3-Ply Moravian Chair-Part 1

Well, its time to tackle a chair.  For my first chair you would think that I would opt for a proven and well documented design.  Nah, where is the fun in that?

I’ve been kicking around an idea for a while now.  Sort of a mix of Mid-Century/Danish and traditional vernacular (staked) chairs.  A chair with no seat carving or steam bending, but still comfortable, strong and, hopefully, attractive.  A chair made with easily sourced material.

After a lot of head scratching and sketches, here is what I have come up with.

A Moravian style (although several cultures have built chairs this way) chair, but built with modern plywood for the seat, battens and back.  With the plywood bits being derived from a quarter sheet of 18mm(3/4″) thick plywood (24″x48″ in the U.S.).

With design work complete, all that is left is to build a couple and see what they are like in flesh.  To that end, I picked up a sheet of Finnish birch ply from the local Woodcraft and spent an afternoon milling parts.  The legs and optional stretchers will be from red oak.

The next operation was to glue the battens in place after first shaping their edges.  I tackled one batten at a time.  Leaving each in the clamps for an hour before moving on to the next one.  It took all evening, but the all four of the battens are installed.

Using a clamping caul for even distribution of pressure.

The vise proved the best option for clamping the smaller batten.

Then a little layout work with the aid of a scrap piece of ply.

Well I’m committed now.  Stay tuned.

Side Note:

Brian, over at Toolerable, has an annual June Chair Build“.  Fortuitous timing means that I will be able to play along this year.  If things go as planned, I may even knock together a bench to match the stools.  

Check out Brian’s blog and join in on the chair building.

Greg Merritt

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12 Responses to 3-Ply Moravian Chair-Part 1

  1. Salko Safic says:

    Thanks for the link! and good post as well mate. I think the hardest part of woodworking is building a good solid but yet comfortable chair.

  2. Good stuff, Greg. I love how you’ve gotten all non-leg parts from a single quarter sheet of plywood.

  3. Coisas EM'adeira says:

    You’re full speed ahead!! 😛

  4. Derek Long says:

    Interesting pegged back… Should be fun, Greg.

  5. Brian Eve says:

    I like the idea of this chair in plywood. I can’t wait to see it.

    I think I have figured out mine, too. Pretty similar, except different.


    • Greg Merritt says:

      The plywood is a bit of a risk. I’ll have to be careful with technique and sharpen…a lot. If I’m lucky I’ll end up with chairs that are a mix of Germanic and modern.

      I’ll be looking for your post about your chair and it’s design.

  6. Pingback: Welsh Staked Stool-Part 3-Complete | HILLBILLY DAIKU

  7. Pingback: 3-Ply Moravian Chair-Part 2 | HILLBILLY DAIKU

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