Morris Chair with a little G&G flair


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There are quite a few Morris chair journals on here. Just search for them with the search bar at the top of the page. Here is a link to the one i created. I have a few tips in there regarding wood management and nesting curves. Marc was VERY wasteful with both plywood and chair wood on his project.

Don't discount the through tenons the method marc shows is pretty foolproof. At least give it a try on some scrap, it's a great method to learn chisel technique and template creation.

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I did one a few years back. I really enjoyed the build. Here's a link to some discussion on it.

One thing I strayed from Marc's process on was the through tenons on the arms. Since the legs were veneered with mesquite I didn't want the cherry core to show through the top, so I stopped the tenon about ¼" shy of the top surface of the arm and made caps from mesquite to finish them off. One advantage was it being easier to get a perfect fit on the caps. 

I also made the chair about 2" taller to make it easier to get in and out of.

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I used the same technique as Mick on the through tenons on the arm rests.  I think it is a nicer way to get a fit that looks good.

Also if you are close to 6ft tall making the chair a little taller is something to think about.

You have some nice design elements - one thing I would think about is with you cloud lift feature it will probably be better to do actual mortise and tenons for the side slates as apposed to the filler block technique Marc used.  I enjoy the mortise and tenon process so that was the way I was going al along.

Sapele Morris Chair

 

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Mick and Chet, that's a fantastic idea with the through tenons. I think I'll use that!

I'm just not that confident in my ability to cut a perfect angled through mortise through the arm. Since the leg is splayed, the tenon will cross through the plane of the arm at about 6° from perpendicular. I could hand cut it, but having only done a few through angled through mortises to date, it seems a pretty big risk of screwing it up. To use a jig, I'd have to make some kind of shim, I think, to get the angle right. The cap idea would let me cut the mortise and use a faux top cap to get a perfect fit. Fantastic. Great idea!

I'm 6'1", so I'm making it just a bit higher as well.

Chestnut, great results on those chairs! I had no idea the upholstery was going to be so expensive! They look fantastic though!

Chet, that was a fantastic build. I love how perfect that bent lamination turned out! And that through mortise... Nice.

Mick, wow! I love the detailed elements. Did you have an issue with fragility at the curve point on the cloudlift trim pieces? I assume you cut it from a single piece and didn't laminate it, right? Is there anything specific vis-a-vis grain direction I need to think about there?

Does anyone have any thoughts on the design of the ottoman? Will it be stable enough without a bottom rail?

Thanks so much for all your input guys! So far I've got the legs glued up, dimensioned and the mortises cut.

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4 hours ago, SadDonkey said:

Mick, wow! I love the detailed elements. Did you have an issue with fragility at the curve point on the cloudlift trim pieces? I assume you cut it from a single piece and didn't laminate it, right? Is there anything specific vis-a-vis grain direction I need to think about there?

Does anyone have any thoughts on the design of the ottoman? Will it be stable enough without a bottom rail?

Edit: Misunderstood your question. Yes, the trim on the cloud lifts are single pieces, cut on the bandsaw and cleaned up on a spindle sander. I paid careful attention to the grain, color and figure to match up with the stretchers. And yes, you have to be very careful of the grain orientation, particularly if you're using a trim bit in a router. Going uphill is a definite risk - always rout downhill with the grain. I was also careful to have the grain on the sides, front and back match the orientation of the lines of the chair.  Note the falling grain that mirrors the curvature of the arms on the sides and the cloud lifts on the front stretcher. The slats are bookmatched and the Zia panel grain is falling top to bottom, front to back. All in all it gives the chair direction.

IMG_3769.thumb.jpeg.a2667b4fcaea17bce2fec93b0e97d38c.jpeg

IMG_3802.thumb.jpeg.3cd8c332ea4726c6002ccac48c0bd80f.jpeg

 

As for the ottoman, I used top and bottom stretchers in lieu of a center bottom stretcher.  The single stretcher just looked like a weak point to me.

IMG_3809.thumb.jpeg.35a6764c3a3a6c8dad761bb01ff20928.jpeg

 

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Mick, I see what you mean about the grain direction. It really seems to flow around the chair. Well thought-out, for sure. I have the same weak feeling in my bowels about no bottom stretcher on the ottoman. I think I will add one to the design. The picture I based it off of didn't have one, but.... My kids are very active, lol.

As a side question, are you happy with that Hammer A3? Hammer is really big over here, though pricey. I've had my eye on the 12 inch Jet helical head for this spring. Have you had any experience with it?

 

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I did a bottom stretcher with slats to match the sides of the chair.  Not doing that, I think would give the ottoman a light, weak appearance.  

And yea, the upholstery is going to sting your wallet a little but I think after all the work you put into it, it is worth having it done by as pro.

IMG_5930.thumb.jpg.e397c0dc9abeca9ea903354e906d3c5f.jpg

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4 hours ago, SadDonkey said:

As a side question, are you happy with that Hammer A3? Hammer is really big over here, though pricey. I've had my eye on the 12 inch Jet helical head for this spring. Have you had any experience with it?

 

Pricey here, too. I'm very happy with it. Buy once, cry once. Like all J/P combos, there are some drawbacks. Having to raise and lower the planer table every time you switch over can be a pain. I worked around that by making this - 

This isn't my first J/P combo, I've also owned Inca, Elektra Beckum, Minimax (back in the '80s when they first came out hit our shores) and Luna (Swedish). The Hammer is much better than any of them. I have no experience with the Jet, but it gets good reviews over here.

