Morris Chair Legs?

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Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 07-25-2010 10:38 PM 2396 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13345 posts in 4156 days

07-25-2010 10:38 PM

I am wondering is a 2×2 leg thick enough for a morris chair leg? Some of 8/4 Red Oak I bought is about 2 1/4 thick in the rough, I dont wont to run it to 1 1/4 to make 2-1/2’’ legs which is what the plans call for?

15 replies so far

View jack1's profile


2130 posts in 4510 days

#1 posted 07-25-2010 10:51 PM

It will change the appearance since 2” is 20% smaller than the 2 1/2” called for. You may have to laminate two pieces to make it. Not hard just an extra step and more time spent matching wood. Or you could have 2 1/2 on the money and back side and whatever you mill down to on the other two sides…

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3557 days

#2 posted 07-25-2010 10:56 PM

I think the only question here is looks. I’m certain that it would be strong enough, but would it look right? How something looks is a very subjective issue.

My intuition is that I would not like the looks of a 2” x 2” leg on a Morris chair. I think 1.25” by 2” might be okay and I’m sure it would still be strong enough. The key to a good Morris chair is the quality of the joinery (and finding someone to make you good looking leather cushions).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View patron's profile


13650 posts in 3824 days

#3 posted 07-25-2010 11:46 PM

charles ,
if you like the look of the chair as designed ,
stick to the plan .
it will affect the strenght and looks ,
if you change things .
laminate pieces as called for .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View rhett's profile


743 posts in 4150 days

#4 posted 07-26-2010 12:59 AM

When I need to make a “large” leg and do not have stock that is thick enough, I will glue two pieces together and then glue two pieces of 1/8” stock on the sides with the glue line. With a 1/8” round over or chamfer, it looks like a solid leg.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View Paul Lajoie's profile

Paul Lajoie

137 posts in 3587 days

#5 posted 07-26-2010 01:21 AM

I second Rhett’s solution, since thats exactly how I have been making the legs on my A & C furniture. Once you chamfer the corners only you will know its not a “solid” piece.


View lew's profile


12843 posts in 4238 days

#6 posted 07-26-2010 01:29 AM


Are the legs glued up to provide a method of creating through mortises using a dado blade?

2 1/4” rough stock should be enough to get 2” legs and you have a mortise machine so you really wouldn’t need the leg to be formed in two pieces.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1610 posts in 4041 days

#7 posted 07-26-2010 02:25 AM

I’m a bit confused that you say the plans call for 2-1/2” legs. Usually on Morris chairs, the legs are considerably larger than that, with beefy tenons showing through the arm rest. You might need to post something about the plans you’re using. It sounds more like a dining chair than an easy chair to me. If you do need 4” square legs, just glue them up out of your very nice stock and let the good/solid side show on the front, or use rhett’s 4-side quartersawn solution, or use a lock-miter or splined miter, etc. Schroeder made some very nice Morris chairs he has a great “cheat”.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1910 posts in 4155 days

#8 posted 07-26-2010 02:43 AM

Resaw it on your bandsaw close, then joint and plane it to dimension.

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4156 days

#9 posted 07-26-2010 03:21 AM

Thats what the plan says!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4156 days

#10 posted 07-26-2010 03:28 AM

The legs has tenons on them to become through Mortises.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3591 days

#11 posted 07-26-2010 05:26 AM

I get what you are asking Charlies, you hate to see an inch thick go to waste on each of two boards and you are hoping that, by scaling down, you can preserve the structure and hold on to the wood. In my opinion, you are going to open the door to some headaches if you try to mess too much with the design. It isn’t a question of strength so much as balance in the design. You could try bandsawing a half inch off the thickness, which might save you jointing and planing time. I would not try to work too hard on wood conservation because you are going to definitely need extra for the flattening process and too much effort on conservation might leave you short. The only thing I might offer is to bite the bullet now and check and see if you can get some 3 inch thick boards in the future.

In the end, you want a chair that lasts the test of time in strength and its beauty. If you try too hard to save, you will end up making a sacrifice in either, or both, and that will leave you dissatisfied every time you look at the project.

Good luck on your project.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4156 days

#12 posted 07-26-2010 01:29 PM

Thanks guys, I know what I need to do now.

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 3849 days

#13 posted 07-26-2010 06:09 PM

We have a local shop that sells Stickley furniture. They brought in a guy from the factory to talk about how they make their furniture and also the traditional way the furniture was made.

One of the things they said was the 1/8” facing on legs for Morris chairs etc would not hold up over time because quartersawn wood expands more against the grain than plane sawn wood.

It is hard for me to describe but the suggest quadrilinar (sp) legs where there are 4 pie shaped pieces for each leg. I don’t remember which book I saw them in but I think most books on Craftsman Furniture show it.

That being said, I made a Morris Chair two years ago before I read about the quadriliar legs. I did make the facing thicker than 1/8th and it has not cracked yer.


View rhett's profile


743 posts in 4150 days

#14 posted 07-26-2010 07:34 PM

This is the first and only time that I have ever heard quartersawn wood is less stable than flatsawn stock, in any application.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4269 days

#15 posted 08-03-2010 09:56 PM

Have you tried a google search for information on Morris chair proportions. I remember a few books mentioned by LJ’s which detailed building this type furniture. Perhaps one of these would help you.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

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