Morris inspired chair #1: The chair becomes real...

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Blog entry by Bob Babcock posted 06-08-2007 08:42 AM 2486 reads 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Morris inspired chair series Part 2: Dryfit.....sand.....glue »

I figured I’d best get this blog done or I’ll never do it.

Some of you will remember the morris inspired chair design I did in Sketchup.
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Well it’s finally starting to take a real form.

This is my 1st attempt to do anything that might be construed as fine furniture…we’ll see in the end if it gets close. I’ve already made a number of mistakes I’m not happy with…a couple of odd twists of wood that split….a couple of bonehead hits with my hand morticing of the arms. I actually hope to turn that into a positive. I cut the mortices on the top of the back wide as well on purpose. I’m going to try to include crossing wedged tenons.

I plan to finish the joints with pillowed dowels. My original design called for chamfered square plugs. I changed because I think it will be a busy enough piece already and the rounded dowels will soften it some.

Anyway…here are some pictures.

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Hand cutting to length on my Grandfathers miter box….I try to incorporate its use in some way in every project I do

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Drilling Mortices

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Squaring the corners and final shaving.

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I cut the reverse tapers in the legs freehand on the new bandsaw…YeeeHaaa! After tuneup I cut all the tenons as well…very happy with the results.

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Routing the upper and lower aprons. I made a quick pine template.

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Routing the dadoes for the rear seat support

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The curved back supports…more freehand work on the bandsaw…I’m loving this thing! I’m doing a quick 120 grit sanding of all pieces as I go along.

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The back goes together dry. Can’t wait to see the pegs in there, even if it will be covered most of the time. i’m thinking of doing through pins on the back….whadya think?

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Top Back

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The top mortice I purposely cut large to accept a crossed wedged tenon….after screwing up the arm the idea occured to me….so wish me luck. I’ll show pictures of the arms next time. I’m not as happy with how they look. i had a blow out when trying my hand at hand cutting the mortice. Not only did I cut it too big…I also blew out he bottom. It glued back in and will be covered by the shoulder of the leg but I’m still not happy.

-- Bob

13 comments so far

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5593 days

#1 posted 06-08-2007 08:48 AM

Bob, your design is coming alive and I love the look of it in real wood. The Sketchup picture looked good, but there is nothing like seeing it being made. I can’t wait to see more. Excellent work!

-- Jesus is Lord!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5443 days

#2 posted 06-08-2007 11:16 AM

this is WONDERFUL.
You’ve taken great photos for the blog. Thank you for sharing the step by step

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5582 days

#3 posted 06-08-2007 12:42 PM

A beautifully designed chair, & a very ambitious project.

Now it’s nice to watch it come together, piece by piece.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View gizmodyne's profile


1785 posts in 5373 days

#4 posted 06-08-2007 04:01 PM

Hi Bob…Everything is looking good. I love the curved design and like your just go for it attitude.

To avoid the blow out you really have to work in from both sides.. first carefully marking on both faces of the stock.

I have cut many through mortices….. you should think about getting a shoulder plane if you don’t already.. then you can cut your tenons snugly and plane them to fit perfectly. It is my favorite handtool.

Keep up the good work.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1823 posts in 5369 days

#5 posted 06-08-2007 04:18 PM

Thanks for the kind comments all.

AHAA!....a shoulder plane… I know what to put on my Father’s day list. I have to laugh at your “just go for it attitude” comment Gizmo….it’s called stupidity. My father in law (a fairly accomplished 85 yr old woodworker) just smiled when I showed him the design and said ” challenging yourself?

Nobody could have been more surprised as I was when the back went together fairly smoothly. The combination of all those joints having to fit together tightly was scaring me. A few minutes of pairing with a chisel and some small touches with rasp or file and it went together so tight it was difficult to get apart. I think I was just lucky

-- Bob

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5319 days

#6 posted 06-08-2007 04:30 PM

Bob! Outstanding. A dead blow hammer and a stanley chisel? You are the MAN! Your design is classic and clean, and your execution to date is equal to the task. I look forward to your next entry!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 5288 days

#7 posted 06-08-2007 04:50 PM

Very nice. I think you should add making it rock, swivel and recline just so you dont get caught up anytime soon..hehe

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View RonR's profile


71 posts in 5291 days

#8 posted 06-08-2007 05:02 PM

Looks great! Don’t sweat the blow out too much. We alll do things that don’t turn out quite the way we planned or expected. Part of the process is dealing with that and working around the problem. Most times, no else will ever notice anyways. Everything looks really well done to me. Should be a comfortable and beatuiful chair to enjoy for many, many years when you finish it. I can’t quite make out what type of wood you are using.

-- RonR, Massachusetts

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 5408 days

#9 posted 06-08-2007 05:10 PM

This is looking great!, I ‘m really looking forward to seeing the finished product!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Paul's profile


660 posts in 5375 days

#10 posted 06-08-2007 05:48 PM

Wow, heavy duty – that’s going to be a solid heavy chair! Looking great!

-- Paul, Kentucky

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1823 posts in 5369 days

#11 posted 06-08-2007 07:20 PM

The chair is all mahogany except for the two posts on the back. They are lyptus, I wanted the added strength for the pivot. I chose the individual boards based on color. I’m hoping for contrast similar to the design. I was thinking of adding some stain but I’m not sure yet. I’ll test with mineral spirits 1st.

My wife is going to try and reclaim the leather and the cushions from my previously store bought expensive but cheaply made recliner. I admit that I am hard on chairs….but it was supposed to be a big man’s chair. Fell apart after only a few years like a cheap suit. Reclaiming the leather will change the design of the upholstery a bit because of how the leather is put together. I may like it or I may toss it and go with a microfiber….actually none of that will actually be my decision….a higher power than myself will decide.

-- Bob

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5443 days

#12 posted 06-08-2007 07:35 PM

leather…. I see a lot of projects waiting to be made, if it doesn’t become a chair again

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1823 posts in 5369 days

#13 posted 06-09-2007 07:43 AM

It will definitely get recycled in some way Deb. We should know this weekend if it will be OK for the chair or not.

Hehe….Paul ….it has to be heavy duty. This recliner was falling apart after just a few years…but all chairs that I use frequently seem to share the same fate eventually. Sometimes it’s nice being a big guy…sometimes a pain. One of my best friends calls me BAM!...short for big ass man….of course the two of us look like Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger (sp?) in Twins so I give him grief as well.

I want this to be the last chair I need to make for myself.

-- Bob

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