more character
than the cold uniformity a router would produce.
Your free wood and $40 chair program makes you some kinda thrifty hero.
I agree the tone of your finished chair is terrific.
It might pass for a couple of other woods.

To be clear, you punched your mortises right through, but with some
nasty scalloping... and solved it with mushroom shaped caps.
Instead of thru tenons, the rails and stretchers have blind tenons?
And the narrow tenon of the faux caps fits and is glued into the actual thru mortise.
The larger mushroom head of the caps conceal the perimeter of the thru mortise,
and in this case, your scallop problem too!
Nice recovery, worked out great, only you will know...
and a couple thousand of your closest Creek friends!

It validates our whole group build concept, to hear you say that this
was a fantastic experience. I am so glad to hear it, thanks for saying it
'out loud', and also... I have to agree.
I know it is early, but let me ask: Would you do a group build again?
I will soon ask Creekers what project they would wanna group build,
starting next spring. Maybe kick it off April Fool's Day?
With our busy lifestyle, I think more lead time would help people plan and prepare.

Gary it is nice to see your 'sticks' coming together to start to look like something.
I don't think I mentioned it... but I loved the colour of your ottomans.
Very deep, rich and enough red to be 'warm'.
Seeing your pre-stained slats reminded me.
That is a tricky aspect of typing, you can say too much about one thing,
while it is on your mind... and neglect to mention other things, which were
on your mind, but not by the time you sit down to start clacking.

The quality of your pics has improved, It seems you are getting the hang of it! (what more can we hope in life?)
Seeing your pics reminded me that I need to put the 1/2" chamfer on the
top of the front stretcher before assembly.
I guess that is to relieve the edge to be more comfortable for the back of your legs.
Your work and shop look so tidy. Makes me feel like a cluttered slob.
I swear your handplaned surfaces have a glow, and I recall your stained ottos had a clarity that was remarkable.
I gotta move towards sanding less, for a bunch of reasons.

Great work guys..... a little wind for my sail.
be well,

ps oh...Nathan, your little wall cabinet is saweeet!
Now I wanna drill a hole and see if I can spit through it(?)

Nathan Conner
09-26-2008, 10:12 AM
Yeah, I have to echo Walt's sentiments, Gary. Your organization - both in your pictures/layout and in your shop, make me feel like a slob. But they've inspired me to work a little cleaner. And, as Marc Spagnuolo says, just putting away 5 things every time you take a break REALLY helps out keeping the shop safe and tidy(er). And I admire the stain on your arms as well. Much more dramatic than this Alder, and makes me remember why I enjoy oak so much.

I was discussing the chair with a sort-of-woodworker friend who said, "Alder? Wow! That's a really 'active' wood to be using in a chair. You've got guts!" I don't yet understand what he means. I hope he's talking through his hat. I'll spend no more time worrying about it.

Walt: "mushroom-shaped caps"? Naah. They are simply chamfered, flat cutoffs of a slightly larger size than the original tenons. I flush-cut & planed the tenons after a tight assembly, which left me with a fairly solid surface, except with a little scalloping in the seams. Then I capped them with the cutoffs and glued them (very well) and clamped them to sit overnight. I tried to pry one off (again, my propensity for testing sturdiness when I screw up), with no luck. I have the sturdiness of the through-tenon and the looks I couldn't quite achieve in reality, so I'm good with it.

Yes, I'd happily do another group build. I still have one chair left, the shop ceiling to deal with, and probably some ottomans on the horizon, and some bathroom cabinetry for our master bath, and...the list goes on forever. But the group builds give me a sense of community and get me motivated to get some shop time more than normal. Not sure what I'd suggest next. There's lots of stuff out there, but a lot of things I've already made. Two ambitious projects coming up for me are a classical guitar and a Krenov-style cabinet - I'd like to use the plane he made me last year. But both of those are probably tough for a group build, as plans will be hard to come by for the guitar (volumes, really) and the cabinet won't have plans. Just joinery. Lots and lots of joinery.

Gary: Time frame for the second chair is the next few weeks, I think. Since it's fresh in my mind, I'd like to get cranking on it. Lots of other stuff to do, but I enjoyed seeing this first one come together so much, I think I'll continue. But, maybe it'll hold off until the rainy season is fully upon us - there's little else to do, then, and I really need the ceiling in the shop before it gets too cold - that heating bill will cost me an arm and part of a leg otherwise. Heck, I dunno. I'll see what striked me. I may start and get into it right away. But, the good thing is most of the parts are machined and lying in a pile, mortises/tenons cut, and the arms are done, so it's probably just a matter of some careful assembly, and may take 1/10th of the time the first did when I was starting from scratch and cutting double sets of everything.

Walt Caza
09-26-2008, 6:00 PM
Hi All,
Thanks to Nathan and David F. for sharing their glue thoughts.
Before I called WoodCraft, I wanted to rule out operator error on my mudpies.
After re-reading an oldie but goodie glue thread by the esteemed Bob Smalser,
I decided I had nothing to lose in trying the resin bond powder again, before
seeking further remedy. Bob said, if you can mix cocoa, you can mix UF glue.

David, it was a good thought, but I cannot see the problem being overmixing.
If the glue had come together at all, I would have stopped mixing.
I tried the drill paint mixer, due to a Creeker tip I read somewhere.

It helped me, when you said that you mix it a couple minutes with just a shim.
I tried again by mixing with a fork in an old yogurt tub.
The glue came together in 4 minutes, with the nice light brown colour I was expecting.

I have more questions than answers...
but despite careful measuring, maybe I made the same mistake David once did- too much water?
I passed it through a dollar store strainer, and rolled it on with foam.
I skipped funnel and squeeze bottle, and all went well.
It took me about 20 minutes to roll 2 coats of glue on both surfaces, align and place 28 clamps.
I was doing the glue hustle again. Longer open time was helpful.
Keen eyes might spot the masking tape I put on the jaws that would catch glue drips-UF resists coming off.
97588 97589

Since I was planing away QSW oak that I paid for...
I left the 4 ply arm a little thicker at 1.25 inches total.
The UF glue showed just a bit of springback, but less than the 1/4" of the white glue from the first arm.
After laying around in the loft for weeks, the first 3pc bow arm has twisted just a bit.
(PVA glues remain elastic and can stretch- thus creep)
97590 97591

Taken from rough 8/4" stock, I am hoping for quiet grain on the arm sides.
It was another detail to fuss over, keeping track of the layers and their orientation.
I am curious to see how conspicuous the plys will be in the finished arms.
The thicker 4ply arm is above, and the 3ply arm is below.

Being away from the shop for a while, my hands had healed of all shop booboos.
In the first hour back, I bled 3 times, all minor--but from goofy stuff.

1- I grabbed a clamp by the bar, and the jaw was disengaged, which slid
and just barely pinched a finger right at the bend, leaving a 3/4" split
(call it a near miss, with bonus blood)

2- reaching to lift the form to shift it over, a drip from the hard UF glue had formed a dagger.
It split deep into a nail, and cut under the nail.
(my old pal yellow glue never bit me)

3- Removing a wire edge to finish sharpening a plane blade, I dropped my Mark ll guide.
By reflex, I caught it into my lap, gashing a pinkie along with a
bonus deep-V cut. In chef school, I was taught--that a falling knife has NO handle.
(I knew better, but it happened quick, and was pure instinct)

All minor stuff, but 3 fresh bandaids and gonna take a while to heal each of them.
I am sure you know how it is, when you have lots to do with your hands, and they are all banged up.
I'm not trying to whine, just to amuse you...
and tell the real story, of how things sometimes go...out in the woodshop.

So now I am finally unstuck and unsick. I look forward to pushing for some project progress.
I guess I will make another 4ply arm with the last of my spendy UF glue.
If I do another chair, I will use the original 3ply arm, and make another the same.

I gotta admit, knowing that Nathan and David are about to start building their second chairs,
plus a couple group builders who may be along soon,
makes me tempted to build another chair too!
on we roll,

Walt Caza
09-26-2008, 7:42 PM
Just to clarify...
When I refer to mushroom caps, I refer to buttons like GZ made...
you have a smaller 'stem' tenon, and a larger 'cap' which serves to conceal
the mortise perimeter. It is not round, but I thought they were kinda mushroom-like.

I pictured Nathan's faux thru tenons to be similar.
A tenon 'stem' mounted into the mortise, and a 'cap' which hides the joint.
Thanks for explaining your one-pc caps, fastened over the flush tenon.

It seems that Gary uses two different types.
The button caps which are mushroom shaped, mounted in a square hole
as pure decoration. (but square, not round)

And also the faux through-tenons, which are accomplished by making blind tenons, deep into the leg.
And then, a slightly smaller around mortise, but quite shallow, is cut in the opposite side.
This is then capped with a single piece, to match the size of the actual blind tenon, to appear
it poked right through the leg. This cap also roughly resembles a stout, rectangular mushroom.
That is, in having a smaller 'stem', and a larger 'cap'.

We have 3 different types of 'caps' in play. Not hard to get confused.
I'm afraid my mushroom handle thing went over like a lead zeppelin.
Clear as mud?

gary Zimmel
09-28-2008, 1:55 AM
I got a little time in the shop today.

