A Closer Look at an Arts and Crafts-Style Chair

The completed Arts and Crafts-Style Chair.

The most recent episode of Rough Cut features Tommy building an Arts and Crafts-Style Chair, an impressive project that presents challenging — but doable — techniques for woodworkers of all ability.

The episode stands out for its demonstrations on making the legs, arms and back of the chair, using mostly standard mortise and tenon joinery.

In Episode 2 Tommy once again finds himself out in California, this time in Alto Loma, where he stops in at the home of the late, great Samuel Maloof, one of the best-known chair makers in woodworking. Thoroughly inspired by the trip, Tommy returns to the shop and gets a little help from master furniture maker Chuck Bender of the Acanthus Workshop in Pennsylvania.

We pressed Tommy to tell us a little more about the episode, the project and his road trip:

1) If you were to rate the Arts and Crafts-Style Chair project on a difficulty scale, where would it land?

Tommy: It’s definitely manageable. I’d give it a solid 3 – 5 out of 10. You just need to be meticulous.

2) Any tips for the ambitious woodworkers out there who want to take this project on?

Tommy: Be methodical. Put it together piece by piece. Break it into manageable pieces and don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture. Take it on in understandable chunks and you can get through it.

3) In your opinion, what distinguishes Samuel Maloof’s work from other chair and furniture makers?

Tommy: He was a real pioneer in shaping wood. He truly stands alone in woodworking. He was a leader in that movement in shaping materials. The California curve and all that stuff came from him and that movement.

4) You attract some pretty amazing woodworkers into your shop in these episodes. This time it was Chuck Bender of the Acanthus Workshop in Pennsylvania. What did you learn from your time spent with Chuck in the workshop?

Tommy: It was great having Chuck in the workshop. He has a layman’s approach to making furniture. We met him last year on the road. He’s been in furniture making for 25 years and has tremendous skills with the hand tools. We’re thrilled that Rough Cut could give him a venue to shine some light on his school. In fact, going to his school is something that I would like to do!

Missed the Arts and Crafts-Style Chair episode? Check the Station Finder to see when it’s being replayed. Don’t miss Episode 3, when Tommy builds a detailed Pie Crust Tray!

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4 Responses to A Closer Look at an Arts and Crafts-Style Chair

  1. robtdattilo says:

    Tommy
    I am trying to build a 6 picture stand up floor stand. I am having a problem routing the inside of each frame cut out. Where I need 45 degree corners, they are rounded. I am using the ogee bit and you know you can’t get corners. Help me out, what do I do ?

    Thanks for any help,
    Rob

  2. terrier says:

    on the chair plans, does the finish cut size include the tenons, or should they be added to the length?

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