Chairs finally Done!


Senior User
I built a new dining room table earlier this year and posted about it. The table is 10 feet long, 42 inches wide, with a cherry top and a structure of framing lumber stained black with ink (covered with poly). But it needed chairs. I did not feel like making them right away, I built a dresser next then came back to the chairs in early May. Just finished them this week.

I used an old Woodsmith plan I made before for myself and my daughter with a ladder back. But I went with the vertical slats for these dining room chairs. A major decision was what to make the 6 back slats out of. I mocked up all cherry and all black. My kids and most of the others I asked liked the black. So I built 8 with black slats. I used poplar because it is easier to work with and I did not want to color cherry that way. I wanted something different for the two end chairs. Arms is traditional but I would have had to figure that out and I was ready to be done at that point. So I put two cherry slats in the center. I think it looks fine but I am not sure it looks better than all black. But it is different.

The joints for the curved top rail is traditional mortise and tenon. I did not want to try and cut a domino mortise in a curved top rail. But the other mortise and tenon joints are all domino loose tenon joints. The back slats are held in by 12mm domino mortises. Much quicker. Tenons are all cherry, made from scrap. All but the little lower side rail are 8mm thick and over an inch wide. The mortises were made by two plunges of my domino XL in the wide setting.


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Board of Directors, Vice President
Staff member
Corporate Member
Love it Super nice........ I'll give you what my wife says to me "wow ! it looks like a professional did it " ........ :D

Awesome work !

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Excellent. Thanks for inspiring us


Corporate Member
Great work on the chairs, and the table also! Did you say you made the plans for the chairs yourself?


Senior User
The plans are in a Woodsmith article, I think it is issue 66. I bought the flash drive a couple years ago so I have all the older issues on it. A key reason I keep building these chairs is the joints are all 90 degree joints. Many chairs have joints at other angles which complicates things.

Thanks for the compliments guys. This isn't a hard chair to make, I did the first 8 ladder backs with plunge router made mortises and regular tenons so it doesn't require "fancy" tools. But they take a LOT of time. I think you also need a bandsaw but there might be some way to make them without one. But even a small one would work. My 14 inch Jet was handy to resaw the 8/4 cherry I found. The back legs call for 5/4 and the front legs 6/4 but I could not find those thicknesses near me. It became handy to resaw the 8/4 down. Several chairs have back legs made of glueups of the offcut from that operation. The few cherry back slats are also made of a glueup of the offcuts.


Beautiful work. Really like the end chairs how you did the cherry on the middle. Think it turned out nice! Really amazing work on the table and chairs.

Matt Furjanic

Senior User
Wow those are some awesome chairs. Mark of an excellent craftsman - making chairs. They are always a challenge. I’ve made a few, and they are difficult. These are the best I’ve seen. Nice work!


Senior User
They are quite comfortable. The Woodsmith plans call for high density 2 inch foam and to cut it at a 30 degree angle pointing away from the seat. That makes it hard to pull the fabric over the foam neatly so you can staple it to the 3/4 plywood seat base but when I got them done I found they were more comfortable than the ones I made with square cut foam maybe 20 years ago (they have ladder backs). I don't know if that is because the recent chairs have better foam or is cutting it at an angle like this helped. The design of the chair is good, however, the seats are flat and the back has a nice rake to it. My older breakfast table chairs and my daughters are the same basic design and we all find them comfortable. I made a half inch plywood template 20+ years ago and used it to trim all the back legs to the same shape - so the rake is the same on all the chairs I've made of this type.

I think I made my pattern 1 inch taller than the Woodsmith plans, however. I find a lot of Woodsmith plans to be, in my opinion, kind of short. I'm 6'2" and my daughter and late wife are 5'9" so we are a little taller than average - my son is taller than me.

I used my template to plunge router the mortises for the curved top rail. I might use the domino for these mortises too if I made them again. It is by far the fastest, most accurate way to make mortises I've tried. But the plunge router with a spiral upcut bit worked fine.

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