Chairs are next

I’m back home now; earlier this week I was one of the presenters at Winterthur Museum’s “Furniture Up Close” – it was a great time there; I love re-connecting with the museum world; it’s where I learned so much about furniture. Got a preview of spring while I was down in Delaware, back here it’s still the future. Spring is an amazing time at Winterthur – the full name is Winterthur Museum & Gardens for a reason.

But after a month of near-constant travel or preparation for travel, I’m glad to be here for a while. A long string of large projects; the queen-sized bed, the dresser and settle; is now behind me. Now I’m going to make small stuff; carved boxes and ladderback chairs. I shot almost nothing at Winterthur and did shoot nothing at Cutchogue when Pret & I installed the dresser and settle…

Next up is the chair-making class with Plymouth CRAFT. My latest JA chair, with a bark seat mostly done by Rose – I’ll add the last filler strips this week.


I started in yesterday on either making or gathering a few of the bits & pieces we’ll need for 6 of us to be working on this stuff. I use a gauge like this for sizing the rough-shaved posts and rungs. 1 3/8″ on one notch, 3/4″ on the other.

These V-blocks we use when boring the posts; the thick ones came from JA’s shop, I made a set yesterday, but had no thick stuff. Should work fine anyway. The other little frames on the right are for temporary mock-up of the rear posts, for alignment purposes. And some various bits; 20th & 21st century-style.

I shaved these rungs here & there – these will be issued AFTER the students split & shave replacements for them.


Same is true of these posts. In practice, each class prepares the material for the next class. Thus I started it off, now it’s on them.

I was taking these shots this morning; and thought of Rick McKee and his chicken-scratching obsession recently.

I see those pinwheels/daisy wheels and just think it’s someone too scared to finish carving it. This is the door to the axe-cupboard.

And this a box with gouges – someday I’ll finish it.


I’m going to make another few chairs – the Shaker tape one here is available, the bark seated ones sold; but can be ordered. Here’s a slightly out-dated page about the chair project –

3 thoughts on “Chairs are next

  1. Peter,
    It was great to see you at Winterthur last week for the conference. Wonderful group of presenters with a variety of subjects. The interaction between all of you sharing your expertise was refreshing and informative. The tribute to J. Alexander was well done and gave me additional insight into the legacy that s/he left to all of us woodworkers.
    Thanks also for keeping it light and injecting humor into your presentation. We all need that these days to maintain our sanity! While you were praising the virtues of straight stock red and white oak, you stated your disdain of black walnut. I quietly remarked to the person next to me that I love working with quartered black walnut as it planes beautifully and smells wonderful as the shavings pile up. When I returned to my shop after the conference, the latest issue of PW was in the mail pile. I opened it up to check out your article on resawing by hand. I laughed when reading about your find of an ideal piece of quartersawn black walnut that was perfect for a carved box, but needed resawing.
    Thanks for keeping it real. Hope to meet up again someday and trade more stories.
    Walter Bercaw

  2. That seems only fitting, fair and tradition to use the makings from the previous class while preparing for the next classes stock. The continuous flow from one class to the next, and a really good idea. Thanks for the great photos also, I’ve never been to Delaware or some of the other Atlantic states in spring.

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