Charles Rohlfs 1898 Desk Chair and Popular Woodworking Article


One of the goals I set when I retired three years ago was to write and publish an article in a major woodworking magazine.

Early last year I was thrilled when Popular Woodworking magazine accepted my proposal about building Charles Rohlfs’ 1898 desk chair. I made this chair several months ago but I held off posting it until the article in the Feb 2015 edition of Popular Woodworking Magazine was published.

Most woodworkers are familiar with Arts and Crafts makers such as Morris, Stickley and Greene. Their furniture is routinely featured in woodworking magazines. Charles Rohlfs has not received the same notoriety.

I’ve been studying Rohlfs work for a number of years and have recreated a number of his pieces. Rohlfs work is unmistakably arts and crafts furniture but with an eccentric edge to it. So I am thrilled to be able to bring Rohlfs work to a large number of woodworkers.

I’ve made a number of versions of the desk chair, refining each one to more closely resemble the original version that I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

This version of Rohlfs 1898 Desk Chair is made from African mahogany. It was darkened a bit with an English chestnut stain, and finished with several coats of “tung oil” then wax.

Very unique, definitely a conversation piece. Great Job!!

Very complex to build too.

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

Beautiful job. The research must have taken a lot of time, worth it in the end when recreating a crafts piece. Well done beauty. Your skills are as always impeccable.

CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

Beautiful work. I must admit I had never knew of Charles Rohlfs work until I read about him in P.W. Thanks for bringing him into the spotlight.

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

Congratulations to you for being published. Your research and application of your talents have yielded a marvelous piece. Iwill be picking up the magazine to read more for sure.

Great job!


Thanks for the comments everyone. I like the artistic nature of Rohlfs furniture. His creations were so unique,although some of them perhaps not so practical. They strike a cord with me and it is fun and interesting to try and dissect it and figure out how it was built.

His work is a real standout,you did a fabulous job.

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