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Modern Morris Chair Plan - Paper Plan

Item #161151 Woodcraft Magazine
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Since the creation of the Morris chair by Englishman William Morris in the late 1800s, much has happened to improve and stylize the original design. Most notable are the versions in early 20th-century by Gustav Stickley during the American Arts and Crafts era. Over time, Morris chairs offered several ways to pivot and support the reclining back. Many of the chairs included through-tenon joinery in the legs.

Pennsylvania craftsman Jeffry Lohr’s take of the beloved Morris chair preserves the best elements while adding a few more. Among them are the broad center side splats with their eye-catching square openings and walnut buttons. Concealed mortise-and-tenon joints ensure enduring strength, while bent-wood back slats add welcome comfort. Departing from the traditional quartersawn white oak of earlier chairs, Jeffry chose cherry to give his piece modern appeal.

I’ll carefully cover the construction of Jeffry’s chair to help you build a classic like the one shown at left. Although you can make the needed mortises with drill-press-mounted bits and hand chisels, you’ll find that using a mortising machine will save hours of building time. Take care with the measuring, marking, and machining, using scrap to check your tool setups. In the end, you’ll be rewarded with a treasured heirloom admired by all who see or sit in it.

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