Morris Chair Finish - Marc Uses Lacquer Over Waterlox


SeventyFix
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All,

First off, thank you for any insight.  I am a total novice finisher so please excuse my ignorance.  I'm finishing up the Morris chair build from the Wood Whisperer Guild (Marc's guidance has been a great learning experience).  Marc uses Waterlox as a first coat.  I believe that it is oil-based and penetrates into the wood to enhance the appearance of the grain.  He then uses three coats of lacquer with no sealer in between (sanding sealer/shellac).

I have applied the Waterlox and it looks great (see pictures).  My questions are as follows:

  1. What is the reason for applying the lacquer?  It seems like Waterlox is used as a finish on a lot of projects (even floors).  It's a lot of extra work to apply the lacquer and it will take a lot of extra time.  Thankfully I have a friend who has a professional woodworking shop and he generously volunteered to spray the lacquer. 
  2. One of the senior and accomplished woodworkers at my local WoodCraft (shout out to Howard Hale), suggested sanding sealer between the Waterlox and lacquer.  I formed the impression that the lacquer might not adhere well to the oil-based Waterlox.  I could be wrong but I don't see Marc doing this in the video.  Any thoughts?

Thank you in advance.

P.S. The wood species is figured cherry and was purchased from Horizon Wood Products in Pennsylvania (thank you Dan Terbovich).
http://www.horizonwood.com/

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The grain is more wavy and wilder than the pictures show.  No stain or dye was applied.  The wood was sanded to 220 grit, cleaned with compressed air outdoors, vacuumed, rubbed down with tack cloth and wiped with 2 coats of Waterlox.

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BEAUTIFUL job. The wood is just amazing and your attention to detail matching the grain and construction. Can't say it enough!

Are you proficient with a spray gun? I guessing probably not. If that is the case, you may want to rock on with the Waterlox.

Spraying chairs are a bitch dealing with the over-spray. Being a novice sprayer, the tendency is to spray dry. Hence, you'll be spending a lot of time rubbing out the lacquer achieving the flat smooth baby face surface. 

Yes, do tell about the arms.

 

-Ace-

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pkinneb: The arms started as 8/4 stock, resawed into thinner pieces and sent through the wide belt sander until they reached a uniform quarter inch thickness.  I applied Unibond 800 to both surfaces of each slice.  All of the pieces where stacked together and clamped in a jig for 24 hours.  This is the method that Marc used in the video series.

AceHoleInOne     : : :ssdd    170  : The arms and chair back slats are laminated from resawn stock.  A friend of mine has a professional woodworking business and has a pro HVLP spray rig.  He did say that he'd teach me how to spray pre-cat lacquer but that these chairs were not the right project on which to learn.  He'll be doing the spraying and I'll do the sanding between coats.

wtnhighlander : Thank you.  It was a labor of love - I learned A LOT along the way.

Dknapp34 : Thank you.  I will be making a formal post once the chairs are completed.

Everyone, I appreciate the responses.  I understand why lacquer is a good idea.  I'm moving forward with the final finish.  I will be making a complete post of the project in 6-8 weeks when the project (including upholstery) is 100% done.  I made some mistakes (one of them a pretty big mistake) that I'm hoping that I can help others avoid if they purchase and tackle this project through the Wood Whisperer Guild.

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AceHoleInOne

The legs are laminated - 2 pieces of 8/4 stock glued together.  I'm not sure how easy it is to find 16/4 figured cherry.  It's a tricky deal because of the through tenons.  The tenons on the arms look good.  The stool legs show a pretty noticeable glue line after applying the Waterlox.  If I were to do it again, I would make the stool legs (which are much smaller than the chair legs) out of solid stock to avoid seeing the glue line.

I have seen some posts online where the craftsperson has used a more complicated glue-up for the legs.  This is especially common for Morris chairs made out of quartersawn oak.  This allows the medullary rays to be seen on each side of the legs (not a consideration when using cherry).  When assembling the legs, they'll use a solid block of oak glued into the leg which acts as the through tenon.  This is ingenious because the tenon appears as a single piece (no joints).  It's the best of both worlds.  I'm not a Stickley expert but it's been claimed that some of the original Stickley pieces used a version of this method.