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On 1/9/2021 at 5:36 AM, SadDonkey said:

I'm just not that confident in my ability to cut a perfect angled through mortise through the arm. Since the leg is splayed, the tenon will cross through the plane of the arm at about 6° from perpendicular. I

Note entirely sure which directions you are planning the splay but just because the leg is splayed doesn't mean the tenon has the follow suit. The plans show for creating a taper on the outsides of the leg from a large solid block. To achieve a splay a parallel taper would accomplish the same thing and allow for joinery to remain square.

The joinery for the apron sections on the front and sides would still be angled and somewhat complicated. That could be handled multiple ways

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3 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

Note entirely sure which directions you are planning the splay but just because the leg is splayed doesn't mean the tenon has the follow suit. The plans show for creating a taper on the outsides of the leg from a large solid block. To achieve a splay a parallel taper would accomplish the same thing and allow for joinery to remain square.

The joinery for the apron sections on the front and sides would still be angled and somewhat complicated. That could be handled multiple ways

Very true.

In fact you usually want to cut any joinery in your parts before you cut the parts to shape.

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Here are a few dimension drawings from Fusion360, one of the front leg and one overview of the chair.

Looking at the way the tenon was planned, I was concerned that parts of it could chip off. The tenon was designed to pass through the arm perpendicularly, which required the tenon to not follow the direction of the grain. The leg leans backward by a few degrees, so in order for the tenon to pass perpendicularly through the horizonal arm, the tenon needed to exit the top of the leg at an angle from the wood fibers. That would leave a bit of it unsupported at the top because of the lean. Because of that concern (and not because I screwed up when I laid it out and cut it. Ok, it was because I screwed up, but I'm justifying my incompetence retrospectively), I wound up actually making the tenon follow the general direction of the fibers, which is the same as the inside faces of the leg (that don't get the reverse taper). This winds up having the tenon have the same lean/splay as the front leg (toward the back) and making it pass through the arm at an angle. Sooo, that's where I stand. I like the idea of having it stop short of the top surface of the arm, then making a faux tenon top to peek out. I can make that look good and not have to worry too much. I'm still pretty much a beginner, so, while this is an ambitious design for me, sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

I also decided to add a bottom apron and some side slats to the stool to beef it up a bit. I'll post some pics as I progress.

Overview Dimensions.pdf Right Front Leg Dimensions.pdf

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All of that is confusing. I'd make an oversized leg strait and perpendicular to the arm and floor and cut tapers into each face to create the splay angle. This will keep your tenon and mortise perpendicular. Because the taper  angle isn't very severe you could also then make the mortise for the side rail on the leg perpendicular so the side rail to front leg joinery would be a LOT more simple to create. Creating the leg this way is very similar to how the guild build covers the side rail creation. It's also how most dinig chair legs are created. Make a big block and cut the leg out of the large block. It creates waste but that waste is minimal compared to when you mess up a leg and have to recreate the entire thing because of grain run out or a mistake. All in all your waste is measured in tenths of a board foot, and the wedges that are created are extremely useful in a shop.

Even if you don't make the tenon a through tenon, it's still an important joint. This is the joint that secures the arm to the leg and that arm will get a LOT of stress over it's life time. If that joint is sloppy and doesn't get a good glue connection the arm could be compromised and it would be a difficult repair in the long run.

Angled joinery is difficult and is best avoided unless there is no other way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have the Hammer A3-31 with straight knives.  I've had it for two or three years now and can't get used to the European blade guard.  I don't like taking my front hand off the piece to go over the guard, even for a second.  I THINK I would have been just as happy, or happier, with the Jet with helical heads, but that's just based on reviews of the jet, I haven't had hands on.

For my space, I don't regret the purchase.  If I had a slightly larger shop I would want to move away from a combo machine.

For the Morris chair, I skipped the through tenons alltogether.  I'm not even sure why, maybe I mentioned it in my journal?  I think maybe I accidentally cut the legs too short, or maybe I found a defect that I had to cut out?

In the end, the only reason I "miss" the through tenon is for the shear fact of proving I could do it in this chair in that location.  The chair's design doesn't necessarily need them IMO.  -Especially if the chair is moved to an extra room where it is rarely seen and almost never sat in, like mine. 

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2 hours ago, bleedinblue said:

I have the Hammer A3-31 with straight knives.  I've had it for two or three years now and can't get used to the European blade guard.  I don't like taking my front hand off the piece to go over the guard, even for a second.  I THINK I would have been just as happy, or happier, with the Jet with helical heads, but that's just based on reviews of the jet, I haven't had hands on.

For my space, I don't regret the purchase.  If I had a slightly larger shop I would want to move away from a combo machine.

For the Morris chair, I skipped the through tenons alltogether.  I'm not even sure why, maybe I mentioned it in my journal?  I think maybe I accidentally cut the legs too short, or maybe I found a defect that I had to cut out?

In the end, the only reason I "miss" the through tenon is for the shear fact of proving I could do it in this chair in that location.  The chair's design doesn't necessarily need them IMO.  -Especially if the chair is moved to an extra room where it is rarely seen and almost never sat in, like mine. 

Welcome back! Been a while.

I agree on the euro blade guard I am better now but it still seems strange to take your hand off the wood to go over the guard.

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3 hours ago, RichardA said:

Good to have you back in the fold.  We were running out of cops to pick on:ph34r:...

No s*#t! Good to see you back! As always, thank you and your bride for your services and stay safe. 

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