Morris Chairs

Handmade by Jon Palmer, November-December 2006

Here's the initial drawing, hopefully showing what the chairs will look like in a few weeks.

There are many parts, and it takes a long time.

This is the first project where I go to make extensive use of the new jointer. What a treat!

The arms were cut on the bandsaw, then cleaned using planes, scrapers and a belt sander.

Checking the layout of the backs. You have to make sure you know where the mortises will go!

Now to make the legs all exactly the same length because that has to match for mortising as well.

The slot mortiser makes nice mortises, but the corners still need squaring. I got my first Sorby Registered chisel for this project, and there are more in my future. :-)

I made templates for the aprons and back rails, so they can be cleaned up with a flush trim bit on the router table.

Making the shoulder cuts to define the tenons. There are 68 in all.

Cutting the cheeks on each tenon. the short direction will be sliced off on the bandsaw, but a tenoning jig gives very clean, square cheeks for good glue surfaces.

Once the parts are all planed, shaped, mortised, tenoned and sanded there are still many of them. :-) Next they go through all the finishing steps before final assembly. It's easier to do it that way. On this project I used very much the same finishing schedule as usual: final sanding/scraping, light oak aniline dye to even out the tone, 2-3 good coats of boiled linseed oil to support the fibers and bring out the grain, then in this case garnet shellac as a topcoat. Someday Real Soon Now I'll wax them as well. :-)

Here are a couple of shots of what all you have to do to clamp up something like this. If there's not enough floor or table space you can do the sides first and then clamp them together. It happened to work out on this project that I was able to clamp everything up at once. Mortise and tenon joinery is somewhat self-squaring, so that helped.

Here's a view of the finished backrest adjustment mechanism. It's a kind of 1-2-3 stick: If you aim one of the legs of the L away from the backrest it's all the way reclined, and each leg is a different length for different backrest angles.

This is a fairly poor view of the adjuster joinery. It's dovetailed though that's hard to tell.

A view of the finished project. If someone with good photography skills will volunteer, maybe I can post a better shot of the chairs. For now though they're in comfrotable use. This one is in the livingroom, and the other is in the Library next to Jill's desk.