Outdoor Morris Chair

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Blog series by LegendInMyOwnMind updated 05-17-2011 01:09 PM 31 parts 53534 reads 29 comments total

Part 1: Gathering the materials

04-30-2011 06:27 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 6 comments »

Making Mr Thiel’s Outdoor Morris Chair from his excellent book (pic from his BLOG here).. Thought I bought lumber for two chairs. Made double the cuts and got part of the way through before I realized that I had not doubled the materials. Trip to Lowes Depot this morning and a lot of fumbling through the junk boards got me enough to hopefully do all the cuts I need. I love Mr Thiel’s book but I’ve got one minor quibble. There’s no cut diagram in the book and ...

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Part 2: Cuts done

05-01-2011 03:36 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

Finished the cuts yesterday. Realized that I was still one stick of wood short. Found a piece of cedar that might work although it seems pretty soft. Might actually make a nice accent being an aged piece of wood and I really love the smell of cedar. Maybe keep the bugs away as I’m sitting on the back porch. Just cut the 5 degree angle on front and back legs. Realized I could have saved time had I cut one front and one adjacent piece at the same time. Line up bottom and do the widthwi...

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Part 3: First leg done... Playing with jigs

05-01-2011 03:58 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

Got the first leg together. It’s square to the ground so I must have done something right. Had a hard time lining up the board. I knew the board would move and didn’t want to do a bunch of clamping. After all, I’ve got eight of these legs for the two chairs. Made a stupidly simple jig that would sandwich the two boards. Not going to measure since I feel my fingers can line up the sides easily enough. Marking the hidden top with the same orientation on the two ...

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Part 4: Fine tuning wood plugs

05-01-2011 05:35 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 3 comments »

I’m sure someone out there really knows how to do this right, but I really struggle with wood plugs. If I use the standard countersink bit it really tears apart the wood. That’s where a forstner bit really comes in handy. I can start a cut and get really clean edges. The next step that I really have a hard time with is a collared drill bit. Seems like I never can get the collar at just the right place. It takes me some trial and error to finally get a clean pl...

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Part 5: Really stupid mistake

05-01-2011 06:29 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 2 comments »

Put together all of the legs. I noticed I made a really stupid mistake. Hard to fix now, too! The back end should slope up and the front end should slope down. I installed both the front and back sloping down. Now I’m off by 10 degrees in the back. I’m going to try to solve it by recutting the back end on the miter saw. Now I’m even more glad I bought a 12” miter saw. I’m worried about what the impact will be to the design? The sloping board (under ...

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Part 6: Bottom sides done

05-01-2011 07:53 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

Got the bottom sides done. The legs stand square and look pretty good. Tricky part is alternating the side that the bottom support goes onto. Along the way, I made a small template to make sure that I get the holes in the side right. Carefully measured a piece of scrap that was the same width and added the three holes that I need to attach the sides to the bottoms. Drilled out the template with the forstner bit to get nice straight and clean template holes. Decided I am n...

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Part 7: Added upper side and trying to fix error

05-01-2011 09:41 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

I added the upper sides. They are pretty tricky since you have to do a long cross-cut. The book recommends using a jig saw. Unless you are a lot better than me, I can’t imagine that. I cut through it with the miter saw and finished it up with the table saw. Here’s the result. Now, what to do with the error earlier? I used the miter saw laser and figure the angle is now something like 7 degrees instead of 5 deg. From the previous pic there’s still enough room to get a...

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Part 8: Attaching the front and rear stretcher

05-01-2011 10:58 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

Added the front and rear stretchers. Used the two pieces of cedar for the back since it won’t be seen anyway. I m fairly amazed that the four legs in both directions fit flat on the floor. Of course, the wood floor isn’t all that flat so maybe I shouldn’t get too excited yet. Cut the 3-hole template board to remove the one hole side. That’s how I attached the front and back stretchers. Here’s a picture with one of the set of holes I drilled into the front/...

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Part 9: Added side slats and created a lot of blocks

05-02-2011 03:17 AM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 1 comment »

I think I am done for the day. I got the side slats on the two chairs. No big tricks there except that the crown is still there on the side tops. I cut the slats at 7 degrees to match my earlier mess-up. Slats are leveled at bottom side so they will be even. After all, if I have to do something to flatted down the crown I might as well fix the slats which are slightly too tall at the same time. The spacing of the slats was pretty close to what was specified in the book except that I...

