turned chair

Eliot chair repro
Eliot chair repro


I finally got this turned chair done. the finish took some tinkering – the customer wanted it to look like the original’s present appearance…so I approximated that look with modern dyes – brown, red & black.  Then lineed oil over that. It’s made of ash, with an oak seat. The original was made for John Eliot, probably in Boston. I think it dates from the first half of the seventeenth century.

Here’s a detail showing the spindles between the arm and the seat list. There’s 24 spindles, five different lengths.

detail, Eliot chair repro
detail, Eliot chair repro

7 thoughts on “turned chair

  1. Nice chair Peter. Forman mentions an Eliot chair that was stolen from a church in Roxbury. Are there two turned Eliot chairs or did the stolen one show up? Harthorne has a short story about Eliot and his joined great chair called Grandfathers Great Chair.

  2. Steve
    it’s the same chair; it’s in a private institutional collection in greater Boston. Trent & Alexander had an article, “American Board-Seated Turned Chairs” in American Furniture 2007 that illustrates it…I saw it then with Trent and again with the client. It’s in excellent shape, retains its original seat, unlike the Bradford and Brewster chairs at Pilgrim Hall.
    thanks for the nod to the Hawthorne (?) story, I’ll look it up.

  3. Great color on the chair Peter. Dyes can be very tricky on chairs. It almost looks like you colored before assembly. Do you prefer water or alcohol?

  4. Hi Peter
    Really like your work especially your preferance for hand tools
    I restore antique chairs in England but also make 1in4 scale miniatures of chairs and would like to know where I can get scale plans or Pictures with diamensions of early American chairs. ie. Brewster your Eliot and Bradford etc.Thanks if you can help. p.s. have you tried waxing wooden pegs before driving them in and what do you do about the black tool stains that develope on wet oak
    Regards Rodney

  5. Hi peter
    Thanks for the notes on drawings. I myself like this style of chair plan and find it reasonably easy work with once I have studied it fully and gained a full understanding of each section
    I recently repaired the Knuckle joints and leaves on an Oak drop-leaf table c1720 and can let you have some pictures of the work if required

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