Please see this post to better understand what I mean:

http://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=23301

I can envision using this method with one change: making the entire through tenon piece come from that middle filler block.  That would eliminate the glue joint entirely from the end grain, where it is quite noticeable.

ALSO: This method allows the craftsperson to cut the end of the through tenon on the miter saw until the exact, perfect pyramid end was achieved (if you want a pyramid through tenon, which I strongly prefer, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder).  I cut MANY such test pieces until I achieved just the right look and just the right settings on the saw.  The peaks of the pyramid had to intersect each corner perfectly - it had to be a perfect pyramid.  And the height and angle had to be just right - again a matter of personal preference.  For me, 15 degrees was the sweet spot!  And my saw (Festool Kapex) was much more accurate cutting that angle on the miter setting than it was on the bevel setting. 

 

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I was wondering on the leg stock if it was solid. Regardless, on your glue-line, the trade off is kick ass consistent figure throughout the chair. Wonderful!!!!!!!

On the through tenon, you could of cheated and made a fake one to sit on top of the arm made from a piece of solid stock. Just chisel out a square mortise. Make the fake tenon with a shoulder and cut the pyramid on top, that's what I did for my chair. All done on the table saw using about 6 degree. Not as pointed that way. 

I'm making a Morris chair out of solid tiger maple. The bitch is presenting the figure in the wood. My legs are solid stock with medium figure. I had a hard time finding good figure in thick leg stock. But hey, it is what it is. 

Glue lines aren't much of a problem if you're dyeing the wood. Very hard to conceal them with an "oil only finish." You may want to talk to your buddy about a water based topcoat in lieu of solvent lacquer.  I find that the oils on our hands tend to react more than with solvent lacquer finishes, kind of gets printed dull looking over time vs good water-based topcoats, just a thought. 

Post a picture when all done, ok!

 

-Ace-  

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52 minutes ago, AceHoleInOne said:

I was wondering on the leg stock if it was solid.

The legs are made from 2 pieces of 8/4 cherry, jointed and glued together. 

 

9 minutes ago, AceHoleInOne said:

Opps I forgot to ask....what did you do for cushions? 

 I met a friend through a local woodworking club (http://www.ntwa.org/).  He works for a company that designs custom airplane interiors - high end jobs for folks like the Saudi royal family.  The friend recommended an upholsterer that works for a company that sub contracts with his employer.  They do the leather and upholstery for the airplanes.  I figure that if it's good enough for the royals, then it's probably passable for this project.

I found the attached picture online and gave it to the upholsterer as a guide.  I'm not sure how closely I can achieve this look as the back of the chair is also upholstered.  Top grain leather in a dark chocolate brown.  It makes me cringe when people create masterful furniture, only to upholster these works of art themselves using only the finest in naugahyde, vinyl or "pleather".

Morris Upholstery.jpg

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7 minutes ago, SeventyFix said:

The legs are made from 2 pieces of 8/4 cherry, jointed and glued together. 

 

 I met a friend through a local woodworking club (http://www.ntwa.org/).  He works for a company that designs custom airplane interiors - high end jobs for folks like the Saudi royal family.  The friend recommended an upholsterer that works for a company that sub contracts with his employer.  They do the leather and upholstery for the airplanes.  I figure that if it's good enough for the royals, then it's probably passable for this project.

I found the attached picture online and gave it to the upholsterer as a guide.  I'm not sure how closely I can achieve this look as the back of the chair is also upholstered.  Top grain leather in a dark chocolate brown.  It makes me cringe when people create masterful furniture, only to upholster these works of art themselves using only the finest in naugahyde, vinyl or "pleather".

Morris Upholstery.jpg

That is a nice look. I have to think on this for my chair.