As I was milling my rails and stiles for the 2 chair seat bottoms
I altered from the plan just a bit.

The plan calls for a groove in the rails and a tenons on the stiles.
As I already had my TS set for the grooves for the rails I stood the
stiles on edge and put grooves in all the ends of them.
All the parts for the seats are 1 3/4" so all I did was cut a bunch of
1" tenons from an extra slat. Perfect width and perfect thickness.

97654 97655

I think I had this all done before I could of got the dado set all
dialed in to do proper tenons. And no clean up by hand to get
that sweet fit.


Slats are in the finishing room and tomorrow the seat bottoms
will go together.


gary Zimmel
10-01-2008, 12:10 AM
Good Day to the Creek!

Well I am getting closer to having this first chair done. Seems like I have been working on this forever.

The arms are finally on and I am glad that part is behind me.
Getting every thing just so was a little challenging but
in the end it went as planned.


As I was taking the clamps off I had visions of the arms springing off.
They seem very solid and the screws and caps may not be added.

Before the corbels were glued on I put little grooves
on the back sides to make sure there was no glue runs.
I raised the blade on the TS 1/16" and marked my start
and finish of a cut. Stopping just before the ends gives me what I want.

97849 97850

My seat bottom is made except for a few filler pieces
and the back parts are all milled and the slats stained
and drying.


With a couple of good nights in the shop this first
one should be in the bag.
I don't have a lathe so I will have to buy some dowling
to attach the back and use as adjusting pins.

Unless I can talk Nathan in sending me some of those nice walnut pegs...


Dewey Torres
10-01-2008, 12:36 AM
Yes! I am still alive!

My wife and I finally finished the dreaded landscape project so this chair will certainly carry into the winter. My shop is an absolute disaster area right now. I will post pics of the landscape project in another forum as not to taint this one but whew I am soooo glad I am finally done.

I figure the shop will take a good day, maybe two/three to get ready and started... then I am off to the races.

Also, the curved arms have grown on me a bit and I may just go with them after all.

More to follow....

gary Zimmel
10-01-2008, 5:44 PM
Good to see you are still alive Dewey...

Nice to have you back in the game. Can't wait to see some pics of some sawdust...

Walt Caza
10-01-2008, 9:30 PM
Good Day Everyone,
The Morris chair requires a pair of dowels which allow the back to pivot and recline.
It also requires another pair of dowels, the same length and diameter, as back stops.
The backstops can be placed in a series of holes to allow a few different back tilt positions.
The number of adjustments varies between chairs. The original WoodMag plans call for 3 tilts.
I have been thinking about these dowels since the first post to this thread.
(... and it is about to pay off)

Nathan turned his dowels on a lathe. He used walnut for contrast and they look great.
As he said, it is another little touch you can say you did... and he found it well worth it.

Having no lathe... Gary said we spend all this time milling everything, and then we have to buy dowels.
He said he would prefer to say he made everything.

My concern was that I preferred my dowels to match my QSW oak chair.
As much as I would love to tell my wife that I 'need' a lathe to finish my chair...
I came up with a no-lathe work-around. I suspect others have known this
for years, but it is new to me. (there is nothing new under the sun!)

The plans call for 4 dowels, 3 inches long, and 5/8" in diameter.
I milled some stock to 5/8" square. You want it straight and true.
I figured out that you need a round-over router bit with a radius exactly half of the desired diameter.
(sure, it sounds obvious now, but took me a while to get there...)
(why am I telling you that? uggh)

Is that my no-plate, barebones router table hard at work again?

Flush out a round-over bit, in this case 5/16" radius. (need fair transitions with no lines)

Leave the ends square. I marked and left 3 inches for stability. (put the pencil down...kick it towards me slowly)
A single pass to all four sides, keeping the stick pinned with a pair of pushpads.

Snip them off carefully. I backed them up at the miter saw.

I stained the perfectly round 3" dowel for visibility.
Keen eyes may spot the perpendicular grain of the true quarter sawn oak running up and down.
Note how the medullary rays run perpendicular to the grain.
The little boxes in the pattern are surprisingly square.

My dowels were quick to make, once I got past the head work.
They are perfectly sized to fit a 5/8" dia forstner bit hole.
I was surprised to see how clean they turned out, fair, no chatter or burns, and barely any sanding required!
*Obviously this technique is versatile for many dowel sizes, and a keeper*

I just saw another option for the recline adjustment holes.
American WW magazine has just redesigned their layout.
In the Oct/Nov issue is a plan for a modernized Morris chair!

The article says to buy or turn your dowels... which is not much help.
But with an intriguing twist:

Instead of the dowels mounting into arm holes of the same diameter.....
a length of 1/4" solid aluminum rod is epoxied into a shorter length of dowel.
This allows the receiving holes to be smaller, which allows more of them.
That chair offers seven, count'em, seven different recline positions.
Just something cool I saw, and wanted to pass it along in our ongoing adventure.

So, another build obstacle overcome... I have my dowels! (they even have ray fleck)
be well,

ps I do not know if it was a factor in my lucky first try, but I machined my
stock to 0.650" square---just .025 thou oversized (?)

gary Zimmel
10-02-2008, 10:58 PM
Good Day to the Creek

The first chair is done! Well except for....

I went to make my pegs tonight and found I
didn't have a 5/16" round over bit for my router.

Had to try Walts way of making dowels so I made
some temp. 1/2" ones. Worked like a charm.

At the last minute I opted not to put the chamfers on the arms.
Seems to make them look a little more stout.

All in all I am happy the way this one turned out.
The bowed arms were new to me and caused a little stress.
Next one we will know a few more tricks to make it go smoother.
Like Nathan I have all the parts made for the second chair.
It's off to the finishing room to get the rest of the staining done.
And now I have to make some decisions on the cushions.

Thanks for looking....

Andy Stott
10-07-2008, 12:33 PM
I am a woodneter who was directed to this posting when I had questions regarding my upcoming Morris chair build.

I was able to get through 75% of the postings; good info. I'm anxiously waiting to see how most of you tackle the cushions. I was also interested in how you all tackled the bent lamination, very interesting info on glues. Regarding the cushions, how does the faux leather compare in all ways to real leather i.e. touch, look, and durability. I'm willing to skimp on the upholstery if it feels and will hold up as well as leather.

Andy in Pecatonica, IL

David Fortin
10-09-2008, 3:34 PM
Hi Andy.
I got a really good deal on a leather hide for chair #1 (discontinued dye lot) and it worked great. I bought 3 yards of faux leather for Chair #2 (needed a specific color) and while I have not had the cushions made yet it looks and feels like leather. No leather smell of course. I am told by upholsters that it will wear well. Unless you are experienced, I would have the cushions made by a professional. I initially thought my wife could do it with her machine but when we saw the professional result, there was no way she could come close on 1 try.

Walt Caza
10-10-2008, 6:53 PM
Good Day to the Creek,
Besides my routered oak dowels, I have not touched my chair since August.
I have been having increasing trouble with my hands, which is scary and a drag.
The air has changed, and I am unsure if I can complete my chair before winter.
I am certainly gonna give it my best effort.
Early in this thread, I referred to mounting the bow arms as the Big Hurdle.
I am gearing up to tackle the BH next.

My bent lamination bow arm did have a little springback.
As has been discussed here, instead of using the bending form arch for mounting...
I also am using the actual arm to determine the shape.
What could be more meaningful than that?
I traced the arm onto a pair of 1/2" MDF patterns, dowelled together.

The leg to rail offset means tracing across a gap. (at the dots)
I wanted to minimize fitting the bow arm onto the side frames by getting
a good fit from the start. Sanding it in sounded like it would suck.

The pair of dowels were drilled perpendicular at the drill press.
They allow the pair of templates to swap position, accomodating both
left and right sides.

I enjoy creative problem solving in the shop.
My silly templates fill the gap for accurate and easy tracing.
I hope more effort in layout, means less effort in sanding and fitting.

Now I am ready to trace the right side frame.
Swapping the dowelled arch templates will let me do the left.

I am only in this for the lessons and the laughs, anyway!

* continued next post *

Walt Caza
10-10-2008, 7:20 PM
On we roll...
The leg top layout is interesting. The front leg remains truly square.
The back leg gets chopped around 10degrees, but with a straight line.

This enables the back to be cut at the miter saw, which surprised me.
Thanks to Gary Z for mentioning that to me. (group build bestows benefits!)
I adjusted my saw to meet the angle of the pencil line from the layout template. (between 10 and 11degree)

The oscillating edge sander makes shaping the top rail a joy.
Go easy, the two-way sanding action cuts aggressively!

So, here is the marking template and right top rail.
At least some of my lovingly chosen grain remains... sigh

Viewing the front and back legs together, clearly shows the amount
the bow arms drop. Over the 3foot arm, it really does bend.
Keen eyes may notice the 'real' through mortises.

As I am gearing up to glue-up the side frames, I am thinking the longer open time
of white glue might relieve some hustle pressure. (tick tock)
Each side frame has 16 blind, and 2 through mortise and tenons.

And then when I glue the bow arms on top...
I am wondering if a dowel or two might be helpful to locate the arm and
prevent creep when clamping that critical assembly?
I guess I'll find out...

