Charles Rohlfs Carved Walnut Tall Back Chair

  • Advertise with us
Project by Woodbridge posted 09-17-2012 01:38 AM 3536 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After I finished building the Maloof style rocker I moved on to next project on my list: reproducing Charles Rohlfs Tall Back Cahir. Rohlfs Tall Back Chair is my absolute favorite chair. I love the carved back on this chair and the biggest challenge for me was to try to reproduce the back.

This is the third Rohlfs chair that I have attempted to reproduce, the first being Rohlfs Rocking Chair and the second his iconic 1898 desk chair.

Before going further, I want to thank Dr. Karl Kusserow, Curator of American Art at the
Princeton University Art Museum for the information and pictures he provided me on Rohlfs Tall Back chair. They were very useful in developing the plans for this chair. I also had an opportunity to visit the Princeton University Art Museum on a recent trip to New York and see Rohlfs tall back chair first hand. I spent about an hour looking at the chair, taking photos and videos of it from as many angles as possible.

As with Rohlfs desk chair, I was surprised at how light the chair structure is and how fine the carving is. The thickness of the wood is less than ¾ inch. The carving is quite intricate and delicate looking.

I had a 2×8× 60 inch piece of walnut left over from my Malolof rocker build and various other small pieces of walnut. I resawed the 2 inch thick piece into two boards which I book matched to form the back. The grain pattern of the book matched walnut matches the shape of the back quite nicely.

I spent a considerable amount of time piecing together the other small walnut pieces I had left over make up the boards needed for the other parts of the chair. Each side is made from four pieces, which in turn were each glued up from smaller walnut boards.

Structurally, the chair is actually quite simple , only five parts and some braces. The main feature and challenge is the carved back. I’m still learning to carve so this was my biggest challenge. It took several days for me to carve the back.

A friend who is a professional upholsterer is going to make me an upholstered leather seat. The seat in the pictures is “faux” (a fancy French way of saying vinyl) crocodile.

The chair is 54” high, 17.5 inches wide and 18.5 inches deep. It is finished with Tung oil and wax.

My” “blog has more details on the construction of this chair.

Fellow LJer, Mark DeCou, spotted a man wearing sunglasses in the carving. Can you find him?

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

9 comments so far

View ErikF's profile


647 posts in 2699 days

#1 posted 09-17-2012 01:53 AM

Wow! Beautifully executed.

-- Power to the people.

View Puupaja's profile


310 posts in 3556 days

#2 posted 09-17-2012 02:27 AM

It is really beutiful chair and also your handicraft is masterful!


#3 posted 09-17-2012 04:07 AM

Congratulation Peter !!! Very interesting project.


View ruddy's profile


549 posts in 3395 days

#4 posted 09-17-2012 06:13 AM

Superb…....Simply beautiful.

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View michelletwo's profile


2783 posts in 3471 days

#5 posted 09-17-2012 09:53 AM

your skills are remarkable..

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 2631 days

#6 posted 09-17-2012 12:11 PM

You my friend are a true craftsman, artist. Proud of you and your work, it will live on in years long after you are gone.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina ([email protected])

View Oldtool's profile


2785 posts in 2646 days

#7 posted 09-17-2012 12:25 PM

Beautiful craftsmanship, beautiful chair.
Thanks for showing.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2994 days

#8 posted 09-20-2012 02:13 AM

Fantastic. Well done.

-- I never finish anyth

View Jerry's profile


3229 posts in 2104 days

#9 posted 11-23-2013 10:03 PM

My god, your skill is beyond my comprehension.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

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