A Side Chair

A side chair of simple design and construction is here given. The great difficulty with most chair designs is that the back is generally designed narrower than the front, thus necessitating the rails entering the posts or legs at angles. To the amateur this is quite confusing. The chair illustrated is the same in width, both back and front, so that the shoulders of all the rails are at right angles to the sides. The back of the chair is straight, thus simplifying the design still mor


Side Chair Complete

Another thing which is confusing to the beginner in his efforts to lay out the mortises is the irregular placing of the rails. It will be noted that in this design the rails of side, front and back are on the same level.

Plain sawed red oak will be appropriate for this piece. Have the pieces mill-planed and sandpapered on four sides to size, allowing 1/2 in. extra to the lengths for squaring up the ends.

Details of Side Chair

There will be needed the following:

  • 4 rails, 7/8 by 2 by 17-1/2 in.

  • 4 rails, 3/4 by 2 by 17-1/2 in.

  • 2 front posts, 1-1/2 by 1-1/2 by 19 in.

  • 2 rear posts, 1-1/2 by 1-1/2 by 37-1/2 in.

  • 1 back, 3/4 by 9-3/4 by 17-1/2 in.

  • 2 cleats, 3/8 by 1 by 16 in.

  • 4 slats, 3/8 by 2 by 16-1/2 in.

Begin work by cutting the posts to the lengths indicated in the drawing. The lower ends should be chamfered slightly to prevent their splintering from usage. The top ends are cut to an angle of 45 deg., the slope beginning 1/2 in. below the top. Lay out and cut the mortises. To do this, lay off the measurements on one of the posts, then place all four side by side on the bench, with the face marks up. Even the ends with the try-square and then carry the measurements just made across all of them, using the try-square. The rails ought to be shouldered on all four sides. Three-eighths inch is a good thickness for the tenons. The width may be 1-1/4 in. and the length 1 in.

Place the rails side by side on the bench with the joint-edges up and the ends evened. Measure off the desired length on one of them and carry the lines across all of them to indicate the location of the shoulder lines. Separate the pieces and square these lines entirely around all of the sides of each piece. With the tenon saw rip and cross cut to these lines.

The back, it will be noted, is set on a slant to add comfort. Thoroughly clean all the parts and assemble them, using good hot glue. Put the back together first, then the front. After these have dried, put the side rails in place.

Cut and fit the two cleats—one to the front rail and one to the rear rail. Keep them even with the lower edge of the rail so as to form a slight recess at the top when the slats are in place. This is to keep the cushion from sliding off. The slats need not be "let into" the cleats but merely fastened to their top edges. The cushion may be made of Spanish roan skin and should be filled with elastic felt.

In the chair shown, the joints are reinforced by the addition of lag screws. If the glue is good and the joints well fitted, these are not necessary.