I want to welcome Andy Stott to the Creek. (a referral? cool!)
A Morris chair is a terrific project, and we are glad you found our thread of value.
We would love to see pics of your progress when you get building.
Wow, I bet it's alot to read our unfolding story all at once!
One of these days I am gonna read it over to see how it flows.(or not?)
be well,

gary Zimmel
10-12-2008, 12:48 PM
Good Day to the Creek.

I am finally moving into the final steps of the first chair.

As the weather has turned a bit colder my staining
has not gone as quick as I want. A little too early to fire
up the heating system in the shop. Still asking the man
upstairs for a little more of an Indian Summer.

Here are a few pics of how my staining turned out.

I am very happy how the ray flecks have shown up.
The top of the arms really worked out well.

A bunch of coats of hand wipe poly and # 1 is in the bag.

For the next chair I am going to do a couple of things differently.

First one is for the pegs that adjust the back rest.
Drilling a 5/8" hole with a forstner bit was not only a pain
but was hard to keep the drill level.
Next time I am going to use my Dowelmax and put 3/8" holes.
Maybe even a couple of more so I will have even more adjustment for the back.
Use a metal rod enbeded into a piece of dowel as Walt explained in an earlier post.
This way will be simpler and a little more accurate.

The second thing is using a router to trim up the arc on the top rails.
Got this idea from Walts post. With the way he has made the template to mark the arc it would be a snap to made the arc perfect with a trim bit.
I have a problem trying to cut too close to the line with my bandsaw to save on sanding....

Thanks for looking.....


Andy Stott
10-14-2008, 10:07 PM
Thanks for the info on the cushions. Everyone's chair is coming along very well

Walt Caza
10-15-2008, 6:05 PM
Good Day to the Creek,

Dewey, it is nice to hear that you are alive.
Gary your first chair is looking good.
Nathan, any progress on your second chair?

I found a little shop time, and worked on my chair sides.
They look much the same, as when I posted them before...
except a lot of time and effort was needed to sand, fit and glue.

I showed the offcut from the top rail arch in an earlier post.
Rather than dicing it up at the bandsaw, I left it as a single piece.
The offcut was used as a clamping caul, so I could use parallel clamps across the rails, trapping the slat tenons.
Otherwise, the arch on the top rail, would have made clamping unwieldy.
The masking tape was to minimize clamp bar marks on my sanded parts.
(kinda hard to see, thus more dots)

The top of the back leg was trimmed, along with the tenon.
The extra mortise depth is due to the scallops of the hollow chisel.
If the hollow chisel points were used to determine depth, the mortise would be left too shallow.
Perhaps I got a bit carried away and went too deep?
BONUS: keen eyes can spot the 1/16" leg veneers!

So now I have my chair sides arched and glued.
More hours in, yet they look the same.
(that's how it is sometimes...shrug)

A couple tips for would-be Morris chair builders.....
Be sure to mark the arm ends before removing from the bending form.
When the form layers were made, there is a 3" flat at the front of the arm.
(where your hands would be, if you were sitting in the chair)
Since that line was marked on the form, to make the form...
I transferred it to the bent bow arms as a point of reference. (more dots? I must've got them on sale!)

Without such marks, how would you know where to take the 36" arms from the 38" glue-up?
And if not taken from the right spot, your arm may not sit properly on your top rail, with the desired overhangs.

I danced with all of this the 'hard' way, and hoped to spare others...
(yeppers, it's the ole DAMHIKT)

continued next post

Walt Caza
10-15-2008, 6:36 PM
Moving right along...

The UF glue dries hard, unlike PVA's (yellow and white), which is why UF does not creep, and PVA's do.
The bow arms are built of plys, which wanna shift as you clamp them to the form.
To get a good clean edge from that glue-up, I was reluctant to use my jointer. (UF drips aplenty)
My poor knives have taken enough abuse from all this white oak!
(anybody wanna tell my sweet wife I 'need' another Byrd head?!?)

I cleaned up one good side of each arm at the edge sander. (as seen in my last posting)
I was prepared to joint that freshly glue-less edge, but they layed nice on my tablesaw.
So, I went ahead and ripped those 3foot bananas.
I cannot recall ever having ripped an arched part at the tablesaw.
It felt odd, but I proceeded with caution and it worked fine.

The rail arch offcut came in handy yet again.
I used it as a ramp to trim the arm fronts on my sled.
(ohh, how I love blue and green tape!)

The 3" reference from the bending form, helped me locate where to trim the arm front ends.(hands)
You may notice that my pet crosscut sled is adjustable.
I will never make another sled without tunable fences. (mine is out 1 thousandth over a foot)

**Can someone suggest how they would trim the back end of the arms?
(where they meet the chair back---at the Big dot)
I have the lines drawn, and the angle is 72.5 degrees...
but it is on that arch.
I could tilt the tablesaw blade, but that would cut my pet sled.
Maybe I will run the needed bevel right thru my old sled's fences?
How did you make this cut?

Before they are attached on top of the chair sides, the arms must be cut to shape.
**Did you just cut these bananas at the bandsaw? Keen eyes will spot more dots...
Anytime the workpiece is not flat on the table, there is a risk to kink the blade.
Did you use the same shape as the bending form?
Or did you use the plan dimensions to make the arm topview shape? (which differs)

Thanks for looking,

Nathan Conner
10-16-2008, 9:17 AM
Hey, Walt, looks GREAT! Yes, I had the same issues in the top of the legs with the mortise depth. But it's strong and holds fine. Plenty of room for the glue to wander around. Gary, your finished pictures make me jealous of all the oak in the house. My Alder seems a pittance next to these guys. Also, I followed your example on the second chair and ran a couple of relief lines on the back of the corbels, only gluing down the center. What a difference! No squeeze out! I shook my head and noted another new trick.

What I did with the arm shape was to trace the pattern from the book onto the underside of each arm and then cut oversized on the bandsaw, flipping the arms upside down so that I always had a flat surface on the table. It was quick and painless to tilt as I cut to keep some semblance of flat. Then I took a plane and a scraper and a machinists square and cleaned up the edges until I had good clean lines everywhere.

I've had a little shop time - enough to get the base assembled and sanded, ready for finish and machined all the parts for the seat and back. Unfortunately, though, I goofed in my planning. As I was sifting through stock, I picked the really nice pieces for the A chair, and not so much for the B chair. I did the A chair, first. I learned enough the first time through that the B chair is turning out structurally more sound and cleaner, but the wood quality isn't so nice. Oh, well.

I have had an interruption, though - I was outside a week or so on a really chilly morning (our first frost) and happened to catch sight of my electric meter spinning wildly out of control. The little black mark was a blur. "Self", I said, "tis' time for some insulation". The 7.5kw heater in the shop really, really draws the power, and raises our bill by an easy $70 a month, and the panels of closed cell foam have been sitting in the shop for about 9 months. (There's no insulation on the shop ceiling, just sheeting.) So, off to Craigslist and I found some used scaffolding (12' ceilings in the shop) for about $75. Cleaned it up with the sandblaster and assembled it, then spent the next several days insulating the heck out of everything in the shop. That, of course, led to another trip to Big Blue for some more panels, a cheap luan door, and lots of studs to enclose the compressor & cyclone/filter box in their own 6'x6' room in the corner and some planning about where to put the big old Delta lathe after completion. That ate up the rest of the week, building the walls and installing the door. Now, though, the room is complete, and it's time to insulate and sheetrock it this evening after work. A little mud and paint tomorrow and THEN, the shop can start to go back together and let me get back to work on finishing up chair #2. If I'm lucky, it'll be ready for a finish on Monday or Tuesday in that nice new comfy warm (and quieter, I hope) shop. Oh, and I have to put some new lighting in while I'm at it. (*sigh*) It never ends.

But I'll post some side by side pictures in a few weeks, and hopefully, by then, I'll have made up my mind and made some progress on the cushions.

Or maybe not.

gary Zimmel
10-17-2008, 1:27 AM

I cut the end of my arms at my miter saw station.
Put them on edge and used a block behind it to give me some stability.
If I remember the angle was then between 10 and 11 degrees.
I have a 12 inch saw so I was able to get threw it.

I to used the band saw to cut the second arcs on the arms.
I made another template out of cardboard from the plan to give me the shape.

Your chair is starting to take shape. Great job!

As a side note I did a little shopping for hides today.
Can't believe I got prices from $3.60 to $9.50 a square foot.....
We need 100 square feet. Errr.
Flippen cushions will be a pretty penny.
Two more coats of poly and the first chair done.

Will post a pic of the chair and an otto in the next couple of days.


Walt Caza
10-21-2008, 3:22 AM
Hello Everyone,
I have been busy chasing my tail with all the colours of life. (thus another 3am post)
I know that if I do not start some Christmas projects that I have in mind...
I am unlikely to finish them (bad pun) in time for the holidays. (goose egg last yr)
I found 2 hours of shop time after work, and pushed my bow arms forward.

The arm top shape required a bendy pattern to lay down in the arch.
Thanks for the cardboard suggestion by Gary.

The arm shape was traced onto the arm bottom. I had been wrestling with how to safely cut them crown up. (duh)
Thanks for the suggestion by Nathan.
The arms were cut at the bandsaw, crown down... saved this clown.
I had no trouble, and a little confidence boost in this method by Nathan.

