My Next Chair

I was going to call this one “twas in another lifetime…” just in case MR is still out there reading along. Thirty years ago I made this comb back Windsor chair. I got the details from Curtis Buchanan, I’m pretty sure it’s Dave Sawyer’s design.

1992 comb back armchair PF

I loved it then, I like it still. But a few things bother me about it. One – it survived (barely) some rowdiness that was a.) not mine and b.) part of a different phase of my life, best left in the past. I fixed it, but the fix was a bit hasty. The other points are the usual nonsense that we all engage in – pointing out the flaws of our work. Legs are too bulky and I wanted them kicked out more. But it’s still very comfortable – so one of those chairs that mocks me. I always wished I would made a new one. Well, the time has come, the time is now. I got the undercarriage assembled a couple of days ago. Ash legs, stretchers in maple & ash. White pine seat.

half way there

I bent and carved a couple of crests – doesn’t hurt to have an extra around.

white oak & ash crests

I tried to take my time with the turnings. This was air-dried ash. Slow going but I like turning ash – it’s a lovely wood.

ash legs

Here’s Curtis’ arm post in a continuous arm chair I inherited from Jennie Alexander – I aimed for this drama in my arm posts, but my pole lathe wasn’t having it. The stuff gets too whippy in the pole lathe when I try to take it so thin. But what I knew nothing about 30 years ago was old Windsors – and what I have found is the shapes/thicknesses and patterns are quite varied. So I relaxed and left my arm posts thicker than Curtis’.

Curtis’ arm post
PF maple arm posts

I’m planning on making the top half of the chair this week. White oak arm, hickory spindles. Fingers crossed.

now just stick em together

10 thoughts on “My Next Chair

  1. Hello Peter, I have a general question concerning the long sticks. In the last picture it looks like a couple of the sticks have a bit of a curvature to them. I’ve only made a couple of stick chairs and while working on the sticks of my third, I ended up with a few “not so striaght” (but the grain follows the curve). I thought I could work the curve of the stick into the chair such that it still looks straight from the front but was wondering if you’ve had any strength issues with curved sticks or is there a problem forcing them to fit? Or am I thinking too much about it? :-) Thanks in advance!

    • Steve – I’m not the person to ask, really. While I have made some Windsor chairs, most of them were 30 years ago. Curved sticks should be strong enough – it just comes down to how much variation you can tolerate. Some straighten them – with a heat gun & care – check Curtis Buchanan’s youtube videos or Pete Galbert’s series on vimeo on demand.

  2. I continue to be thankful for the modern Renaissance we seem to be in at this point in time. Our ability to share – and, more importantly, in my opinion – view virtually, in many cases being able to communicate with the artisan themselves, just furthers the momentum.

    Thank you for sharing your experience, knowledge, inspiration and insights with those of us in the hinterlands who would otherwise be left in the dark. We would have to make the same mistakes as every other budding artist without a guiding hand to direct us, rather than being able to skip the big hickups and only have to gain some skill with the tools. More or less…

    Anyway – I’m rambling. Once again, superb work, Peter!

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