Reader's Gallery

Charles Rohlfs 1898 Desk Chair Reproduction

comments (10) April 12th, 2012 in Reader's Gallery

woodbridge woodbridge, member
thumbs up 6 users recommend


This is the second of three Charles Rohlfs chairs that I am trying to reproduce. I have made a number of chairs following this style of this chair, but decided to try to make a more faithful reproduction of Rohlfs original 1898 desk chair.

The original versions of the chair were made from oak or mahogany. This chair is made from left over ash hardwood flooring, resawed and laminated to make the various parts of the chair. From a few pictures and the overall dimensions of the original, I scaled the photograghs to make the plans.

I enlarged photographs and made a templates to help reproduce the carving in the seat back and front panel. According to the experts, the carvings were inspired by the cellular structure of oak as seen under a microscope. 

The X leg structure of the chair, made from 7/8 X 7/8 pieces, although fairly light looking, is surprising stiff.

The chair is 54” high x 15” wide x 17” deep and is finished with antique cherry analine dye from Lee Valley, several coats of MinWax Tung Oil and buffed with beeswax.


Design or Plan used: Charles Rohlfs Desk Chair

posted in: Reader's Gallery, chair, carving, arts and crafts, ash

Comments (10)

bzack bzack writes: I saw this chair on the Roadshow- and was drawn to it. You have done the artist justice in your reproduction.
I have been doing research on this chair to reproduce it in metal. Any help you could give on demensions (other than overall size) would be wonderful. I know this is a wood workers site, so please dont judge me guys. I just thought it would me great to reproduce in another media.
Posted: 6:23 pm on August 12th

Artsandcrafts718 Artsandcrafts718 writes: I would love to buy one of these chairs from you . Can you send me a email if your selling these chairs ?

Posted: 3:32 pm on August 7th

rmadja rmadja writes: Woodbridge - Thanks. Since he was a patternmaker I thought this might be a possibility for him. Just worried about the long term durability of the chair with only screws. The other thought i had was that it might be an angled tenon nearly the same size of cross piece.

Very nice work and thanks for the reply. I did see all of your notes from the Lumberjocks website. Again, the extra angle on the cross piece is a nice touch.

Since I live in NJ, about 30 miles west of NYC, then I will pop into the Met and check it out.

All the best.

Posted: 5:31 pm on July 13th

woodbridge woodbridge writes: Rmadja - the joints are made with screws and then plugged. Based on what I saw this is how the chir seems to be made. There is not a lot of wood in the various parts that make up the structure for mortise and tenon joints

On my chair the pieces are about 7/8 " square. When I saw the actual chair at the Met I was surprised that the thickness was actually a little less about 5/8". I've provide more information on t is chair and what I observed at the Met at the following link
Posted: 10:17 pm on July 12th

rmadja rmadja writes: Looks great! I have been also thinking about making a Rohlfs chair. Bought the book to start researching, will have to go take a look in the Metropolitan for a good view. What type of joints did you use on the chair. Angled mortise and tenon, or did you do something different?
Posted: 9:23 am on July 6th

threeglasses threeglasses writes: A work of art, very cool
Posted: 11:38 am on June 28th

DougIddings DougIddings writes: How much would you sell one of these for? I love this exact chair and style, a reproduction is just what I am looking for.
Posted: 8:26 pm on June 11th

woodbridge woodbridge writes: Thanks for your comments. I recently visited New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw the chair first hand. I have provided some additional information about Rohlfs 1898 Desk Chair in a Lumber Jocks blog. (
Posted: 11:27 pm on May 28th

dwd dwd writes: absolutely love it!
I've always loved this chair and you've done a great job reproducing it. I know it was fun to do and I'm sure you learn a lot from the experience.
I can't wait to see what you do when you use this experience and all your other studies and experiences to create new pieces!
Keep up the great work.

Posted: 10:33 pm on May 27th

fat418 fat418 writes: You are a true artist.
Posted: 2:11 pm on April 15th

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