Mexican Furniture Design Lessons

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Blog entry by oldguy2 posted 02-04-2018 01:43 AM 813 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Visiting my daughter for a week in Puerto Vallarta..west coast of Mexico..I had a nice chance to see and study well made furniture some unfinished and some finished and what caught my attention was the joinery and straight forward design. Chairs could have many variations, so the ones pictured here could be the basis for you to take off and make your changes or use for your own setting. That’s why this article, steal the measurements and ideas for your use. The chairs are 35 to 36 in high, seats 17 1/2 in high and shown with woven seats. 20 in wide at the front and 16 wide at the back frame of the chair. all leg frame parts are 1.5 in by 1.5 in. What I saw in the frames were mortises made with a drill or router since the rounded ends showed. The cross stretchers were made with half lap joints and glue and nailed so this gave a set 90 degree joint and solid joint. When I looked at the 5 vertical fan design pieces they were 1/2 square and slightly angled. I thought this could also be made with dowels for the same look with or without the angles. On the top frame is the southwest design cut of a stepped look and the lower frame has a simpler look. The back frame has a slight bend at the chair, as I measured it from a straight line. the frame bends back 3/4 in to the top from the seat level ( so a full board 2 and 1/4 wide would make the seat with 2 1/4 wide at the seat level, if it were to show a bow effect.
I showed the end table as an example of curved legs at a 45 degree in a main box. then two rows of bull nose trim. this table and another showed a main frame of 3 in boards then filler boards to complete the top. I saw these at a bed n breakfast we were at but could see them used in a guest room or a patio or cabin or even with simpler legs.
My point here is to give some starting design lesson on making chair legs or frames.

3 comments so far

View Rich's profile


5998 posts in 1475 days

#1 posted 02-04-2018 06:00 AM

It’s junk. See the photos below from a “premium” mesquite furniture store here in Tucson. Pure crap. Down in Tubac, there are a couple of mesquite furniture stores. It drives me crazy because the clueless patrons fawn over this junk like some sort of masterpiece. It’s poorly made and poorly finished. I’d be ashamed to put my name on any one of them. Yet, they are priced in the high hundreds of dollars for little side tables up to several thousand for a dining table. They can get away with it because they have what looks like a gallery in Tubac, which is a very artsy little town. People think if it’s sold there, it must be artisan quality.

At a nearby mesquite yard, where I shop often and know the owner, we’ve joked about it. Because he’s in the area, some tourists think he makes the furniture for these stores. It pisses him off no end, because he does beautiful work and the idea he’s providing this junk angers him.

Sorry to rant, but it’s really irritating that this crap sells for what it does.

Look familiar?

They build the same garbage in a round top:

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View robscastle's profile


7441 posts in 3090 days

#2 posted 02-04-2018 06:44 AM

Well, I dont see a problem, (apart from a couple of images sideways)

The post contained :- My point here is to give some starting design lesson on making chair legs or frames.

So, If if people want to pay too much for the items, well that’s is a buyer beware issue not the builder.
As a result can you please send these buyer to my place? I have heaps of “stuff” I would love to get a financial return from of all my invisible efforts!!

Possibly arts and crafts its not.

-- Regards Rob

View oldguy2's profile


296 posts in 2313 days

#3 posted 02-04-2018 12:29 PM

Old Guy 2 here. Great to hear from readers. So what I saw was simple furniture design. As a Business “Hals Wood Shop” I had people pass up $20 oak shaker shelves with screw slots. wow. Now I live near some tourist Amish area and the pine shelves are selling for $45. Selling was not my blog point. Design and building. Great not to see screw pockets and real joinery. Or some like adirondack chairs the boards just attached. I have made 17 adirondack chairs and mine lasted. What you would choose for the quality of wood and the type of finish was not my blog point. these pieces were solid and no frills. for some beginner woodworkers this would be a better tutorial on frames and joints than just screw them together. Change the seat boards and pad them for an outdoor chair. I can remember early apartment furniture with real cheap metal legs and some recent “big box” store furniture that rattled after only 2 years and I had to add screws and blocks..which country made those..? I have about 4 furniture books ( not utube ) that I treasure. 2 from one author on the apartment workshop and furniture, just well made pine and plywood furniture made from simple portable power tools and well finished. Finishing 101 by Bob Flexner about $10. and some of the Norm Abrams books with plans. These have shown me more techniques and joinery and plans. Chairs don’t seem to shown in too many books. Let us share some education, at 65 I am making better projects, but I ask, read and study this fun hobby Woodworking. Keep safe Make Sawdust. please see my home page for any of my projects and my small workshop. Thanks.

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