The arm 'tails' were rough cropped with a handsaw, and then sanded to my lines which were marked on all 4 sides.
Tricky not to burn so much end grain.

The arm offcuts fresh off the bandsaw. The 4 plys were taken from a single 8/4" rough board.
Hopefully the arm side joints and gluelines will not be too conspicuous. (looks good so far)

I was concerned that bringing the curved sides and arms together with glue might cause shifting.
A single dowel in each front leg top should tame this crucial glue-up.
Now there will be just a single adjustment necessary of the overhang at the back leg.

Just one underarm dowel into each bow arm.
Once again, my love of blue tape cannot be concealed!
Here it makes a quick and dirty depth stop. (kinda hate to spoil these arms now)
The real depth stop on the drill bit is set perfectly for my Dowelmax.
I did not use that jig on this chair, but the bit fits 3/8" dowels beautifully.

Like many busy hobby ww'ers... I have not been able to find enough shop time.
My dry fitted arms will need to be sanded-in to a pleasing fit underneath.
The dowel means that the two parts are now fully located to one another.
This will be a boon to that fitting.
Imagine trying to tune the fit of two curves, without a positive register. eek

Since my front and back stretchers are already fitted, I am nearly done my chair sides.
After that..... just a pair of frames will make the back and seat.
Since Christmas is already marked on the calender, and my Morris chair imposes no such deadline...
I may push it to the back burner to start a couple of gifts.
I'll have to see which way the elusive muse moves me. (triple 'm' score)

I would trade my entire kingdom, for more shop time!
It is one of the few things I do in life, where I forget about the clock.
Sometimes I even catch myself whistling amidst the sawdust!
take it easy,

Walt Caza
10-25-2008, 12:37 PM
Good Day to the Creek,
For those keeping score at home, this is the third time I use my arch offcuts in assembly.
If you want to use parallel clamps, I suggest you keep them in one piece, and keep them handy.
99384 99385
-used as cauls to glue side slat tenons pinched between rails
-taped to crosscut sled as ramp to trim and square arm bent lams
-as clamping cauls to attach bow arms onto sides

Yes, they look similar to my dry fit pics...
but now there is an actual glued woodjoint to show.
I put another 2 hours into each side, for painstakingly tuning the arch joint, handplaned foot and tenon chamfers and fussy glue-up.
Many dry fits took patience, but anything less than tight and tidy arch joints would have bothered me for decades. (as would wood filler)
99386 99387

Both sides of the story. I am glad to be over the Big Hurdle! whew

Still with us? Thanks for lookin'

*Bonus trivia question: I will buy a Coke for the first Creeker to post which
band did the song in my post title. (hey, no googling)

Dewey Torres
10-25-2008, 6:32 PM
*Bonus trivia question: I will buy a Coke for the first Creeker to post which
band did the song in my post title. (hey, no googling)

Led Zeppelin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Led_Zeppelin)

glenn bradley
10-26-2008, 11:15 AM
Things are really coming along. I have been remiss about posting here. I contribute that to my disappointment about not being able to join in due to some conflicts. I think the whole idea of going through this together is great and hope to join Walt on a future build. Keep up the great work. I better get my current effort brought to ground and move on.

scott spencer
10-30-2008, 4:28 PM
Seeing all these QSWO chairs is giving me an itch I can't scratch! I must confess that I had lost track of this thread and haven't paid much attention, but they sure look great though. Nice progress by several of you!

Walt Caza
10-30-2008, 5:21 PM
Hello Everyone,
Not much shop time this week. I did manage to glue my stretchers.
It took less than an hour...but what an hour it was...

Usually, before a critical glue-up, I prepare to do it.
Take the clamps down off the wall, and open the jaws wide.
Glue ready. Tape off to protect where the bars might harm sanded parts.
Catcher cardboard underneath, to protect cast iron flat reference surface.(my saw)
Skew chisels ready to winkle away squeeze-out. Assembly mallet.
A couple folded and moistened paper towels, to try and keep hands clean(ish).
Cauls ready. Note the starting time for complicated glueups.( gotta beat the clock!)

For tricky assembly, I sometimes even do a little 'skull' practice.
That is to say, a mental walkthru of the glue hustle dance steps before starting.
Normally I make a huge effort to get my shot together.

But this time.......
Somehow all that went out the window, and cold air rushed in! :confused:
So after work, I ran enough shop heat to apply white glue.
I have bought, and been using white glue on this chair project, due to the longer open time. (I'm a yellow man)
I did just read, however, that white PVA is not quite as strong as yellow. I hope that's not true!
I was under the impression that they were comparable, except for open time. uggh

Knowing my stretchers had been fitted back at the end of August, I just went casually ahead.
I smeared glue up to 1/2" away from the ends of all four thru tenons.
No big deal, I inserted them all they would go, which was just a little, and started clamping to drive them in.
Well, the length of those tenons exceeds the jaw range of parallel clamps, costing time.
Compounded by the fact that I wasted time running around doing all the things I should have done before starting.

I forgot to check the clock, But I was sure it was beyond 20 minutes(ish)!
I was still searching high and low for paper towels to wipe my hands.
(I considered sacrificing my pet Rush shirt I was wearing. mm)
The joints were not closed. Tick Tock.
Much to my chagrin, the joints would not close.
A nice snug fit, plus glue= panic. (in my excited voice) That's bad math!!
As I realize my predicament, I know that I could scrap my chair right here, right now. (and for an audience too!)
Sam Maloof said to leave room for glue. Good tip.

I scamble to locate my soft faced dead blow hammer.
It has been my pet persuader since my machine shop days as a kid.
In a flurry of mad swings, tick tock, I coax this side a little.
In ever-more-excited whaps, I get that side to move a hair.

I had to keep the side frames pretty parallel, or the racking just seized the show.
I took it all too lightly. Skipped my prep routine.
My head was already at dinner. Did not have my persuader handy.
Flirted with a mini-disaster. Receded my hairline ever further.
But finally got them to close. I was drained and panting by the time it was over.

Funny how quick the shop can humble us.
Mad at myself, for having fussed so many details thus far, and then
fumbling and fudging final frame assembly. (quadruple f score)

My tail may be between my legs, but my chair stands upright now!
What a jack...um..er... donkey.


ps I damaged a pair of leg veneers in my frantic hammer smashing. fudge
It's hard to hammer around all those corners... splintered mess

Rod Sheridan
10-31-2008, 9:00 AM
Hi, I've attached some photo's of the chairs I built 7 years ago.

The back slats on the chairs are steam bent, and are 3/8" thick.

Diann did the upholstery work for me.

The finish is two coats of Watco Dark Walnut Danish Oil, followed by one coat of LV Polymerizerized Tung Oil sealer, then 4 coats of Polymerized Tung Oil/Sealer mixed 50/50.

Then a couple of applications of wax.

My kids call them lawn chairs........Regards, Rod.

David Fortin
11-03-2008, 3:50 PM
I realize that this is probably not what either Morris or Stickley had in mind when they designed their chairs. But if they hear my explanation I think they will understand. I do know that Morris’ intent was to provide a comfortable place for the middle class workers of 19th century to rest at the end of the day. This is a gift to my brother for his generosity in sharing his NE Patriots season tickets. He is definitely middle class and works hard. This chair will be in a room that is really a Patriots shrine and any other colors would look out of place (it also works well for the Red Sox). He originally wanted the spindle version that the group was building, but the original Stickley 1906 version grew on him and he changed his mind. He chose to have it made out of ash (he saw it on our ash entertainment center, but he also liked the baseball bat link). The finish is Bush Oil and maintains the Stickley preferred satin finish. The cushions are faux leather (I really needed these colors). They were professionally done for $275 plus fabric (about $100).

Congratulations to the group: the chairs all look like they have crossed or are approaching the finish line in great shape. My only regret is that I didn’t get to build the “group” spindle version. I did however enjoy following the group build, and would participate in another for the right project but I have no idea what that might be.

Walt and Gary; you should be justifiably proud with what you started and pleased with the results.

Walt Caza
11-05-2008, 12:05 PM
Hi All,
We have a winner ..... Dewey won the trivia contest!
I look forward to sharing a sodapop with you sometime.(just gotta figure out how);)

Thanks to Glenn B., Scott S., and David F. for your generous kind words.
We did not do this thing for applause, but it is warming to receive!
It has been fun, but it takes time to snap and post pics and details.

Thanks to Rod S. for posting his pair of highly figured oak Morris chairs.
It's great to see some variety in design, and amusing to hear them referred
to as 'lawnchairs'. Thanks for throwing-in a bonus finish schedule to boot!
You will be mentioned when I do the honourary Morris builder list.

Thanks for another terrific chair by David F.
It cannot be denied you have captured the spirit of the A&C movement.
Your Stickley design is a special gift that will keep giving for decades!
I dig those plump corbels, and a nice story of generousity back and forth.

My own chair is nearing the homestretch. I will soon post my corbels and seat cleats.
Time for me to start considering colours and upholstery options.:confused:

Fair warning to anyone who may have felt they 'missed the bus'.
While we have encouraged builders to do their own thing, at their own pace...
I have it from a pretty reliable source that Dewey is pulling his shop together, and aiming to begin his Morris chair soon.

