Recreating Rohlfs - Tall Back Chair - Part 3

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Blog entry by Woodbridge posted 07-25-2012 08:45 PM 2342 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have continued to work on the Charles Rohlfs Tall Back chair.

Over the last few says, I finshed cutting out the various parts, that last two being the front rail and the bottom strecther. I’m hoping the book matched grain pattern on the fromt rail will pop whem the oil finsih is applied to it.

There is still a lot of carving to do on the bottom stretcher. It is probably the simplest carving on the chair so that is likely where I will start when I begin carving.

The next major task was to rough cut the pattern on the back of the chair. To do this I traced the pattern onto the pine template and the cut each part of with scroll saw, jig saw and final clean up with files. Using the template the pattern was marked onto each half of the back, then rough cut with a jib saw. I used a ½ inch flush trim bit in my routter table to clean up most areas.

I’m still not able to build a project without screwing up one part or another. A monetary lapse of attention ( brain fart?) and before you know it you’ve made a mistake. Well while routing out the back I didn’t have a good grip on the piece when I switched on the router. The bit grabbed the piece and threw it up in the air chewing and off the router table taking a big chunck out of the back. Since I didn’t have any more wood to make a new back I had to make a repair. I cut three plugs and glued them into the dmaged aread along with some epoxy and sawdust.
Hopefully once the pattern is cut out and the area is shaped and carved the repair will not be too visible.

For the tighter portions of thepattern I useed a ¼ inch flush trim bit. I also had to cut the tigher areas of the pattern for each side.

With all the parts cut out I was eager to do a dry fit of the chair.

This chair has an apholstered seat which is something I have not done before. I’m hoping to cover the seat in leather and will have to do some reading on how this is done. Any tips or suggestions would be welcomed.

I also fabricated two gussets for the front and a single gusset that strecthes along the back of the seat.The seat back slopes at 5 degrees. Similarly the sides also taper from front to back at 5 degrees.

Well its on to the carving, which for will be the most difficult part of this project for me.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

5 comments so far

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4947 days

#1 posted 07-25-2012 10:09 PM

going very well here.
The past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on Victorian era upholstered walnut chairs that needed reworked badly, and they have old school upholstered seats. Redoing all of the joinery wasn’t too exciting, but redoing the old upholstery had me worried, since it all had to come off to pull the chair apart into it’s many pieces for re-doweling.
I’ve taken some photos of the old style spring and strap style upholstery, which you don’t find much these days.
I thought i would have to take them to a professional to have the upholstery put back on, but I stuck with it, and did the work myself. Not so hard, just followed the methodology of the old upholstery, and the chairs are solid and look good. The old tied springs give an antique-chair feel when you sit down, not like a modern upholstered seat.
If you take it to a modern upholstery shop, I would suspect that they’ll put foam on plywood pull over the fabric around the edges and shoot it full of staples.
Can you find out what the old Rohlfs chairs were upholstered with? Maybe horsehair for padding?
If you want to see the old school tied spring photos of the chairs I am doing now, send me an email and I’ll share them with you.

Keep up the good work on the chair!

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View DocSavage45's profile


8872 posts in 3384 days

#2 posted 07-26-2012 06:07 PM

Yourmoments of a lapse probably frustrate you. You are someone with a lot of “PATIENCE” for which I am truely envious as it allows you t o create intricate beauty. Thanks for posting. Really thought I would be down on the responders here, but I’m sure others will follow. Hey Marc!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Woodbridge's profile


3692 posts in 2960 days

#3 posted 07-27-2012 01:57 AM

Thanks for your comments and encourage guys. Peter

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 4372 days

#4 posted 07-27-2012 04:13 AM

Hi Peter this chair is going to be fabulous. Look at the repair as an opportunity for it to be truly unique! What a clever design element, right?

Anyway I’m looking forward to seeing the carving.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 4227 days

#5 posted 08-03-2012 02:17 PM

amazing work

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

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