thinking about chairs: past, present & future

I don’t need the calendar to tell me the season is changing – the light in the shop is distinctly different now, a bit lower, coming around a bit earlier. A nice time of year…

Our neighbors put out some stuff for sale by the side of the road from time to time. I wouldn’t let Maureen bring home a small table last week, so I couldn’t bring home these chairs this week. But I could photograph them…some fun stuff to see. One with four slats, but still a small chair.

A hideous knot in the rear post – ugh. But it’s lasted quite a few years.

This was my favorite of the pile. Worn down on the feet, probably was about 4″ higher I’d say.

I like the top slat of this one.

They were $20 apiece – nobody bought them. Not enough traffic these days, I guess.

I’ve had chairs on my mind lately. I told you I pay attention to Curtis Buchanan’s work. Recently I bought a set of his new drawings for the democratic arm chair.

I finished this example of the side chair earlier this year – and started another. Now I hope to finish that one and then make the arm chair.

I shaved parts for the arm chair in red oak, but mine are a bit heavy. I’ll wait a little to see how much they shrink, then will go over them just a little more to slender-them-up a bit. Or down, I guess.

Curtis’ shaved chairs really hit me right at the right time. I made Windsors many years ago, learning from Curtis and Drew Langsner. Quite some time ago, my friend Michael Burrey took me into his house to show me some things he’d bought at someone’s estate sale – including this continuous arm settee I made back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I took one look at it, and immediately thought “I couldn’t make that today.”

and that got me to thinking about how I’d like to recover some of those techniques/skills. Then along came Curtis’ democratic chair. It reminded me of some shaved chairs I made way back when, inspired by my friend Daniel O’Hagan. Here’s a settee my brother and his wife still have, I must have made it around the same time as the one above.

This one I still use, I’m sitting in it right now – it’s my version of Curtis’ sackback chair, just with shaved bits instead of turned bits. Tulip poplar seat, cherry legs/stretchers/arm stumps. White oak, ash & hickory above the seat.

In case you’ve not got to Curtis’ chairs & plans yet – here’s his links:

https://www.youtube.com/user/curtisbuchanan52/videos

https://www.curtisbuchananchairmaker.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html

Curtis’ plans are the inspiration for my Carving Drawings https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/carving-drawings-17th-century-work-from-devon-england-and-ipswich-massachusetts-set-1/

 

 

6 thoughts on “thinking about chairs: past, present & future

    • Hi Wilbur – first, just to make things clear – it’s my version of Curtis’ sackback. Reading it now, I realize I phrased that poorly. I coated it with linseed oil or maybe Watco oil. I just looked under the seat, it’s dated 1989. So 30+ years of handling & use have brought the mixed woods to nearly the same general tone…

  1. My wife is an artist. She loves imperfections in things. Whenever I am making many multiples of items for Christmas gifts, she loves seeing ones with knots. The chair with that nasty knot in the back would be her choice for use.

    Curtis’s democratic chair is high on my list of chairs to make. Our kitchen has mass made chairs and a table. I very much want to replace both the chairs and the table. The democratic chair is my likely choice. Most likely cherry with the spindles in the back in maple.

  2. On Tue, Sep 22, 2020 at 6:49 PM Peter Follansbee, joiner’s notes wrote:

    > > Did u email me something? If so, it is blank. > > > > > pfollansbee posted: ” > > > > I don’t need the calendar to tell me the season is changing – the light in > the shop is distinctly different now, a bit lower, coming around a bit > earlier. A nice time of year… > > > > Our neighbors put out some stuff for sale by the side of the road from” > > > >

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