Maybe others would like to start around the same time?
As we saw from Dewey's excellent inlay tutorial, his pics and posts are top notch.
Anyone wanna catch the next wave with him?

As we have blazed a trail, demonstrating that a group build is possible and rewarding, I have tried to steer the ship.
I know I have been longwinded, but I wanted to tell the story, and I knew that anyone could skim it or skip it at will.
I have tried to be the glue guy, to keep us rolling.

Gary and I want to thank the Creek for the support, and the bandwidth!
Creekers are pic hungry, and we offered what we could...
but over 20000 views exceeds all expectations, and shows super support.

Special thanks to Nathan.
Gary and I just did what we said we would do, but he came to play.
Nathan both lead and followed. Built and shared.
Struggled and overcame. Lived and learned.
His excellent efforts were a solid contribution to our build and our community.
He really rounded out the team. Thanks man. Nice building with you.

So, it has been quite an adventure. Plenty of variety and lessons.
I am pushing to wrap up my chair before Christmas.(yet another lame pun)
Soon I will get going on my matching ottoman.

As the Great Morris Chair project rolls on...
it won't be long, before Dewey is driving the bus!
He has proven to be a great guy, woodworker and soldier.
Perhaps someone would like to take a ride with him?
be well,

Dewey Torres
11-05-2008, 2:58 PM
My contribution to this thread will officially kick off this weekend. We have a long weekend ahead of us for Veterans’ Day and I plan to spend a good deal in the shop.

As Walt eluded to, I will be driving the thread soon and it would be great if I could find out where everyone is on their progress/ plans to start… or maybe like, me you were delayed due to some other project which is completely understandable.

I totally trashed my shop and spent the better part of last week getting it pulled back together and tuned up. I cut a ton of pressure treated pine on my band saw and table saw and fouled up my dust collection system but I have all these things fixed now. I built a new drill press table to (hopefully expedite) the mortise work which lies ahead. I plan on using a mortising attachment and I find the holding device it came with cumbersome at best.

The beautiful QSWO I purchased is so long I can’t stand it on end in my shop and so it lives on my bench until I get some dimensioning done. I will look to do that first as I really need the use of my bench.

Hopefully I am correct in assuming that most of the mistakes have already been made by Walt, Nathan, and Gary so all I will have to do is follow along and try not to make the same.

As part of my trademark (and probably against what Gus would have done), I am going to incorporate some form of inlay or marquetry. I have not yet decided on what to do but it has to be tasteful and not take away from the Arts and Crafts form. I wouldn’t mind hearing your thoughts/ ideas.

Walt Caza
11-06-2008, 11:39 AM
Good Day to SMC,
The stressful struggle to secure stretchers was a misadventure for sure.(bad for your underarms)

In hindsight, I recall my concern, when fitting those true through tenons...
the chair has tons of structure against racking from front to back.
I hand-fitted the f & b stretchers more snug than usual, which is a huge finesse job,
in an effort to ensure no side-to-side wobble in the chair.
Which, I fear, would have sent me looking for a match.(bonfire!)

It takes many patient test fittings. Try to insert the tenon. No go.
Take a hair off the tenon. Try again. And again. uggh
I just wanted to give it every chance against side racking... for now, and later. (seasons fly by)
You also gotta try not to lever out your mortises too much upon disassembly, lest you injure them.
See? Tons of side structure, but sparse front and back structure.

I was prepared to template rout a set of matching corbels.
A big part of jig rigging, is knowing when not to jig.
I realized it may be a looong time before I need 8.75" corbels again.
So, quicker than I could have rigged the jig, just bandsaw and edge sand. Done.
I did make a keeper pattern though... for a rainy day.

I will say it for the last time (thankfully):
If you are working with parallel clamps, and curved parts...
keep your offcuts whole, and keep your offcuts handy.
Here, the top rail offcut is utilized a fourth time, and the corbel offcut also as a caul.
Yes, I like to use lots of clamps. Not for crushing pressure.
But for medium, all-over pressure, with oodles of control.
(when I saw some of my posts here, it looked like a Bessey commercial!)
100378 100379
Would have been a colourful glue-up without clamping cauls!

A tip of the hat to Gary... I ripped 1/8 x 1/8" stopcuts at the tablesaw,
to catch glue, and got zero squeeze-out on the surface mounting.
Sweet tip! I caught that Nathan liked it too...

My Darling blue tape was true again. On the saw table for the stopcuts.
And held the cauls so I could get a clamp on them with both hands. yeehaw

Just a little sanding, and I will have my decorative, under-arm brackets.(good for your underarms)
I made them protrude a little more than the plans pattern. I can only be me.
Hope ya get some shop time,

ps The chair sits solid, without wobble, at least so far. We'll see what Spring brings?
Looks like I won't be needing a stick and some marshmallows. whew

Ben Davis
11-06-2008, 12:01 PM
It looks great Walt. You're starting to convince me that I need to tackle my first chair with a Morris Chair.... I got loads of projects to get done first though. Maybe by spinr I'll be good to go!

Percy Barr
11-06-2008, 3:53 PM

Where did you find the drawing for this chair?

I have been looking for a Morris Chair with this type of sides. Great looking chair

David Fortin
11-07-2008, 8:10 AM
Here is the link to the plans I used. http://www.craftsmanplans.com/Furniture%20Plans_4.htm
It is Morris Chair #336. The only problem I noticed was the plans for the holes in the back of the arms show two different spacings. Fig 1 shows holes spaced 1 1/2 In. OC. Fig 5 shows spacing of 1 3/8 in. OC. I didn't notice until I was working on the 2nd chair. The 1 3/8 worked a little better for me. The drawings are clear, but study them carefully. There are no directions per se. My biggest problem was cutting the angled tenons for the rails. For chair 2, I used loose tenons and it worked pretty well. I used caps for the tops of the through tenons on the arms. Have Fun.

Walt Caza
11-08-2008, 2:23 AM
Hello Everyone,
The Morris chair seat is held up by a pair of double bevelled seat cleats.
To rip these bevels on my lefty tilt saw, I prefer to keep the fence on the
righthand side, away from the blade tilt.
Once again, I used my tablesaw overlay, as seen here. (link to ZC overlay)

The overlay serves to fill the gap under the ripfence.
Works great for cutting laminate too.
I used it earlier to resaw my 3/32" leg veneers on the tablesaw.
The blank was jointed for a good edge, to start each veneer.
And were dressed down to 1/16" on the leg after glue-up.

The overlay was plunge cut with the riving knife removed.(thanks Swenson's for paying full price for that lesson)
It is held in place by the bump screw and magnetic fingerboard.

My modification to the seat slant has it tilting 6 degrees, as seen in profile.

The screwholes were done with tapered countersink, and will be filled with tapered plugs.
A suggestion I learned from John Thompson, to give a more finished look. Thanks Sarge
100516 100517
The cleats will share and bear the weight of the passengers, and so were
both screwed and glued for strength and durability.
take it easy,

Dewey Torres
11-08-2008, 4:54 PM
I made quite a bit of sawdust today as I began work on the chair. It was nice to move all the wood off my bench and grab a box of chalk to start laying out the cut lines.

I bought a small bit of flat sawn white oak (FSWO) which I plan to use for the seat slats since you will never see that part anyway. I came out a bit cheaper on lumber that way. That FSWO piece was the first I laid out as I knew which parts I was going to use it for.

Next a began work on the legs. I am laminating 3 pieces of 3/4" QSWO toegther and using select veneers for the front and back to cover the seams. I got the legs demensioned and cut and the veneers cut as well.

(12) 3/4 x 24" x 2 1/4
(8) 1/16" veneers x 2 1/2 that will leave 1/8" overlap to trim flush.

My bandsaw, planer, jointer, and tbale saw got a workout today and WOW, I love the way QSWO smells.

I will be moving on to the glue up of the legs next.
Then I will clean the shop and prep for the next step. I am attaching a couple of pics of the veneers and legs before i do the glue up: more to follow!

Dewey Torres
11-09-2008, 8:15 PM
This morning I got all my legs freed from the clamps and got them all cleaned up and ready for the veneers.

I tried using my planer with a 1/2 mdf as a backer to get the veneers down to 1/16. Well it was working fine until I took too much off on one of the passes and blew out 2 of the veneers.

All this with an un-put-together Jet 16/32 drum sander that I could have used sitting in the corner of the shop laughing at me. Crap!

Well tomorrow I am going to Woodcraft to get some sandpaper for it and it is going to get some use. I could carry on with the same technique since I know full well why they blew out but the time I spent wit the double stick tape just isn't worth it.

Once I get the veneers all done, its off to the vacuum press for all four legs, then I can start the mortises. All this after I make some new veneer of course.

Dewey Torres
11-11-2008, 2:15 AM
Well this morning I went to Woodcraft as I said I would. Happy to get on with the chair and here I was met with one of the most clueless WC employees in the universe. Very nice but woodworking knowledge on a scale of 1-10 was... uhm lets say a 2 (being nice).

Got there and as "par for the course", I bought more than I came for. bla bla bla, out and gone.

