Free chair woodworking plans, how to make a Morris chair with an adjustable reclining back. I have made two versions of this design, one in metric optimised for standard timber sizes, and the other in inches.
To make the original version in inches I would think involves a lot more equipment than I have in my modest workshop. I'm thinking table saw, jointer and thicknesser, with a drill pressed fitted with a mortising attachment.
Of course it's not impossible to make this woodworking project using only hand tools, now is it?
I am going to focus on the metric version, because the wood is available as ready to use in standard sizes.
Here is a list of what you may need to build this project: dimensions are nominal, in millimetres.
So, in summary, these are the totals given as the standard nominal lengths in meters.
Please note I am not suggesting that you have these cut to length, this is just a simplified shopping list that you can take to your local timber supplier.
One of the features of Mission style furniture is the exposed through tenon which is also bevelled.
Dowel joints are popular with modern furniture factories today, but they invariably fail over time.
To make repairs, I have used long woodscrews as shown in the illustration below.
This is how I would make the joint between the stretchers and the legs. The leg is shown translucent to make it a little easier to explain.
Instead of cutting a mortise and tenon joint, I would like to try to make the connection as shown - two dowels and a large woodscrew in the middle, capped off with a bevelled plate to give the impression of a Mission style mortise and tenon joint.
Here the basic frame is complete and the backrest and armrest are in place before final assembly. I have to make sure there is enough between clearance before marking out and fitting the armrests.
I am using recycled timber so you may see the odd hole here and there.
Cutting the half lap joint for the backrest using a handsaw.
In the photo above, I have tried to show the experiments pertaining to the joining of the slats to the frame.
First I tried to make a mortise and tenon joint, that didn't go too well. The rails are 19 mm thick, the slats at 12mm, so I would have to shave off at least 3mm on each side to make a tenon of 6mm thick.
Perhaps this would
be easy enough with a table saw, or an overhead cross cut saw, or
even a bandsaw. Having none of these machines, I would have to do it
Then there is the
matter of cutting the mortise. Most would use a mortise cutting
attachment in a drill press, but I very much doubt there is one as
small as 6mm.
Seems to me a lot of
tedious work for very little reward.
Why not use dowel
joints, but instead of wooden dowels, use small nails? I used panel
pins about 40mm long and about 1.5mm in diameter, with the head cut
Here is the tip:
Drill pilot holes
for the dowel nails. Convention would dictate using a small drill,
and to achieve a modicum f holding power, a drill bit smaller than
the diameter of the nail.
Here’s the thing:
such a small drill bit in a hefty electric drill is like using an
elephant to swat a fly. Besides, the drill bit is likely to break,
and good luck with removing that.
Instead of a small
drill bit, I used a nail, also with the head cut off, in an egg
beater hand drill.
One of the
advantages of using a nail to drill small holes is that you are still
going to get a tight fit, mainly because you are not cutting any wood
You can use any type of drill, but bear in mind the speed of an electric drill will heat up the nail and make it go soft. This is not a problem if you are going to drill just a few, and let the nail cool down a bit. I discovered this one one day when I was happily drilling a whole batch, after a while, a strange thing started happening – the nail took on the characteristics of spaghetti.
This is how I did it.
Proceed in this manner to achieve the best results, unless you have a better way, we would be grateful if you would like to share your tip. There should be a FAQ at the end of this page.
First, I marked out the position for two dowel pins in the end grain of the slats. Of course, the drill bit is going to wander off a fraction, so I am going to use the dowel nails to locate the position of the holes in the corresponding rail. Much like the dowel centres for wooden dowels.
The depth of the holes should be half the length of the nails, if not a little less.
By the way, in the final assembly, I am not using any glue for the slats – only for the frame.
Use the form below to download a set of chair woodworking plans with dimensions and details of the component parts.
Metric Version using standard size timber.
Original Version in inches if you have a fully equipped workshop and you can mill your own timber.
How to build a portable beach chair. Free chair woodworking plans PDF download by Rob Brown, editor of Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement.
Nothing too complicated here, make them in batches for the whole family.
Tools like bandsaw, table saw and planer is suggested, but I think it can be made with portable power tools.
Use the FAQ form below to ask any questions, leave comments or share your projects and tips and tricks.