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Part 10: Problematic side and back supports

05-04-2011 12:53 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

One thing is true in many things. Tolerances accumulate. The side supports for this chair require cutting a 1×6 diagonally down both sides. I had a buddy help me with that. Wish I had pictures of how he did it, because he cut them spot on. Basically, his technique was to screw the scrap side to a piece of rectangular piece of wood. He screwed it at the same angle that it would go across the board at. He did it something like this: Yet, when I installed the supports I found it i...

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Part 11: Seat slats and the router

05-04-2011 01:10 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

The seat slats need to be rounded over with a router to remove the sharp edges. As the author says “you don’t want to pinch something”. I temporarily set the slats on the chair and they looked pretty good. I would have guessed with slats 1” apart it would have been less comfortable, but it wasn’t too bad at all. The back is not installed yet so it’s not comfortable yet. To wait or not? My 15-year old can’t help me until Friday night so I might ...

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Part 12: This chair is big

05-04-2011 01:36 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 4 comments »

This chair really is big. Very wide. 24+inches wide in fact. .Here’s me sitting on it. Note, I’m a big guy and the chair is still big. I think two of my littlest kids could sit in one of these. Comfy big. In fact, the chair is so wide it makes me wonder. Standard cushions are 22” square. Does that mean I need to get bigger cushion materials?

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Part 13: Please be gentle - it's my first time (with the router)

05-05-2011 02:19 AM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 3 comments »

Did my first router cuts ever. Really want to show the kid that I can do something when he’s not here – even if it’s only marginally true. Cut the notches for the front slat boards and routed all by myself. I’m a big boy now. Here’s a couple of pictures: !

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Part 14: Chair slats installed

05-05-2011 03:24 AM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 1 comment »

Got the chair slats installed. Only one screw “missed”. Not bad out of 12 screws. Picked the best side of the wood for the routing so since that’s the side that is up. Only challenge was to find the spacing from the edge for the countersink hole. Too far and it misses the bottom board. Too close and you risk splitting the board at the end. Used 3/4” scraps with two pieces of 1/8” hardboard to make the 1” gap. Finished the other chair slats earl...

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Part 15: Fixing the crown under the arm

05-05-2011 12:42 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 1 comment »

Due to my earlier mistake (wrong direction for rear arm support) I had to do some trimming. This left the support for the arm with a crown under it. Hard to get a good picture, but this kinda shows the problem. Here the chair is from the top with arm and back support bar temporarily in place. Suggestions appreciated. So far the best thought I have is to take a power plane to it. I’ve leveled out doors before. Maybe using a guide bar. For sure marking it. Hard to nail it, ...

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Part 16: Test fitting the back

05-05-2011 01:45 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 4 comments »

The back, as the book notes, is different than the one in the picture. It’s got even slats instead of a wider one in the middler. Not sure which I like better. This one is less interesting, but still nice. Here’s a picture of the test fit.

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Part 17: Chair back and brads

05-06-2011 12:12 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

Put together the chair backs. Originally wanted to use my pneumatic brad gun just to hold the pieces, but it seems strong enough with the brads to do the job. Plus no wood plugs will be needed.

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Part 18: Fixed the crown under the arm

05-07-2011 11:20 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 1 comment »

My 15-year old fixed the crown under the arms of the chair using his circular saw. He’s really not afraid to try to fix anything. He always amazes me how he can just look at something and know how to fix it. Nice work, too. He did a few test fits and fixed all four of the arms for both chairs. Nice and flush now.

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Part 19: Attaching the back

05-08-2011 12:19 AM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

We learned a couple of lessons when we attached the back. #1 – The 45 degree angle shown in the book for the back at the rear bottom didn’t really cut it. The cut needed to be deeper. That was pretty tough to fix once the back was already in place. For the second chair we were able to fix the back angle before we installed the hinges. #2 – Hinges can be a bear to install. We temporarily attached the two ends with drywall screws which we drove in partially. After th...

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Part 20: What makes it a Morris Chair?

