Welcome! Forums Project Series Dining Chair Dining Chair Complete!!

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    Matt McGrane

    Finally finished the Sellers’ dining chair and I’m very happy with it. It’s made from Douglas fir. I might make three more, but that will have to be later in 2016. This was a really great and challenging project, most notably in getting the proper angles for the rear aspect of the lower side rails. In the end, there was only one M&T joint that didn’t come together as well as I’d like and that was on an upper side rail where it connects to the front leg. One thing I did differently from Paul’s design was to round over the tops of the front legs instead of leaving the flat circle.

    I completed the upholstery (vinyl, not leather) this morning and that went well, with one restart after cutting the “cows ear” at the corner improperly. The “helper” that Paul uses for compressing the foam works perfectly and really comes in handy.

    Question: I finished it with three coats of shellac (so far). I’m wondering if any of you would add coats of a polyurethane or other type of finish. If I stick with just shellac, I’ll add a coat of paste wax and call it a project.

    Questions and comments are encouraged.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/

    • This topic was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Matt McGrane.


    I have to CONGRATULATE you.
    The chairs looks fantastic.
    Bet it was not easy to do.


    Really nicely done!

    Derek Long

    Excellent! That nice clear Doug Fir you got really paid off.

    Derek Long
    Denver, Colorado

    Peter George

    That looks awesome Matt!

    Peter in
    Biggar SK
    "New York is big, but this is Biggar"


    Wow that is great looks almost like you know what your doing, says something for the teacher
    All kidding aside well done my frend good going.. now make swmbo..5 more


    In South Jersey the good part of New Jersey, USA.


    The bad side of shellac is that it can be spoiled by some liquids. The really, really good side of shellac is that you can actually repair it when damaged. Since a chair of this kind should rarely be exposed to liquids, I’d be tempted to stay with shellac for a “use at home” chair. For a chair with wide arms, like Paul’s Craftman rocker, I might think differently. In that case, I really like General Finishes Arm R Seal over water base dye.

    Beautiful work!

    Matt McGrane

    Thanks for all the kind words, everybody. And @ed – thanks for the advise on finishing. I ended up simply sanding my last coat of shellac and adding a coat of paste wax. Looks nicer now.

    Incidentally, I dinged an upper side rail while buffing out the wax with a shoe brush. This Doug fir is really soft. I’m going to have to start using some harder woods on projects like this.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/



    that chair looks really good. Nice and clean.

    Doug fir is quite soft and the chair will get some dings during its life. You can call them “character”.

    At least now that you have made your chair and want to make more out of a harder wood you’ll be able to budget for wood correctly. Also, you know what’s in store so you would make less mistakes.


    Near Chicago, USA


    Matt – really nice work. Now, you need 3 more to do?

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