Chair

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By Randy Johnson

Jigs and fixtures make building this chair a breeze—whether it's one or a whole yard full.

T4pyou're looking for an outdoor chair that's comfort-JLJL able and stable, and yet light enough to move around,you'll appreciate this Craftsman-style beauty. It's based on a chair design published in the early 1900s in a Stickley design magazine called, The Craftsman (Fig. A). Originally, I built an exact replica of this chair, but discovered it was too large for the average person and the sling seat was so low and deep that everyone who sat in it responded with "whoa!" and then struggled to get out.

So, I made four additional chairs, changing various parts in an attempt to improve comfort and looks. In the end, I came up with a chair that is smaller and has a stretched-fabric seat. I also added some curves for a softer look. One thing I kept from the original design is the mortise-and-tenon joinery. And for good reason—it's strong.

The original Craftsman chair design, circa early 1900s.

The original Craftsman chair design, circa early 1900s.

Tools and Materials

The essential power tools you'll need to build this chair are a tablesaw, a planer, a jointer, a bandsaw, a router and router table, a belt sander and a drill. A mortising machine is not a requirement, but it's really handy for the 24 mortises that each chair requires. You'll also need a variety of hand tools and a sewing machine, if you sew the fabric seat yourself.

It takes about 20 bd. ft. of lumber to build one chair. If you use mahogany (as we did), the wood will cost you about $100. A less-expensive option is to use a construction lumber, such as pine 2x4s and 2x6s. Twenty bd. ft. of pine will cost about $15. If you use construction-grade pine, let it dry for a couple of weeks indoors before using it. If you don't, your parts are likely to warp and twist. The 2-1/3 yards of fabric for the chair seat will run you about $25. You will also need some galvanized screws and weather-resistant glue (see Sources, page 108).

Make One or Make a Dozen

Because this project lends itself to being mass-produced, we show you how to use jigs and fixtures to produce multiples. However, if you only want to make one or two of these chairs, you can skip one or all of die jigs and fixtures. If you do skip the jigs and fixtures, you'll have to be very careful about measuring and cutting, because without them it's easier to make a mistake.

Mark the mortise locations on the legs. Pairing up the legs improves the accuracy of the layout. Mortise-and-tenon joinery is a good choice for this outdoor chair because it provides strength and durability.

Cut the mortises. With 24 to cut, use a machine if you can, it's much faster! All the mortises in this chair are 13/16-in. deep.

Mark the mortise locations on the legs. Pairing up the legs improves the accuracy of the layout. Mortise-and-tenon joinery is a good choice for this outdoor chair because it provides strength and durability.

Detail 1

Leg Mortise Layout

All mortises are 1/2-in. wide by 13/16-in. deep, unless noted.

25 degrees.

Cut the mortises. With 24 to cut, use a machine if you can, it's much faster! All the mortises in this chair are 13/16-in. deep.

Getting Started

It saves a lot of time if you cut all the parts to rough dimensions and machine them to final thickness and width as a group. There are a couple of exceptions to this. The feet (J and K), the back posts (M) and the armrests (N) get cut to final width later on. Only machine them to final thickness and joint one edge for now. See the Cutting List, page 72, for dimensions.

Mortising the Legs

When it comes to mortise-and-tenon joinery, always make the mortises first and fit the tenons second. It's easier to fit a tenon to a mortise than the other way around.

Start by laying out the mortises (Detail 1, at left, and Photo 1) on the legs (A and B). Then make the mortises in the legs with a mortising machine (Photo 2) or drill and hand chisel the mortises or use a plunge router with a template guide. All the mortises are 13/16-in. deep and 1/2-in. wide, except the mortises for the front seat stretcher (Part H, Detail 4, Fig. B), which is 1 -in. wide. I find the easiest way to cut this wide mortise is with the help of a spacer along the fence (Photo 3).

Cutting the Rails and Stretchers

These angled rails and tenons can be pretty intimidating, but if you build the cut-off sled (Fig. D) and follow the cutting sequence (Fig. C) they're quite doable.

Exploded View

Detail 2 Armrest Profile

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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