Morris Chair

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Project by Mean_Dean posted 03-20-2014 09:04 PM 5292 views 15 times favorited 44 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the Morris chair I just finished. I used plans from Wood Magazine. It’s made out of QSWO, has bent arms, and an adjustable backrest. It’s heavy, too – weighs about 100 pounds! It’s finished with amber shellac, 1 1/2# cut. It has custom-made cushions out of faux leather.


34 ½” W x 41 1/8”H x 38”D

Now for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good: The finishing schedule I used really makes the ray fleck pop! It’s a process of first dying the wood, then sanding down the raised grain, then hitting it with stain, and finally the shellac. Also, the legs are glued up around a core, so that you can choose the faces with the best ray fleck to use. I’ve previously laminated pieces to make legs, and I think I like this way better. Lastly, this chair is comfortable as heck!!

The Bad: The plans call for resawing the boards for the arms on the bandsaw. The arms are curved via bent lamination. My bandsaw sucks at resawing, so I had to resaw them on the tablesaw, which meant that the kerf was larger than the bandsaw’s, which meant that I wasn’t able to get each arm from a single board. So, if you look closely at the arms, you can discern the layers in the lamination. (I really need to get the Laguna 14”, but don’t have the $1200 laying around……..)

The Ugly: The backrest slats. I wasn’t able to get the concave face of them perfectly flat (while still being curved, if that makes sense.) They have some minor “humps” on them. No one else seems to have noticed them, but I know they’re there. The convex face of the slats, the back sides, I was able to get perfectly flat by hand sanding with a sanding block.

As always, comments and questions are appreciated!

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

44 comments so far

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 4722 days

#1 posted 03-20-2014 09:40 PM

That’s sweet, Dean! A Morris chair is on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4546 days

#2 posted 03-20-2014 10:05 PM

Very nicely done !!! On my bucket list as well…...
Can you explain the construction and details of the base under the cushion. It looks like a web stretched between
the 4 sides??
What kind of foam did you use? and thickness?

Really like the finish !!!

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2679 days

#3 posted 03-20-2014 10:26 PM

Looks perfect to me !!! I also like your phone. Did you turn it? :)
Actually, probably not a bad idea. A smartphone charger that looks like a olde-timey phone that can also be used as a speaker phone. Hmmm …

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4723 days

#4 posted 03-20-2014 10:47 PM

Nice morris chair.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4197 days

#5 posted 03-20-2014 10:58 PM

Randy: Well, don’t wait too long. Life’s too short to not have a comfortable chair!

Gene: The base under the seat cushion is just a piece of 3/4” plywood notched to fit around the legs. It’s covered in fabric, with the outer edges being the same fabric as the cushions, which blends in with the cushions. The foam is about 6” thick for both cushions, and is a Q-26 for the seat cushion, and a Q-11 for the backrest cushion.

John: The phone is a genuine candlestick telephone from the early 1900’s. It won’t access the phone system because it doesn’t have the dial rotor that the newer versions of the candlesticks had. It was turned into a lamp many decades ago, and has served ably ever since.

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

View AandCstyle's profile


3296 posts in 3307 days

#6 posted 03-20-2014 11:33 PM

Dean, you did a great job on the chair. I always look at the through tenons and yours appear to be done perfectly. Regarding the “humps”, I have had good luck using a flat spokeshave, but as you mentioned, nobody but you know about them so sit back and relax in your fine chair.

-- Art

View oldrivers's profile


2512 posts in 2616 days

#7 posted 03-20-2014 11:47 PM

Great looking Chair, the QS Oak really pops with that finish, super job congrats.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Woodmaster1's profile


1699 posts in 3637 days

#8 posted 03-20-2014 11:59 PM

Looks great, I have that project on my bucket list of retirement projects.

View MKBurnett's profile


27 posts in 2595 days

#9 posted 03-21-2014 12:29 AM

Very nice job. I like the through tenons on your arms. I’d certainly sit.

View jetwhoop's profile


89 posts in 3168 days

#10 posted 03-21-2014 12:32 AM

Looks great!! I have been planning to do one for a while now. I have enough curly maple for one now, just need the time and maybe some plans. I was wondering about the bottom under the cushion. Is it solid or maybe stretched fabric?
thanks for sharing, its inspiring.

View gamygeezer's profile


169 posts in 2635 days

#11 posted 03-21-2014 12:51 AM

That is one fine looking chair. I really like the color, seems like most oak is finished too dark (for my taste, anyway). Did you also make the table?


-- What's a vibrant young guy like me doing in a broken down old body like this?

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4197 days

#12 posted 03-21-2014 01:18 AM

Jetwhoop: The bottom under the seat cushion is fabric-covered 3/4” plywood. The fabric is wrapped around the plywood, and has edges with the same fabric as the cushions.

Ken: Yes, I made the nightstand—mostly. A friend’s wife and her dad took a woodworking class at the local community college. Turns out, she didn’t like woodworking, and my friend said she was just going to toss the table base (that’s all she had made, though she had made two of them), and asked if I wanted them. The bases were made of poplar, so I made a tops for them, with breadboard ends, and then stained and finished them to look like walnut. The one in the photo is actually part of the pair, the other already stained and finished. Since I didn’t fully make the tables, I didn’t feel it right to post them on LJs.

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

View pintodeluxe's profile


6344 posts in 3863 days

#13 posted 03-21-2014 01:31 AM

Great looking Morris chair. I am building one now, and realize just how much work goes into making one. Yours is a fine example that you will enjoy for years.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View finns's profile


171 posts in 4166 days

#14 posted 03-21-2014 03:03 AM

Great job. I especially like the finish.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 2599 days

#15 posted 03-21-2014 03:11 AM

The arms look fine. Nicely done.

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