When I got back home I assembled my drum sander. You can read from the previous post to see why:rolleyes:. What did I find when I opened the box but the very same box of sandpaper I went shopping for. I really wish someone had told me it comes with sandpaper rolls. I was told by .... get this ... my local Woodcraft salesman that it did not! I am really beginning to hate that place:mad:!

Anyway, I got it all put together (see pic) and re-sawed some new veneer. After that it was off to the vacuum press (see pic). This glue up was a real challenge as everything wanted to dry on me. In the end I will have four legs ready to clean up and start mortising soon.

Dewey Torres
11-11-2008, 3:34 PM
Today I sharpened my 1/2 mortising bit (pic#1) and cleaned up the leg veneer overhang at the router table.

I ran into a problem here as I took too much off on one of the passes and chipped out the veneer on the corner. I am hoping it will go away or be less noticeable once a ease the edges. (see pic#3 close up)

I have a question before I go plowing into these legs. As you can see in the last pic I have labeled the "f" for the fronts as I like the grain best on those. 2 are on the veneer side and 2 are on the solid wood side. Will it matter stability wise which way I go in with the mortises? I didn't think it would just trying to be safe.

gary Zimmel
11-11-2008, 4:55 PM
Great progress Dewey. The way your going you will be done in no time...

On the leg that had a little oops, is it possible to put that leg
at he back to hide the little tear out?

I didn't run into that problem as I cleanded up my veneers with a hand plane.

As for the mortises. I don't think it is going to matter one way or another
which way the legs are. But I'm sure someone else with more knowledge
will chime in if we are wrong...

Walt Caza
11-12-2008, 9:54 AM
Good Day Dewey,
It's great to see you got started.
Congrats on getting your drum sander going...
amusing to read that you went and bought sandpaper, then found the same was already in the box the whole time!
Isn't that just the way it goes for a hobby woodworker?

My pet peeve with glossy magazines and slick tv shows is that you would never expect to hear about such foibles...
yet they are precisely the way it seems to go most of the time.
Forget so-called 'reality' tv, I want reality shop coverage!
Perhaps that is a benefit of our sharing this group build...
a refreshing telling-it-like-it-is tale.

It could be hilarious to watch what a regular guy or gal goes through trying to set up shop and
build a little furniture in their sparetime. Big fun!

I also had a little tear-out riding a bearing to flush trim my leg veneers.
Likewise, when I eased the sharp edges, most went away.

My 2 cents are, that it would only be a matter of appearance locating mortises, since the cores are solid.
I have yet to put wood finish on my chair legs to reveal how visible the caps will be?
Structurally, I would suggest, should not make a difference...
if you are going to mortise right through the legs, and from adjacent sides.(crisscross)
My legs ended up with mortises poking through on all 4 sides.
I put my best caps forward on all 4 legs, but your mileage may vary.
I can't see a problem with your preferring to rotate a pair 90 degrees,
as long as your veneers end up discreet.
Being so thin gives them their best chance.

Great postings so far,

Marcus Ward
11-12-2008, 10:19 AM
Hi Walt, I see you are enjoying your Morris Chair project. I built one last year for my wife. It's all quartersawn white oak built according to one of the myriad versions of the Morris chair. I steam bent the arms and back. All joints are drawbored m&t. The whole chair was fumed in ammonia for 4 days and finished with shellac and wax. It took me 7 weeks every night after work and weekends. I'd like to build another one but I'm not sure I'm crazy enough yet.



Dewey Torres
11-13-2008, 1:08 AM
Well today was a bit challenging. I had grand aspirations to get a lot done on the chair and things started out great until…

I got my mortise layout done and set the four legs on my bench (pic 1) as not to lose site of where the mortises go.

Got all ready for the mortises and the attachment didn’t fit my drill press. I originally bought it for my Delta and now I have a Craftsman. I had 3 freaking sets of ring adapters that came with the set and they were all to small (pic 2):mad:

Off to the woodworkers solution school of hard knocks!

I took measurements of the inside diameter of the attachment and the outside diameter of my drill press quill to basically make a wooden gasket.
(cont on next post)

Dewey Torres
11-13-2008, 1:16 AM
Off to the scroll saw to cut the makeshift gasket and with a bit of sanding got a decent fit.

The hardest thing to cut on a scroll saw is a perfect circle!

Well in the end it all worked out as you can see in the pics but it ate my shop time for today. I did try it out on one of the legs and it didn’t take long to realize all this oak was going to be too much for my mortising attachment so I broke out a 3/8 drill bit a started hogging out most of the waste.

I will use the mortising bit for clean up only. All for today!

Walt Caza
11-13-2008, 11:22 AM
Fantastic posting Marcus,
Yes, I am enjoying our unfolding chair story.(dreadful pun)
My favourite aspect of this thread had been the wondrous variety,
and yet they are all Morris chairs.
You have really rung the bell, in bringing many elements not yet seen in our little chair adventure.

Any chance you are willing to tell us more about your fine chair?
I bet many would like to know if you worked from plans?
If so, where did you get them? Is that a Stickley model design?

You have brought some classic stylings to our party.
How did you steam your parts for bending?
Do you still cut the arm into plys first?
Do you think the backrest might be more comfy being bent?

Wow again, you fumed that beauty?
Tough to argue anything against your traditional colouring. How did you tent? Where did you get strong amonia?
Inquiring minds wanna know...
Strong touch going with the classic wax over shellac. whew-kickin' it old school

Nifty bottom arches on your stretchers and top backrest splat, which is also bent - tricky double curves!
Care to share your bending forms and technique?
Wow, gorgeous drawboring of your tenons...take that seasonal movement!

I see your seat will sit on four cleats...may I ask how you did your seat frame?
Another difference is your horizontal backsplats, vs vertical.
With so many differences between yours and the Wood mag. plans some of us are building...
it's hard to believe they are all bow arm Moris chairs. That's nuts.

Fascinating that one version uses vertical slats into upper and lower rails,
and the bow arm lays upon the rail with full glue surface and support.
While the other has just a single horizontal slat and single stretcher and
the bow arm floats across the legs, as attachment points, upon through tenons.
(we can coin it the floating bow arm Morris)hm..

I know a gentleman would not ask...
but do your leg top tenons really poke through your arms?
Are those terrific pyramids real or added caps?

Have you completed your wife's chair with upholstery?
Be sure to give us a peek of your cushions...

Great looking shop, nice workbench... it's like a mini-tour in your pics.
My only concern, is that your shop floor looks too clean...
any chance you swept a biiiiig pile just out of camera view?

I spoke with someone who was hesitant to post his Morris to this thread, because he felt his design was too different.
Please, one and all, I encourage you to post them---
as it only enriches our look at this hallmark piece of the entire Arts & Crafts movement.

Marcus you have added value to our discussion. I hope you might show and tell us a little more.
I appreciate all the time and effort it took to build and post your accomplished chair.
Great work, great build for your wife, great post and great execution of sooo many classic details. Wow!

I will be glad to add you to our honourary Morris chair buider list.
What are you building next, Mr. Ward?
I hope to see you in the sawdust,
be well,

ps *MW, you really got me stirred up, with just 2 pics...
If you have any more up your sleeve, please share them!

pss I hear ya, when you say you'd have to be crazy to build another...
I have been wondering if I am 'that' crazy too!

Marcus Ward
11-13-2008, 11:53 AM
Hello Walt, I will see if I can answer all of your questions properly.

Any chance you are willing to tell us more about your fine chair?
I bet many would like to know if you worked from plans?
If so, where did you get them? Is that a Stickley model design?

Yes I worked from plans. This is supposedly the actual Stickley bent arm design although there are so many permutations it's hard to say which is the actual design. The design was from "Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture" or the sequel, "More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture". I can't remember which book has the actual bent arm chair in it.

You have brought some classic stylings to our party.
How did you steam your parts for bending?
Do you still cut the arm into plys first?
Do you think the backrest might be more comfy being bent?Thank you. I got 2 peices of 6" chimney pipe from the hardware store, cut hardwood plugs for the end and that was my steaming chamber. I have a keg with the top cut off that I use to brew beer, I boiled the water in that, covered it with a hardwood plug also and ran a hose from one to the other to transfer the steam. The arms are 7/8" thick and I steamed them for about 90 minutes, maybe 2 hours, then bent them onto a form using all my weight and plenty of clamps!! The form is a little tighter curve than the actual arm as it springs back when released. I didn't cut them into plys first, just bent the whole chunk of wood. I think plys would have shown with my finishing method.

Yes, I think the back is probably more comfortable being bent, it tends to cradle the body more.

Wow again, you fumed that beauty?
Tough to argue anything against your traditional colouring. How did you tent? Where did you get strong amonia?
Inquiring minds wanna know...
Strong touch going with the classic wax over shellac. whew-kickin' it old schoolFor the tent I placed a sheet of plastic on the ground and set 2 sawhorses on it with the chair inside. I covered the sawhorses with more sheet plastic and taped all seams, leaving one part open. I put a large ceramic dish of regular strength household ammonia inside directly under the chair and then closed it up for 4 days while it darkened up. I have read that you should use heavy industrial strength ammonia but I have found that that's not necessary. Regular ammonia works fine. It comes out kind of a silvery-grey color and upon application of shellac, darkens up to the rich chocolate brown you see.

