"Spoon" Chair

  • Advertise with us
Project by Woodbridge posted 10-16-2011 06:21 AM 2823 views 6 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I like chairs with high narrow backs, and my favorite is Charles Rohlfs 1898 Desk Chair. You can see one of Rohlfs orginal desk chair at this Wikipedia link

This is the most recent (3rd) chair that I have attempted based on Rohlfs original. The first one I made was closer to the orginal Rohlfs version. This one is 50 ½ inches high, 15 ½ inches wide and 16 inches deep. I made this chair for my nephew who is has just moved into his first home.

The chair is made from reused mahogany (6” x ¾” mahogany door frames salvaged from a home renovation project) with walnut accents.

The design includes the tapered high back. The back is a bent lamination (about 4 plys each 1/4” thick). The back is in two halves each about 3 ” thick that are book matched. It is about 6 inches wide at the top and tapers to 4 inches where the back meets the seat. The curved rails and middle stretcher are also bent laminations.

The shape of the back is actually based on the handle of stainless steel spoon. I got the inspiration to use cutlery as a pattern for chair backs when searching the internet for art deco patterns and the image of a spoon came up. The shape of cutlery lends itself perfectly to the slender shape of this thype of chair back. I rummaged through the cutlery drawer at the cottage, where no two spoons or forks are the same pattern, and found about 15 or so interesting designs which lend themselves nicely to a chair back.

The “sash” along the front and back of chair is made from walnut carved to match the pattern of the spoon. It provided an opportunity for me to try my hand at some simple carving (and an excuse to start buying some carving chisels and gouges!) The sash is inserted into a 1/8”deep rabbit carved into the back (an excuse to buy a router plane!). The same pattern is also used on the front and side rails of the chair.

The parabolic shape of the seat and the stepped design routed on the side of the seat match that of Rohlfs’ desk chair.

The rails are attached to the legs with mortise and tenon joints. The seat is attached to the back with a through mortise and walnut wedges.

Perhaps this is not the most practical piece of furniture for a young bachelors first house, but that’s why we have IKEA.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

10 comments so far

View Brett's profile


960 posts in 4257 days

#1 posted 10-16-2011 06:33 AM

You are Amazing! I love your chairs, they are fantastic! Excellent creativity and craftsmanship. Thank you for your inspiration.

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

View Brett's profile


960 posts in 4257 days

#2 posted 10-16-2011 06:38 AM

I am going to add that I have never made a chair and now I REALLY want to make one! I checked the link to Rohlfs desk chair and WOW, that is a really cool chair.

I have to get some projects finished up so I can start on a chair. Thanks again.

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

View Woodbridge's profile


3755 posts in 3916 days

#3 posted 10-16-2011 07:14 AM

His furntiture is very unqiue. There is “another with a highly carved back that is on my list once I retire later this year.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24957 posts in 5174 days

#4 posted 10-16-2011 07:41 AM

Definitely out of teh box ;-)) Nice work.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 4481 days

#5 posted 10-16-2011 08:21 AM

Nice job on the chair.i really like your much did the new chisels set you back?

View LEITH's profile


175 posts in 4356 days

#6 posted 10-16-2011 08:54 AM



View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4584 days

#7 posted 10-16-2011 04:33 PM

Welcome to Lumberjacks, and if this is simple carving, then I am going to have to be satisfied with being an
interested onlooker in the carving community. Like the chair design and assembly, and this will give
Spoontaneous something to think about. I hope you enjoy your retirement and your time in the workshop
as much as I do. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 83 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Woodbridge's profile


3755 posts in 3916 days

#8 posted 10-17-2011 02:18 AM

Thanks. When I see the high calibre carving that people have posted on this forum I do have a ways to go. Charles Rohlfs did another great chair one with a highly carved back. Its on my list to attempt one day.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Amcarver's profile


48 posts in 4509 days

#9 posted 10-17-2011 11:14 AM

There’s something you don’t see everyday. Well done.

-- E.R. Bunn,

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5904 days

#10 posted 10-18-2011 04:56 PM

It’s funny. When I saw the picture, I said, “wow this guy would love C. Rohlfs’ work on chairs….”

Then, I read your first sentence. I can see the influence, and the originality.

Well done, good show,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics