This section is from the book "Mission Furniture: How To Make It", by Henry Haven Windsor. Also available from Amazon: Mission Furniture: How to Make It.
The arm chair here described and illustrated is intended to be one of the set of diners made after the design of the side chair described on another page. The same general directions for making the side chair apply equally to the arm chair.
The stock given in the following list should be purchased surfaced on four sides and well sandpapered:
Prepare the posts first by cutting them to the lengths shown in the drawing. In the photograph the front posts have their tops cut off square and the arms fastened to them by means of lag screws. A better way from a mechanical point of view would be to shoulder the top ends on the four sides, cut through-mortises in the arms and insert these tenoned posts into these mortises, pinning the arm to the post by means of small dowels in the edge of the post and through the tenon.
The brackets under the arms are to be fastened to the posts and arms by means of concealed dowels and glue of good quality.
All of the rails should be tenoned into the posts thoroughly, even if the lag screw fastenings are used. If the lag screws are used, the tenons may be what are known as stubb tenons - tenons of short length. Good hot glue should be used in either case.
The shape of the arms is indicated in the drawing. They are fastened to the rear posts by means of dowels and glue.
Arm Chair Complete
The slats, or verticals, of the back should not have their ends tenoned but should have the mortises in the rails cut sufficiently large to "let in" the whole end of each. This is much easier and more likely to result in a satisfactory fit than to shoulder them. Any unevenness in the lengths of the respective slats will not affect the fitting of the joints by this latter method.
The tops of the rear posts in this chair, as in the side chair, are cut to angles of 45 deg., beginning the slope at lines marked 1/2 in. from the tops.
Details of Chair
The bottom is made up of 2-in. slats fitted between the front and back rails and fastened to cleats which have been previously fastened to the insides of the front and back rails. Keep these cleats low enough on the rails so that the top surfaces of the slats shall rest somewhat below the top edges of the rails. Cushions, such as the one shown, can be purchased ready made or they can be easily made by the amateur.
A good finish for this chair and its mates is obtained as follows: Apply one coat of brown Flemish water stain. This stain in the original package is very dark in tone and unless an almost black finish is wanted, it should be lightened by the addition of one-half or two-thirds water. Apply with a brush or sponge and allow to dry over night. When dry, sandpaper lightly with fine or worn sandpaper to remove the raised grain caused by the water of the stain. Put on a very thin coat of shellac. This is to prevent the "high lights" in close-grained woods from being discolored by the stain in the filler which is to follow. The shellac being very thin does not fill the pores of the wood perceptibly. Next, sand the shellac coat lightly when it has hardened. Apply a coat of paste filler colored considerably darker than the stain to the tone desired for the open grain. If the filler is well stirred and properly applied, one coat ought to be sufficient. If it does not fill the pores satisfactorily, apply another coat when the first has had time to harden. Vandyke brown is used to color the filler, if none but natural color is to be had. On the hardened filler apply a thin coat of shellac. On this apply several coats of wax.
The directions for waxing will be found upon the cans in which the wax comes.