Nifty bottom arches on your stretchers and top backrest splat, which is also bent - tricky double curves!
Care to share your bending forms and technique?
Wow, gorgeous drawboring of your tenons...take that seasonal movement!For bending I Just cut 2 shapes from plywood and screwed 2x4 peices between them to make a rough shape. Since I'm steam bending and not laminating, I can be sloppy in the form as the wood will tend to take a gentle curve. I have a stanley compass plane I used to clean up all the curves afterward, even the arms. I find it indespensible for this kind of furniture. I wanted to do through-tenons on the legs but the legs are hollow, using a lock miter bit. If I do it again I will make them solid and veneer the off-faces. Getting the lock miters perfect is a heart attack.

I see your seat will sit on four cleats...may I ask how you did your seat frame?
Another difference is your horizontal backsplats, vs vertical.
With so many differences between yours and the Wood mag. plans some of us are building...
it's hard to believe they are all bow arm Moris chairs. That's nuts.For the seat I just made a square frame about 2" wide from oak with bridle joints. I used webbing stretched over the frame for the seat base with padding and then covered in fabric. It fits down on the cleats and the cushion sits on top of that. It's very comfortable. Stickley had several designs for morris chairs, including a flat armed one that was published in his Craftsman magazine for people to build at home. The number of various types is amazing, even just the ones Stickley produced boggle the mind.

I know a gentleman would not ask...
but do your leg top tenons really poke through your arms?
Are those terrific pyramids real or added caps?They're caps! I couldn't cut the mortises cleanly enough to leave just the center poking through, plus the legs are hollow, so I made the cap with a tenon that fits down into the leg and is pinned on the inside face of the arm. I wish I could have done it properly but I didn't have the skill at the time.

Have you completed your wife's chair with upholstery?
Be sure to give us a peek of your cushions...She has cushions on it but they're not finished. It's terrible, we have a friend who is an upholsterer, we just haven't gotten around to it. I will have to get the cushions finished so it can be presented properly.

Great looking shop, nice workbench... it's like a mini-tour in your pics.
My only concern, is that your shop floor looks too clean...
any chance you swept a biiiiig pile just out of camera view?I do a lot of hand planing and it piles up deep and fast so I try to keep it swept. There is probably a huge pile just out of frame, however. ;)

Here are some pics of the workshop and bench. http://www.f-64.org/bench/

I spoke with someone who was hesitant to post his Morris to this thread, because he felt his design was too different.
Please, one and all, I encourage you to post them---
as it only enriches our look at this hallmark piece of the entire Arts & Crafts movement. I would encourage them, I have seen some VERY VERY different morris chair designs that are actual morris chairs produced during the arts and crafts era. I think almost any design is fine, a morris chair is just basically the earliest form of easy chair, with a back that leans back and a sloped seat, no?

Marcus you have added value to our discussion. I hope you might show and tell us a little more.
I appreciate all the time and effort it took to build and post your accomplished chair.
Great work, great build for your wife, great post and great execution of sooo many classic details. Wow!There are several pictures here taken while I was finishing the chair. They show the tone of the wood after fuming and the pin on the cap, and some other details, if you're interested:


I will be glad to add you to our honourary Morris chair buider list.
What are you building next, Mr. Ward?
I hope to see you in the sawdust,
be well,
WaltThank you, Walt.

Next project is a sewing table for my wife inspired by the Greene&Greene Bolton Hall Table. I'm building it out of cherry with a lye wash / shellac / wax to get an aged cherry tonality out of it. It's got the requisite cloud lifts and pillowed pins at every joint. I hope it turns out well. :)

Walt Caza
11-13-2008, 12:32 PM
Good Show MW,
Talk about asked and answered!
(what is this, Law & Order?)

Great work and great sharing.
I dug up a couple of old threads started by Marcus covering his sweet Morris chair.
Link to his build thread with lots of great pics:

and another link, this one to his fuming thread:

I was surprised to read that this was his first furniture project!
This is how you contribute to our Creek in spades.
Top marks for woodworking, and top marks in posting.
It just doesn't get any better than that!
We can all be inspired by both, to raise our own game.

I hope you get some shop time,
Keep up the good work,

ps we can't wait to see your work with Greene & Greene

Dewey Torres
11-13-2008, 9:56 PM
I made a little progress today.

I finished drilling the mortises and started cleaning them up with the mortiser. My fix isn't a strong as I would have liked but it is working. I will be able to tell more tomorrow if it is going to hold up.

If this fix doesn't work I will just go pick up a benchtop mortiser and be done with it. We will see!

Marcus Ward
11-13-2008, 11:00 PM
Dewey, if you plan on making a lot of mortise and tenons, a benchtop mortiser is great. I have one and use it a LOT. If you don't typically build this kind of furniture though it might be too much expense. Also you could drill the mortises with a forstner bit and clean it up with a chisel. Just some ideas. Good luck!

Dewey Torres
11-14-2008, 1:28 AM
Dewey, if you plan on making a lot of mortise and tenons, a benchtop mortiser is great. I have one and use it a LOT. If you don't typically build this kind of furniture though it might be too much expense. Also you could drill the mortises with a forstner bit and clean it up with a chisel. Just some ideas. Good luck!

You sound like most here who have one.
Believe it or not, on my old Delta drill press that attachment worked like a champ. It may not have been as sexy as a dedicated one but I cut many a mortise on it. This may be a sign from the woodworking Gods though. As it turns out I got my $70 out it and then some so if this turns out to be the end of the line, I may get this:

Pat Germain
11-14-2008, 3:42 PM
Sorry to hear about the drill press mismatch, Dewey. Funny, your drill press quill appears to be the same size as mine. Yet, my mortising attachment goes on perfectly without any collar. I guess the Craftsman quill is just a little smaller.

I hope your engineered solution holds on. Otherwise, Gooooo Grizzly!

Dewey Torres
11-15-2008, 1:18 AM
I didn’t do any work in the shop because I have decided to go ahead with the benchtop mortiser. I did get a fair amount of research done on the inlays and found that Gustav hired Harvey Ellis to do inlays for his furniture. All of the pieces were limited in production and are highly sought after by furniture collectors. I have collected about a dozen designs and have a good idea what a faithful reproduction would take.
I am, however, not sure I want a straight copy. I am thinking about coming up with my own design based on the originals. I will know when I get what I want when I come up with something that looks like what the next design would have been if they continued to make them.

Walt Caza
11-15-2008, 9:51 AM
might now be the same as,

it's also fun to try, in a low dramatic voice:
...Gus, ...Harvey, ...Dewey!
(sorry folks, if you missed the boat - it's a Seinfeld reference)

Hi DT,
Making your own inlay design sounds cool.
Doing so with an eye on history is really cool.
But projecting their's forward to make your own ...is the coolest!
Sounds like a fabulous enhancement to your chair.

a hollow chisel mortiser sounds like a fabulous enhancement to your workshop!

We have discussed in this thread the need to tune and hone the chisels and augers.
I just wanted to share, that while I still do the first hone on waterstones,
which is on the messy side...
I now tweak the chisels while mounted in the mortiser, with diamond hones, which are quick and tidy due to being dry.

Also, once the chisel is warmed up, I touch paraffin to the sides, now and again.
Any melted wax that might drip down, I just dab with a paper towel.
I feel wax really helped me punch through the 2.25" white oak legs.
Bonus: it seems to quell that wicked screeching too! ick

Great enthusiam Senior Chief,
you seem to be really attacking this project...
good show,

ps we look forward to your progress posts!

gary Zimmel
11-15-2008, 10:33 AM
Sweet idea with the inlay Dewey.
It will take the chair and otto to yet another level.
How about a post with some of those original designs?

Any idea where you will incorporate it into your chair?

Pat Germain
11-15-2008, 10:55 AM
I am thinking about coming up with my own design based on the originals.

So, that would be a modified Celtic Knot?

Dewey Torres
11-15-2008, 5:01 PM
I ordered a book today that has all of the original designs. What I am posting here are just a few that I was able to dig up on the net. Some are copies and some are not originals but based on originals. This may be close to all of them because Ellis died in 1904 just seven months after working for Stickley.

Dewey Torres
11-15-2008, 5:07 PM
Some if these were taken from fellow "Creekers website"... had to give a shout out to http://www.sawmillcreek.org/image.php?u=7739&dateline=1218194749 (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/member.php?u=7739) Mitchell Andrus (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/member.php?u=7739)
at mitch@missionfurnishings.com

Dewey Torres
11-15-2008, 5:15 PM
Here are a few more:


Dewey Torres
11-15-2008, 5:24 PM
So, that would be a modified Celtic Knot?

oh come on.... Goodyear never credited the caveman!

Walt Caza
11-17-2008, 12:00 PM
Good Day to the Creek,
All that remains in building my first chair, of any type, is a seat frame and a backrest.
The original WOOD mag. plans called for the seat slat ends to be let into a groove in the seat rails.
Both the groove and the seat slats were called to be 3/8" thick.

Not that there is anything wrong with that approach, but I preferred to
build my seat frame with 3/4" thick slats, and traditional mortise and tenon.
I figured resawing thicker stock opens the door to possible banana issues.
Instead, I used 4/4" rough stock, and left my slats 3/4" thick.
Planing away more waste would not make much sense.

