Charles Rohlfs Tall Back Chair

Charles Rohlfs Tall Back Chair
Charles Rohlfs Tall Back Chair
Charles Rohlfs Tall Back Chair
Charles Rohlfs Tall Back Chair
Charles Rohlfs Tall Back Chair

This is the third Rohlfs chair that I have attempted to reproduce, the first being Rohlfs Rocking Chair and the second his iconic 1898 desk chair.

Before going further, I want to thank Dr. Karl Kusserow, Curator of American Art at the Princeton University Art Museum for the information and pictures he provided me on Rohlfs Tall Back chair. They were very useful in developing the plans for this chair. I also had an opportunity to visit the Princeton University Art Museum on a 2012 trip to New York and see Rohlfs tall back chair first hand. I spent about an hour looking at the chair, taking photos and videos of it from as many angles as possible.

As with Rohlfs desk chair, I was surprised at how light the chair structure is and how fine the carving is. The thickness of the wood is less than ¾ inch. The carving is quite intricate and delicate looking.

I had a 2×8× 60 inch piece of walnut left over from my Malolof rocker build and various other small pieces of walnut. I resawed the 2 inch thick piece into two boards which I book matched to form the back. The grain pattern of the book matched walnut matches the shape of the back quite nicely.

I spent a considerable amount of time piecing together the other small walnut pieces I had left over make up the boards needed for the other parts of the chair. Each side is made from four pieces, which in turn were each glued up from smaller walnut boards.

Structurally, the chair is actually quite simple , only five parts and some braces. The main feature and challenge is the carved back.

The chair is 54” high, 17.5 inches wide and 18.5 inches deep. It is finished with Tung oil and wax.

— Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario


This is a beautiful chair I can understand why you would want to build it. Great job!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

Wonderful build and a great tribute to Rohlfs Peter. Truly unique design and well worth duplicating.

Mike, an American living in Norway

Nice Chair- How many hours to build?

mike 1950 – Thanks – I don’t keep a close count but it is somewhere around 100 hours.

amazing build,great work.

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker