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Morris Chair build ala. Wood Mag. plans #1: And so it begins

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Blog entry by Mainiac Matt posted 01-28-2019 09:08 PM 751 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Morris Chair build ala. Wood Mag. plans series Part 2: bending jig my way »

One of my main goals in setting up a home woodshop has been to make heirloom quality furniture in the Mission and Arts & Crafts motifs. And after two hope chests, three sets of speakers and a platform bed, I’m finally ready to dive into my first real furniture piece, a Morris chair. After reviewing most of the plans out there, I decided that I liked the Wood Magazine plan best.

After much clean up and organization to reclaim the horizontal surfaces of the shop from junk collecting, I lugged in the boards from my lumber racks on the other side of the basement. I aquired a decent stash of 6/4 and 8/4 White Oak on the cheap several years ago. It’s plain sawn, but there are some boards with verticle grain and nice flecking, which I’ll try to put in the most visable framing members.


You’ll notice that two of the widest boards have quite the bow in them. Rather than cut these up and fight that, I’m contemplating using these for the bowed arms. The plan calls for laminating three 3/8” layers on a bending form to make them, but these boards may be good to go as is. And if not, I may be able to steam them the remaining amount.

But first I picked out a straight 6/4×7x8’ board for the legs and set about making them into S4S blanks that I can glue up into the final 2-1/4”x2-1/4” size. I cut the rough board into eight oversized blanks using the SCMS and TS. This is where a 3 HP TS really earns it’s keep.

I normally run the TS with a 40T Frued Fusion blade, and even though this burning was mostly due to the rough boards having a little wobble in them, I decided to clean all of my 10” blades and switch over to the 24T rip blade.

Then it’s:
Jointer (face) → Jointer (square edge) → TS (2nd edge square and parallel) → Planer (2nd face parallel)
The rip blade gave a better finish, but if I failed to keep a constant feed rate, I’d still get a little burn.

Here I use a precision ground straight edge and feeler gages to check my first face

And here I’m checking the first edge square with my trusty (though old) Craftsman square against the window light

I fanangled a smokin’ deal and aquired a used PM15 planer last summer for $100, and after a pretty extensive clean, de-rust and tune-up, had it up and running. But I was getting snipe on all of my test cuts, so I had to dive back into the manual and figure out what was going on. I concluded that the instructions set the chip breaker way to low, such that it took a lot of force to spring it up atop of the board. So I raised the chip breaker and things improved substantially. The snipe is still very noticeable, but when I measure, it was ~ 0.005”

So I gave these faces one last light clean up pass on the jointer and had a stack of blanks ready to laminate.

I’m not yet ready to cut the parts to finish lenght, but I wanted to cut them to a uniform length to facilitate registering them together during the glue-up

A clean 60T cross cut blade was one of my first and best shop purchases.

As with any glue-up, thinking it through and getting everything staged and ready to go is key. I decided to laminate all four legs in one shot using my shop made clampling cauls.

But here’s a new problem, the stock is to thick for the caul bolts.

F-clamps to the rescue

And more and more clamps

Glue cleanup is one of my least favorite tasks…. a wet rag, scraper and elbow grease did the trick.

Then it was time to really test both the TS and the newly cleaned blade, as I ripped the laminated leg blanks to finish size. The depth of cut was ~2-3/8”, in bone dry white oak. The task went well, unless I had even the slightes pause feeding the stock… in which case I’d get a burn. I also noticed that I was more prone to get burn at the QS grain flecks. So I dusted off the pieces, removing the burn and the jointer/planer marks with a ROS.

And here’s the fruit of my weekend. Some 7 hours in the shop Satureday and 2 on Sunday. That included planer tuning, saw blade cleaning, jointer fence checking, miter saw angle tweaking, making an extension block for the Gripper and another shop clean up when I was done.

As much as I love shop time, I was tired and ready to quit Sunday afternoon.

Next up, cutting the legs to finish length and cutting the mortices.

I’ve been hemming and hawing about the seat and arm height on the chair as they seem quite low at 14” and 23” respectively. My blanks are 2” longer than needed, so I may leave an extra 1” at the bottom and trim them on the finished chair if needed.

Thanks for looking in and Happy trails.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam



22 comments so far

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1334 days


#1 posted 01-28-2019 09:52 PM

Nice start Matt. Following along. Oh threaded rod for the cauls. More adjustability ;)

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

383 posts in 1686 days


#2 posted 01-28-2019 11:08 PM

Great blog. Are you going to laminate the arms and put them in a binding jig?

-- James E McIntyre

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

383 posts in 1686 days


#3 posted 01-28-2019 11:35 PM

Matt check out this chair I bought in 1997. It’s 22yrs old and still in good shape. It’s red oak and wish is was QSWO.

I bought it before I started woodworking a few years ago. If I didn’t own it I would build one like yours.

-- James E McIntyre

View lightcs1776's profile

lightcs1776

4239 posts in 2048 days


#4 posted 01-29-2019 02:03 AM

Nice work! Great to see that you are expanding your skills.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9146 posts in 2722 days


#5 posted 01-29-2019 02:10 AM


Matt check out this chair I bought in 1997. It’s 22yrs old and still in good shape.
- James E McIntyre

Hey James,
What’s the seat and arm height to the ground at the front of the chair, and do you find it correct for your height?

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View PPK's profile

PPK

1409 posts in 1203 days


#6 posted 01-29-2019 02:25 PM

Awesome! You’ll enjoy the build I’m sure. I’m going to follow along – keep em coming!
A bit jealous of your planer! Lol.

-- Pete

View PPK's profile

PPK

1409 posts in 1203 days


#7 posted 01-29-2019 02:46 PM

“I’ve been hemming and hawing about the seat and arm height on the chair as they seem quite low at 14” and 23” respectively. My blanks are 2” longer than needed, so I may leave an extra 1” at the bottom and trim them on the finished chair if needed.”

Good idea to leave long. Then you have options. I found that it does seem low when you’re building it, but once it’s finished, it turns out being just right. The cushions are usually 6” thick, so that make up a lot of the difference. Typical chair set height is 18”... I was concerned, but then i went inside and measured the lazyboy and all my other chairs, and sure enough, the measurements checked out!!

-- Pete

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9146 posts in 2722 days


#8 posted 01-29-2019 04:24 PM

So I’m hemming and hawing over upgrading my TS blades….

Hmmm…

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View PPK's profile

PPK

1409 posts in 1203 days


#9 posted 01-29-2019 04:41 PM



So I m hemming and hawing over upgrading my TS blades….

Hmmm…

- Mainiac Matt

I’m sure you probably have, but have you checked your fence to make sure it’s perfectly parallel to the blade? I eliminated a lot of problems by adjusting my fence.

I use the same Freud Fusion 40T as you do. Like it a lot. It’s never burned anything, but I suspect that’s ‘cause it’s still sharp. I don’t have much confidence that a sharpening shop will be able to get it back to new-sharp cutting condition though, since it has a little bit of a “special” grind to it.

-- Pete

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

383 posts in 1686 days


#10 posted 01-29-2019 08:15 PM

Matt I included a rough sketch.
The height feels good for me I’m appropriately 5’8”
The seat height is approximately 18” high.

-- James E McIntyre

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

383 posts in 1686 days


#11 posted 01-29-2019 08:19 PM

.

-- James E McIntyre

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

383 posts in 1686 days


#12 posted 01-29-2019 08:32 PM

Matt here’s a rough sketch. The front legs are 24 3/8” high and the rear are 20 1/4” high. The seat height is approximately 18” high

-- James E McIntyre

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9146 posts in 2722 days


#13 posted 01-30-2019 04:44 AM

Thanks for that reply James. I’m going to add and inch to the bottom of the legs and if I’m not happy I can trim them after the fact.

Re. the saw blades. I think the High ATB grind on the Fusion blade is a really good (if not the best) way to get an all purpose blade for TS use. My Fusion is still scary sharp, such that I have to be careful just handling it. Though I do have one chipped carbide tooth.

I fabricated a nice little clone of the Align-it jig (sold by Peach Tree) and checked my fence to miter slot and blade to miter slot a month or so ago and was within a couple thousandths on both (I’m not chasing that minuscule error). But my fence facing does have a .002” shallow area in it.

Still, I think it’s just the wood… as the WO is uber dense and my stock was 2.5” thick. That’s a serious rip cut. If I could keep the feed rate constant, I got a clean cut, but if the Gripper slipped a little and the feed rate stalled, I got a burnt spot every time.

Stumpy-Nubs tested and chatted up the Amana 24 tooth FTG rip blade, and I’m seriously considering dropping $95 for it, as I don’t have any other FTG blades and this could double for TS joinery work. My hesitation is that I already have a 24T Freud glue line rip blade. But that blade is a thin kerf model and oddly, it has and ATB grind. I bought it back in my contractor saw days, and the pitch builds up around the thin carbides very quickly.

I just need to figure out how to get this Visa gift card I got at the company Christmas party to work on Amazon.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

383 posts in 1686 days


#14 posted 01-30-2019 07:38 PM

Matt check out Infinitytools.com thin kirf blades. Next time I need a blade I’m buying one.
I like you Powermatic planer, it’s one of the best planers.

-- James E McIntyre

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9146 posts in 2722 days


#15 posted 01-30-2019 08:13 PM

Well the deed is done, as I pulled the trigger on this blade today…

It gets a lot of solid reviews and though I suspect the amana blade is well worth the extra $50, I couldn’t justify paying double for it, when the Freud seemed like it would meet my needs very well.

Re. the PM15, I don’t want to sound like a braggard, but this is it’s neigbor…

I never, ever would have imagined that I would have PM tools in my shop one day, but I stumbled into a once in a life time deal that I couldn’t let pass by. I got the jointer 2.5 years back and reviewed it here. And last summer it’s buddy also landed in my lap from the same former co-worker.

My only problem is that they’re eating up a lot of space and I need to do another shop reorganization…. But I better not start thinking about that, or this chair will never get done.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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