Chairs for sale

I’ve been making a few chairs & sticking them up in the loft. Now that space is full and I want to keep making chairs. Time to sell this batch off and start another. The way I tend to do this is I post them here and if you decide you’d like one, leave a comment claiming the chair. Then we can sort payment either through paypal or by check in the mail. Shipping in US included. If you’re near southeastern Massachusetts you can pick them up.


UPDATE – well, the ladderback chairs sold right off the bat. You won’t see the comment claiming them because the buyer has asked that his name not be published there…

If you were hoping for one of those chairs and missed out I can always make you a chair. Just email me & I can put you on the list.

Ladderback chair, red oak with hickory rungs, hickory bark seat – SOLD

H: 33 1/4″ W: (across the front posts) 17 1/4″ D: 17 1/2″ (seat depth is 12 1/2″) SH (seat height): 17 1/2″

This chair is one of the first in which I re-oriented the rear posts to show the radial face as the front of that post. A small change to the standard JA chair, for fanatics only. Means nothing otherwise. But I like the look of it. I also left these rungs generally octagonal, except where they enter the posts.

Below is the hickory bark seat on this chair – I had a mixed pile of bark, some from one tree, some from another. Over time the use will burnish the bark to a nice polished surface. Hickory bark makes the best seat I know.


Ladderback chair, red oak with white oak slats, hickory bark seatSOLD

H: 33 1/2″ W: (across front posts): 17″ D: 17 1/2″ (seat depth 12 1/2″) SH: 17 3/4″

Below you can see the more “normal” orientation of the rear posts – so a different pattern on the wood depending on how it’s oriented. I assemble the chair frames, then poke around to see what I have on hand to make slats from – that’s how this red oak chair got white oak slats.

and its hickory bark seat. This was thick bark that I split in half, and used the inner part of that split for the warp (front-to-back) and the outer part for the weft.


Child’s ladderback chair SOLD
H: 26 7/8″ W: 14 1/4″ D: 13″ SH: 14″ seat depth 9 3/4″

Something I used to make as a regular offering, but this is the first since my re-entry into chairmaking. (I made some in 2009 for my kids when they were small, but that’s it.) Ash with white oak slats, hickory bark seat.

Everything about it is the same as the full-size JA chair, but just scaled down. Harder to see in ash, but again these rear posts have the radial orientation. I’m leaning towards making that the way I do these now.


Next up is something new. I was thinking this year I’d concentrate my chairmaking on the ladderbacks and the shaved windsor chairs. Then I got detoured into making some of these brettstuhls or board-chair or Alpine chair. I’m not sure what to call these. They’re fun chairs to build, simple but challenging. The two chairs here are close to what I’m after. I’m going to keep tinkering with these chairs for a little while anyway, I have walnut left to do three more.

Brettstuhl #1 Butternut & ash
H: 34″ W: seat – 17 1/2″ feet – 21 3/4″ D: 20″ SH: 18 1/8″

The seat and the back are butternut, the battens underneath are white oak and the legs are riven ash. The legs tenon into the battens and the battens are captured by the back’s tenons – which are in turn wedged below. It’s a brilliant system. At the end of this post is a video showing how to assemble these.

Another view under there, showing how these parts connect.

Here’s the carved back

and the side view

Brettstuhl #2; Black walnut & ash
H: 33 1/2″ W: seat- 17″ feet- 20″ D: 18 1/2″ SH: 18 1/4″

After I used up the wide butternut I had on hand, I went out & got a 16″-18″ wide plank of black walnut. Air drying for years & years, it was perfect for what I wanted. This is the first chair from that plank. I’ve begun to change things a bit from Drew Langsner’s 1981 article that I started with – here I’ve trimmed the front corners off the seat, I’ve seen photos of historic examples with this pattern. Also a thumbnail molded edge instead of just a simple chamfer like the butternut chair above.

The carving:

In this view you can see the shape of this seat

On the backs, I’ve just echoed the scrolled shape with a V-tool on both of these chairs.

here’s the underneath of this one. Same as before, white oak battens and ash legs. The battens are 1 3/8″ thick, quartersawn.

The brettstuhls I’m planning to ship partially un-assembled – here is a video showing how to put one together (first how to take it apart…) – it’s really quite simple. You need to be able to tell right from left and count to 2. A mallet for most of the persuasion, some light taps from a hammer for the last bits.

Another piece about the brettstuhls – it seems as if their feet stick way out beyond the chair itself. I thought so at first until I stood one up beside a Windsor chair I made. There’s several factors at play here; the spacing of the seat mortises for the legs, the rake & splay of the legs and to some extent the length of the legs. Here’s the butternut chair beside the Windsor and they aren’t all that different in the footprint.

11 thoughts on “Chairs for sale

  1. How thick do you leave the tops of your back posts? The drawings that came with the MACFAT video show 3/4″, so that’s what I did on my first two. It seems too thin though and yours are definitely thicker from the pictures.

    • I measured the two adult chairs here – one’s at 7/8″ and the other at 13/16″ – both of which Alexander would call “wooden” and it would not be a compliment.

      • Hah, thanks!

        My first one’s finally done. It has some problems, especially the left rear post which I drilled wrong twice. I learned a lot and made notes though and the second one is in process and already looking better. I’ve referred to your photos, the book, and the video often. It really is a great design.

    • Drew Langsner’s book Chairmakers Workshop is another excellent reference with step by step in it. MACFAT is soon to be available from Lost Art Press in an updated version.

  2. Beautiful work, Peter! I can only imagine the number of hours spent on each chair. I believe only a few can truly understand the love of labor us woodworkers hold in our hearts. Have you ever figured out your $/hour rate (or would that be too depressing)? I’d be curious to know.

    • I think of it in terms of days – and I figure about $500-600 per day. But something like the brettstuhls here don’t count, because I’m new at making them. They take me more than 2 days. But after I make 10 of them or so, then I’ll have a better idea of how long they take. And I would expect their price to go up. Unless no one buys them, then I’ll be over-run with them. either way is fine w/me.

  3. I am confused as to the orientaion of the rear posts on the Alexander chair. If you re-orient them so that the ray flecks are facing inward, won’t that lessen the strength of the posts, which rely partially on the lesser divisibility of the growth rings?

    • The orientation of the rear (or front) posts is more about where the mortises go in relation to the two planes that split easily – the radial plane or the tangential plane. JA always made the front of the rear post the tangential plane. That plane is oriented in the chair so that neither the rear nor side rungs pierce the growth ring or radial plane – what in the book is referred to as the “post & rung compromise.” JA didn’t make this part up, many traditional chairs use the same method. It reduces the chance of splitting a post when you assemble the chair. So whether the “face” of that post is the radial plane or the tangential plane doesn’t matter, what matters is that you then pitch that post outward a bit to aim the mortises so they fall between those two planes. None of it is about strength, it’s about weakness more than anything. If you drive the mortises (& therefore the rungs/tenons) directly in line with those splitting planes, you run the great risk of splitting the post.

  4. The radial plane seems to rive more easily than the tangential, so I have thought that the pressure of a body leaning back on the rear posts would more easily split them, especially when they are shaved to 3/4″.

    • If leaning on the rear posts breaks them, then the wood chosen was not right for the chair. The growth-ring orientation doesn’t matter one way or another in the matter of strength.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s