 

-Ace-

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This was meant to be a thread about a finishing question.  But since Ace brought it up, an alternate thread could be created called "Morris Chair Upholstery - WTF"

morris_chair_7_1.jpg

137740_1_l.jpg

AJBAMC-F02.jpg

fo11-22-4a_oak_Morris_chair.jpg

Morris-chair-lead.jpg

whiteback2.jpg

IMG_6596.jpg

Look at the beautiful figure on that last chair.  And look what they did to it with that appalling green and red fabric!

The owner (who chose the fabric) and the upholsterer (who did the work), should at the very least be subject to a public shaming.

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Tell you what....I like the fabric on the first chair. I'm not sure about leather for mine. After a few beers, I could see me sliding off the cushion onto the floor.  

Yes, the last chair, definitely horrible. The Morris chair is macho, strong, substantial, kick ass and take names. That thing looks girly and weak. Gawd, the fabric, He should be slapped.

 

Oh, I get it now, looking at the drop cloth, appears his "pink pad" fell out.  :P  

 

-Ace- 

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The backs are attached to the chair using dowel pegs.  I bought dowel stock as my local WoodCraft had some nice cherry dowel stock on sale and in various widths.

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Here is a good picture that I found online that shows the rear pegs in more detail.  I just don't have a picture of that aspect of my project with me on my phone.

McCoyMorris_backDetail.jpg

P.S.  Another detail that's missing here is the use of a larger dowel to make washers.  What happens is that the chair back has left-to-right movement when it is attached to the chair with pegs.  So I used larger 1-1/8" dowel stock, drilled in the center, to make cherry wood washers.  This eliminates any movement.  The movement is undesirable because that would allow the chair back to rub the arms.  The washers hold everything in place.

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Beautiful chair backs. If you have a lathe, you can make your washers out of resawn chair stock and laminating them together like a piece of plywood. Simply turn them round on the lathe to your desired size, afterwards drill the center to accommodate your dowel. 

The reason for the lamination is to prevent the wood washers from cracking.

 

-Ace-

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2 hours ago, AceHoleInOne said:

Beautiful chair backs. If you have a lathe, you can make your washers out of resawn chair stock and laminating them together like a piece of plywood. Simply turn them round on the lathe to your desired size, afterwards drill the center to accommodate your dowel. 

The reason for the lamination is to prevent the wood washers from cracking.

 

-Ace-

Agreed - your suggestion is a better way to make washers.  I'm not an experienced turner by any stretch of the imagination. 

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  • 5 years later...
On 4/14/2016 at 9:46 AM, SeventyFix said:

The backs are attached to the chair using dowel pegs.  I bought dowel stock as my local WoodCraft had some nice cherry dowel stock on sale and in various widths.

20160404_200115.jpg

20160406_073230.jpg

Here is a good picture that I found online that shows the rear pegs in more detail.  I just don't have a picture of that aspect of my project with me on my phone.

McCoyMorris_backDetail.jpg

P.S.  Another detail that's missing here is the use of a larger dowel to make washers.  What happens is that the chair back has left-to-right movement when it is attached to the chair with pegs.  So I used larger 1-1/8" dowel stock, drilled in the center, to make cherry wood washers.  This eliminates any movement.  The movement is undesirable because that would allow the chair back to rub the arms.  The washers hold everything in place.

 

On 4/8/2016 at 4:13 PM, SeventyFix said:

This was meant to be a thread about a finishing question.  But since Ace brought it up, an alternate thread could be created called "Morris Chair Upholstery - WTF"

morris_chair_7_1.jpg

137740_1_l.jpg

AJBAMC-F02.jpg

fo11-22-4a_oak_Morris_chair.jpg

Morris-chair-lead.jpg

whiteback2.jpg

IMG_6596.jpg

Look at the beautiful figure on that last chair.  And look what they did to it with that appalling green and red fabric!

The owner (who chose the fabric) and the upholsterer (who did the work), should at the very least be subject to a public shaming.

Hi guys Posting to this 5 years after the last post, hopefully someone will see this.  I'm trying to identify a Morris chair that was just given to me,  It is the exact chair that is pictured in this set of chairs, 4th chair from the beginning, the dark one with claw foot legs.  Any ideas as to where I can find the maker of this chair?

Thanks so much!!

Scott

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