05-08-2011 12:30 AM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

The Morris Chair is said to have been the first recliner. The original Lazy-boy. This version of the chair has a twist on the traditional Morris chair. On the Stickley Morris chairs that I have seen there are tabs on the arm behind the chair and there’s a bar that goes across the back between the arms which is used to support the back. There are several places that the bar can be moved into. In this twist, the holes go in the arms and dowels go into the holes in the arm. The bar has ...

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Part 21: Plugging a million holes

05-08-2011 12:47 AM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

Ok, there weren’t really a million holes, maybe just a hundred or so. A couple of folks earlier suggested that we buy a set of plug cutters which we got at Lowes Depot for around $13. Since today is my birthday, I also bought myself a drill press. My 13-year old was enlisted to cut plugs and boy is he good at it. Slow, methodical with nearly perfect plugs from scrap wood. He filled the jar completely and we are about half way through and this is all that are left. He helpe...

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Part 22: Did I mention - this chair is big

05-08-2011 12:54 AM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 1 comment »

Yes, it is a big chair. Important to me since I am a big guy. I like a big comfy chair. That’s part of what attracts me to a Morris Chair. Turns out two of my littler kids can fit into the chair.

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Part 23: Don't Do What I Do

05-08-2011 01:04 AM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

Too often I just jump in and don’t do a test. Well this was one of those times. I figured I could cut off the tops of the wood plugs using my Harbor Freight Multi-master clone tool and I really could have done it. I had a new very sharp bit which I had never used before and I chose to not try it on a test place, or to try it in a place it might not be seen. Instead I tried it on the top of the arm near the front of the chair. I ended up gouging the wood. To my way of looking at it, it d...

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Part 24: More thoughts on finishing

05-08-2011 01:40 AM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 1 comment »

I know I need to do something to finish these chairs sooner rather than later. The finish might depend upon where the chairs end up. If they end up on the back porch then either paint or stain will do. Someone suggest spar varnish – which is what they use on boats. It’s UV resistant which is great. It will be on a covered porch, but will get the late afternoon sun. There are so many edges on this chair that it’s going to be a lot of work to stain. It would be a lot eas...

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Part 25: A Footstool

05-13-2011 10:53 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

The book didn’t have plans for a footstool, but there are plans here. With my new Drill Press Table, this should be a snap. I’ve cut the legs. And joined the legs together by moving the fence on my Drill press table and setting up a stop block. I love it, these are all identical. Here the legs are assembled.

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Part 26: First big mistake and assembling the legs

05-14-2011 02:19 AM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

My first big mistake was not realizing that the short and long parts don’t meet at same way on both sides. My pre-drilled holes were wrong on half of the legs. Oh well, I’ve got a good pile of wood plugs. I pre-drilled the tops of the legs on my new drill press table. I plugged the holes which will be visible. Compared to the chair, this footstool seems dainty.

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Part 27: Cushions! Ahh... So nice...

05-14-2011 02:36 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 1 comment »

Bought a set of outdoor cushions for the Morris Chairs. Regardless of whether or not the chairs end up inside or out, these will work. They had the “big ones” but I was concerned that they would still not be big enough. The color selections were somewhat limited, but I found a perfect match to the room. The colors in the room are dark brown, the trim is off white and the ceiling is red/gold. Here are the chairs in the room. Today I build the footrests!

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Part 28: Footstools in the Fancy room

05-14-2011 05:57 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

The legs on these footstool are really tiny. I split two of them even with countersinks. Think I’d be better off with 2×2 lumber.. I did manage to get one done. Not sure what to do about a cushion for the footstool. Maybe a thick throw pillow would work? Particularly interested in what color to do the cushion. I could buy one of the smaller chair cushions and cut/sew it down into two cushions. That way I can match the fabric. Or maybe just pick one of the colors and get mate...

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Part 29: Rethinking the footstools

05-14-2011 07:23 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

I am not thrilled with the footstools. Seems like too much of an afterthought. I would like to have had the same verticals between the legs on the sides. I like the top sides and slats. That’s a good feature. Thinking about redesigning the legs to be more consistent with the chairs.

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Part 30: Footstool legs

05-14-2011 11:28 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

Here’s my thought for what the side view of the footstill should be: Here’s how it is currently. Here’s a photoshop view of what I’d like.

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Part 31: Cushions for the footstool

05-17-2011 01:09 PM by LegendInMyOwnMind | 0 comments »

HD has seat cushions which fit the footstool pretty well.

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