Help with my first chair

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Forum topic by Don Carrier posted 01-06-2012 03:24 PM 1240 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don Carrier

114 posts in 3719 days

01-06-2012 03:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak joining chair shaker

I just finished a nice student desk (a shaker style) and now i need to build a chair for it. I’ve never built a chair. You guys/gals got any plans of ideas for a first timer? My basic woodworking skills are I can cut square and measure, but I’ve never done a mortise and tenon. Funds are tight so all joints will have to be drill/press and hand chisel. No lathe so rounds are not possible. I do have a bandsaw. I also have a Kreg jig. I would like to use oak to match the desk.

I know you guys will get me started in the right direction.

-- Don

8 replies so far

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

347 posts in 3805 days

#1 posted 01-06-2012 09:04 PM

Don, what might help is a pic of the chair you intend to build. Chairs tend to have some tricky joinery that can be done by hand or with your bandsaw… unless you intend to have the chair be square at the seat, then it is prety straightforward. You can cut the back supports that may be curved on your bandsaw…

A book on building chair building might gove you some visuals and suggestions…. you can also browse issues of Popular Woodworking or Fine Woodoworking on their sites and see if they have any issues that features Chairs, or PPW has PDF lessons that I find very, very helpful…. I built a seld centering jig for slip tennons based on one of their lessons… and I use that things alot for small joinery….

and maybe a picture of the desk, always like to see fellow craftsman’s work

View paulw2's profile


13 posts in 3675 days

#2 posted 01-06-2012 10:14 PM

I have to agree with BLarge. If you can find a picture of what your chair is to look like, it will be easy for you to just go piece by piece and copy what you see in the picture. Making a chair surprisingly isn’t as difficult as many people think. Just worry about one piece at a time, and eventually it will all work out. If you still don’t feel comfortable just giving this a shot, I would recommend reading a helper’s book or something of that sort.

-- Paul, Pennsylvania,

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 4326 days

#3 posted 01-06-2012 11:40 PM

Your probably looking at something like this then.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View JSilverman's profile


89 posts in 3956 days

#4 posted 01-07-2012 12:33 AM

I recently finished my first chair project- 10 dining room chairs- Jeff Miller’s book (Taunton Press) and a book from Time-Life Publishing (cant remember the name) were both very helpful… Garrett Hack also had a very nice good chair article in FWW a few years ago that seems similar to the design you are considering.

View Loren's profile


11376 posts in 4991 days

#5 posted 01-07-2012 12:41 AM

You might want to look at ladderback chair styles as they can
be built with an axe and a few other hand tools. They are
a shaker style too. You might thing the legs look turned, but
that isn’t always the case in old chairs. The legs may just be
made from straight saplings.

Lacking a lathe, you can buy spindles or whole kits for a windsor
chair inexpensively.

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 3818 days

#6 posted 01-07-2012 12:44 AM

Don, something like this? It might at least give you some guidance, looks rather plain but that too is shaker

View Don Carrier's profile

Don Carrier

114 posts in 3719 days

#7 posted 01-07-2012 02:06 PM

Thanks everyone for the tips. The chair presented by casual1carpenter is perfect. Now the guts to do the joints is all I need. I have 1500bf of QSRO so that’s the material I will use. I love the tack-covered seat. I’ll have some left-over material from my Citroen restoral project that will be great.

-- Don

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4580 days

#8 posted 01-12-2012 01:51 PM

I am going to build a dining room table, two side benches and two end chairs from burl elm. I’m going to start with the benches first, then the table and the chairs will be last because the mortise & tenon joints will be more complicated. Here's a review of the MLCS horizontal router table. I’m not going to buy this table, I’ll just use it as a guide to build my own. I have several sets of linear bearings that I’ve picked up on e-bay for less than $25 a set to use.

-- Hal, Tennessee

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