Obligatory Morris Chair

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Project by Dave G posted 12-22-2013 12:56 AM 2106 views 7 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Obligatory Morris Chair
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I made this about 5 years ago to fill some time I had. Little did I know it would be my favorite project ever. It was all fun! I dug up some plans after a bit of research. If you need to know I’ll dig it up again with much less effort this time. Then I used nothing but “shorts” discount wood for the first time on a project. Red oak. Nearly all furniture can use 4 feet or less for 30% discount, with no loss of quality. The arm is bowed using laminations clamped over an mdf form. They were resawed 3/16” pieces from quarter sawn red oak. I ran them through the thickness planer using a piece of melamine laid into the planer to get the smoothness right. I used slow set Titebond II (should have used resin glue) but so far no creeping noticed after 5 years. The rest was an exercise in sawing, mortising and scraping. I finished it with poly to make it tough enough to handle beer bottles and snacks. I also had unexpected fun getting the leather and getting it upholstered. New England has lots of old tanneries, mostly defunct. I found one in Ipswich that was still selling off its remnants. (They make canvas belts now). I bought some red dyed purse leather. Then I found a great little upholstery shop that makes house calls to pick up the furniture and they did a perfect job. All round very fun project. Especially now I get to sit in it and hit it with beer bottles and snacks.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

7 comments so far

View TJ11's profile


65 posts in 3109 days

#1 posted 12-22-2013 01:46 AM

A Morris Chair is on my to-do list for this spring, this one looks great. If you don’t mind me asking, how expensive was the custom upholstery shop?

-- If I had more money, I'd have more tools

View grumpy749's profile


228 posts in 2858 days

#2 posted 12-22-2013 04:10 AM

very nice looking chair indeed. This is on my to do list and now that my tv stand is complete it just moved up the list a notch. More pictures would be nice. Fine woodworking mag. has a nice plan.

-- Denis in Grande Prairie. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mistery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.....Pink !

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

335 posts in 2529 days

#3 posted 12-22-2013 11:36 AM

I’m pretty sure it was the FWW plans. I have some old printouts of magazine pages. The plans I bought say “American Furniture Design Co.” on the front and they look just like the FWW pictures.

I recall I bought a FWW membership just for the duration of this project. It was worth it for first time through, especially the description of the arm glue-up.

List of materials and costs:
Wood $213
74 sf Soft Bag Leather $204
Upholstery labor $340
Misc $80
Total Cost $837

Here are the plans I followed. $20. Comes with full size drafting print.

The FWW page: Their plans are only $15. It’s the same chair. I don’t know how the plans compare.

Red oak with red leather was a good choice. As was clear poly (satin).

One more picture attached. I think the FWW site has the best pictures.

One more thing. I used the “spline method” for constructing the 2×2 quartersawn legs. The plans tell you how to do this and it makes every face of the legs look quartersawn. The spline method appears difficult at first and I really sweated the first couple spline cuts with a fence attached to my router thinking the tolerances matter. They don’t really. As long as your table saw cuts true 45 degrees they’ll come out great and I’ve used the method since on other projects. I made 4 cauls from 2” pine boards (milled a groove down the middle to apply pressure at the edges) to help with clamping the legs up. Used slow setting Titebond II while gluing up the splined legs because it take time to align all the splines, boards, and cauls.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View dpow's profile


504 posts in 3325 days

#4 posted 12-23-2013 01:06 AM

Nice looking chair, Dave. Everyone who has a built one of these says how comfortable they are. I like the color contrast between the oak and leather. Thanks for the breakdown of the cost and thanks for sharing.

-- Doug

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 2987 days

#5 posted 12-23-2013 02:33 AM

Great job on an American Classic!

View TJ11's profile


65 posts in 3109 days

#6 posted 12-23-2013 12:54 PM

Thanks for the breakdown Dave. Again … really nice job.

-- If I had more money, I'd have more tools

View Mean_Dean's profile


6984 posts in 3628 days

#7 posted 12-23-2013 10:54 PM

Great looking Morris chair! I’ve got one on my list, as well.

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

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