Fixing a Nakashima Inspired Chair

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Blog entry by Matthew Morris posted 03-18-2015 08:58 PM 2353 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Sometimes things break. This is one of those cases. There was probably a defect in the wood that was undetectable when I built the chair and when the wrong set of forces were applied to the chair, one of the two legs broke after the joint.

To fix the chair, I built a sled that would ride on the table saw and support the chair standing up and would allow me to use a spacer block, after the first cut to create a new mortise for the bridal joint.

Here is the chair in the sled. Notice the two star knob locations and the slot. This allows me to angle the fixture to match the angle of the seat.

Getting ready for the first cut.

After the second cut.

The width of the mortise.

The new foot of the leg fitted to match the size of the mortise for the Bridal joint.

Let me know what you think? Would you have gone about this differently?

-- Matthew Morris, MM Wood Studio, Southern CA,

7 comments so far

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 2788 days

#1 posted 03-18-2015 10:10 PM

These chairs are so cool, nice repair job. I’m always curious, how comfortable is this model?

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Matthew Morris's profile

Matthew Morris

82 posts in 2307 days

#2 posted 03-18-2015 10:20 PM

That depends on how you carve the seat. I’ve made quite a number of them and find them to be comfortable.

-- Matthew Morris, MM Wood Studio, Southern CA,

View Guy Dunlap's profile

Guy Dunlap

208 posts in 2819 days

#3 posted 03-18-2015 11:18 PM

Hey Matthew. It is actually quite ingenious. Even though I am a power tool guy and love your solution, I may have just taken a hand saw to it.

-- Guy, Indianapolis, IN - - Instagram –

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3607 days

#4 posted 03-18-2015 11:45 PM

Your sled/fix was very impressive! These are beautiful chairs and that break looks unusual. I doubt that it broke with someone just sitting in it!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4064 days

#5 posted 03-19-2015 12:14 AM

I can’t think of any better way the mortise could have been made—your jig is the perfect solution. I think it was well worth the time to design and build the jig, in order to be able to make a precise mortise, rather than trying to do it quick and dirty with hand tools.

Sometimes we just want to get something done, and don’t want to take the time to build the necessary jigs to do the job right. But whenever I find myself thinking that way, I remind myself that the time spent doing the job right the first time is miniscule compared with the lifetime of enjoyment and benefit gotten out of doing it properly.

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

554 posts in 3915 days

#6 posted 03-19-2015 02:36 AM

..... quick and dirty with hand tools.

- Mean_Dean

I do not agree that hand tool use, in of itself is quick and dirty, nor are power tools inherently more accurate or superior. It is all in the hands of the guy (or gal) who turns on the table saw or pushes the hand saw.

From little I have been exposed to Matthew’s work and skills, I suspect that he is equally competent with a hand saw as he is with a table saw.


View Matthew Morris's profile

Matthew Morris

82 posts in 2307 days

#7 posted 03-19-2015 05:46 AM

Thank you Guy, gfadvm, Dean and Greg for your nice comments and input. This was the first thing I thought of and was able to give me the most control I could think of. If you haven’t seen my videos/work, I work in thousands of an inch and am constantly grabbing for my digital calipers.

-- Matthew Morris, MM Wood Studio, Southern CA,

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