Morris Chair #5: The Bent Arm Conumdrum

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Blog entry by Luddite posted 01-27-2015 01:39 AM 1715 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Fear and Loathing Part 2 Part 5 of Morris Chair series Part 6: A call to arms. »

26 Jan 2015

Darn it! Ran into a ‘conumdrum’ of being unable to make the crooked morris chair arm as I did in the past. You know, cut from corner to corner and flip the cuts around. Well, I’ve been kinda dreading this time. My bandsaw is just not up to taking a 5” piece. Using the table saw isn’t on the radar either. Hmmmm?

So as Baldrick would say to Black Adder: “Sir,I’ve a clevr idear. We could grow a tree with a 9.5 degree bend and when it gets to the right size we cut it off! So, simple as making rat-o-van by drivin ovr the buggers…..”

No, I’m thinking of cut and splice. That is, see drawing, as I can’t do the cuts I need on the bandsaw so what I plan on doing is:

Cut a piece for the arm with a matching angle and a piece for the front leg.
Join the pieces using a through spline and then pin and cap. I thought a mesquite spline would look good.

If anyone finds this note let the royal society know and that I need another case of Arrogant Bastard Ale.


-- T Loftus -- Just on the edge of common sense

6 comments so far

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4171 days

#1 posted 01-27-2015 04:47 PM

Why not just use a hand saw?

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View pintodeluxe's profile


5970 posts in 3265 days

#2 posted 01-27-2015 07:54 PM

I would put a fresh blade on your bandsaw, and give the guides and bearings a once-over. That is the easiest way to cut the slant arms. I wouldn’t be comfortable with a spline joint there—-that is where people push down to get up from the chair. It might work, but I would want to know for sure before I committed to using it in a finished piece of furniture.

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

View CaptainSkully's profile


1610 posts in 4010 days

#3 posted 01-27-2015 08:45 PM

The spline joint will be supported by the side of the chair, so I think you’ll be fine, and spline joints are pretty strong, especially if you use a hardwood species (make sure the grain is running across the joint instead of with it). If you make the top piece at 90° and the other at 95°, then they will have different effective thicknesses. It may be easier to cut both pieces at 2.5° so they mate up properly. This shouldn’t interfere with fitting around the cap tenon. Well done, sir. I myself will be building the bow-arm version soon. Love the blog!

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View lcwood's profile


219 posts in 3216 days

#4 posted 01-27-2015 11:04 PM

I made one many years ago using splines and it still holding very well.

I used not the best way, but the easy way to do the joint.

example: if I need 12 degree angle, cut the arm at 6 degree (half of 12), flip over one part and get the 12 degree needed. doing that, splines goes perpendicular in both pieces.

no pegs.
router do to the holes in both parts, floating tenon routed apart and yellow glue

curved arm is too much to me

View Luddite's profile


225 posts in 1690 days

#5 posted 01-28-2015 12:58 PM

Thanks to you all.

@kenn I thought about handsaw but even the luddite isn’t very good at this especially with 8 arms to do.

I’m going to try some joining on a test board and will post my results.
Once again, thanks for your comments.

-- T Loftus -- Just on the edge of common sense

View Hopdevil's profile


223 posts in 3537 days

#6 posted 01-31-2015 04:31 PM

Hi there,
You might want to try the method used by Rob Spiece in the Oct/Nov 2013 Woodcraft magazine. He took a cutoff piece, glued it to the bottom then cut the angle. Pretty clever.


-- Buzz ---- Of all the things I have ever lost, I miss my mind the most.

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