I pushed my seat frame through the planer as a batch.

I got to know how deep of a first cut I was making with my old planer.
No such luck with my new thickness planer... the feed gap is larger.
My tip is to make a known thickness spacer, and leave it handy on the planer.
I put the spacer on top of the batch, and just pinch it with the black 'idiot bar', which prevents a huge hogging cut.
Put the spacer aside, and I know that on my machine, the first pass will cut 1/32".
No more of those colourful hogging and groaning surprises!(or undersized stock)

I stumbled into 3 problems while making my seat frame.
My slats needed to be longer for a tenon on each end.
I was working from my own chicken-scratched sketch, to build my own designed seat.
I had not looked at the actual plans in weeks... I'd been free-lancing!

The problem is compounded by limited shop time, which is spread far apart.
So, all eager, I finally get into the shop, glance at the real plans,
drop my parts onto crosscut sled, and whack them to length with a stop.
It flashed thru my brain, that I had left lots of spendy oak to trim to waste.
Oh ya..., my tenoned frame is gonna be different than the plans. Shucks!
I trashed 7 slats and my thicker rails.
Once again, the yellow dot indicates the scene of the crime.
(ok...I have a stash of shop Halloween candy)
The 1 + 1/16" rail stub did prove helpful in setting up mortises.

Seat problem number 2, almost slipped right by security.
In re-cutting replacement seat slats and rails, I found my 7th slat in the ole scrap pile.
As I was about to layout mortises, I caught a glimpse of pin-holes, but just in one end of one slat.
An Imposter!
The pics show my real 7 slats, plus the rejected plain sawn Red Oak imposter somewhere in the mix.

Can you spot the imposter?!?!?
101295 101296

I will include the solution in my next post. (any of slats 1-8)
Turns out, that sawdust and chocolate is an eeexcellent combination.
As such, I will send whatever remains of my Halloween candy to the first Creeker to post the correct imposter number.
I hope to see you in the sawdust,

Dewey Torres
11-17-2008, 2:08 PM
My vote is for number 6...

get him out of there!

gary Zimmel
11-18-2008, 11:56 PM
Hi Walt

Being a lover of treats I will have to get into this.

Being that Dewey has picked #6 I can't win anything with that one.

After looking at the pic again #4 may be the imposter.

The reason I will go with it the grain is different than all the rest. Very close to #6 but without the splits in the grain as #6 has at the top.

How much candy will we win......

gary Zimmel
11-19-2008, 12:40 AM
Good Day to the Creek.

After taking a little break from the project it's time to get this second chair done.

Spent some time splitting the shop/barn.
My wife will have her side with 4 horse stalls and tack room
and I will have my dedicated shop.

After getting the wall up and moving some of my equipment around
I figured it would be nice to have a dedicated Neander section.
Picked up 6 sheets of cherry ply and started to make my base cabinets.
Got a little carried away and ended up with 7 that will have 28 drawers.
Can't have to many drawers can we....

Being the Neander Haven for this part of my shop all the drawers will be hand cut dovetails and will be 1/2 blind. Doors will be inset. Upper carcasses will be built in January and all in all it will look great in the shop.
I think it will take me more than a couple of nights to get all the drawers done......
This little project will be now put on hold to finish the chair.

Here is a quick pic of the bases.
Keeners will see how I screwed up one of the bases.
That one will have to be rebuilt.


Here are all of the parts for my second chair.
Most have been machined and they just have to be assembled.
In the next couple of days it will be getting after gluing up those bowed arms. After that it should be pretty much clear sailing....

Or so the story goes!

101431 101432

Hopefully the plan will come together before Xmas.


Rick Phelan
11-19-2008, 12:05 PM
I must apologize for jumping in so late in the game -I am building the Stickley spindle chair (QSWO) from the American Furniture design I got through Lee Valley Tools here in Alberta. I ordered some plans for a Hoosier and a Pie Safe and with them came a hardware catalogue that includes some angled/curved brackets and pins to replace the turned wooden adjustment pins. They appear to be quite considerably curved and the boilerplate advertising says they are so shaped to fit the 'curve' of most Morris style chairs. As most will know, there are no curves in the drop-arm spindle chair - I cannot find any indication of how this hardware might fit a typical Morris chair. Can anyone assist me in determining how these are installed?

I regret that I don't know how to attach a pic on Sawmill Creek, yet.

Many thanks and while I have been lurking, I have learned much and been humbled by the craftsmanship I have seen.

Dewey Torres
11-19-2008, 1:34 PM
Well yesterday I had thoughts of getting back into some wood chips but the folks that delivered for Grizzly Mortiser made a goof and left my machine on the dock in Denver :rolleyes:.
What ever….
So what does Dewey do when he is feeling down???
Buy another tool of course :D. I have heard plenty about the Ridged OSS and after months of contemplation I decided to go to the Orange BORG and pick r’ up last night. Review of this thread didn’t help much to keep me away from my spontaneous purchase:

I unpacked it and thought I had a dud switch until I called Pat, a recent purchaser, who informed me there was a safety key :rolleyes:. <- not readily apparent in the instructions by the way! … uhhhm or at least for me so please don’t post contrary making me feel like even more of an an I. D. 1. 0. T.

There are tons of things I like about the sander ß scratch that … sanding ensemble let’s call it… but one bonus is that it is very quiet and doesn’t take up one inch of space thanks to my lower shelf on the drum sander. With any luck I will be back to the chair construction by Thursday.

Glenn Clabo
11-19-2008, 1:42 PM
Rick...here's how...go to the first post.

Rick Phelan
11-19-2008, 6:07 PM
OK, here we go..., these are the items I was wondering about.


I hope that I am not in violation of any rules, attaching the pic for info purposes.

Any advice as to mounting procedure, ( where exactly, they might go and how), would be appreciated.

Thanks very much for leading me through this, Glenn.



Khalid Khattak
11-19-2008, 11:06 PM
Great thread..awesome work:)

Dewey Torres
11-20-2008, 8:26 PM
Well I unpacked my Grizzly bench top mortiser tonight and sadly found it arrived busted. Completely unusable! See pics.:(

Marcus Ward
11-20-2008, 9:32 PM
AGH!!! What a heartbreaker! I never trust those shipping companies, they're a little too hard on this stuff. My mortiser arrived with a cracked base. (delta)

gary Zimmel
11-20-2008, 11:33 PM
Things like that make one go crazy.

Any idea how long it will be to get another one Dewey.

Dewey Torres
11-21-2008, 12:53 PM
Things like that make one go crazy.

Any idea how long it will be to get another one Dewey.

Sent an e-mail to cust service last night and following up with a phone call today. Fingers are hereby crossed!

gary Zimmel
11-22-2008, 12:33 AM
I got a little shop time the past few nights.
Enough to get the two bowed arms glued up for chair #2.

Doing this the second time around was not as big a deal
as the first go around.

Only thing that ticked me of this time was the glue that
migrated to my clamps. Had a little extra glue squeeze out
on the first arm and as I wiped off the excess my 35 clamps
seemed to get in the way. Salt in the wound was that a few are
new (old stock) K bodies.

On these arms I ended up using 35 clamps.
Don't know if it's overkill but I guess use em if you got em....


My arms are now done and cut to size.
Next will be to use the cardboard template to get my outside curve.
When the arms go onto the chair I am going to use a dowel to line
every thing up. Thanks Walt for the little tip.


Tomorrow the slats for the side and bottom will be stained.
With any luck I my even get a side together.

Hope everyone has a good weekend and a little shop time..


Dewey Torres
11-22-2008, 1:05 AM
Does the bow arm bending process require a lot of pressure?

Both you and Walt talk bout these arms and use so many clamps I am worried. I don't have that many Bessy's and I was planning on placing a form in the vacuum press for my arms.

Now you guys have me thinking I may use 5 plys instead of three to ensure proper bending to the form.

Does that make sense?

Dewey Torres
11-22-2008, 1:33 AM
What did you all think about the samples?

My first thought was "ugly"... now they have started to grow on me a bit.

I have gotten as for as selecting my favorite bottom for my design which is really my version of the mission tulip base and have a good idea where I want to put them.

You see, I have had plenty of time on my hands with the mortising fiasco going on.

I am attaching a sketchup pic of the base I have selected for the inlay that will be in place of the scroll work on the center side slats. The black parts will be ebony. For the other parts I will have to research more as I have not yet came up with a design for the stem(s) and top and since there is no logical way to finish these with other techniques I am going with the fumed finsh... (please say a prayer for me).

I also plan on inlaying the front stretcher but have not came up with a design for it. I am all ears for sugesstions... don't be shy, I just might use your idea and become famous one day! I'll be sure to give credit as well.

Anyway, I have already started contsruction of the inlays and have documented the process but I will not post any of that until I am finished with all the inlay. That way it won't be hodge-podge.

Looking forward to your inputs. Please... without my mortiser this is all I have to work on:o

gary Zimmel
11-22-2008, 9:58 AM
Hi Dewey

About the bending process.

Only a few clamps are needed to get the arm bent to the form.
And the bessys don't have issue with the pressure needed.
I was worried that there would be a little void somewhere along the way.
Thus the use of a lot of clamps. Maybe a little extreme but better safe than sorry.