That was quite a week-plus. Plymouth CRAFT hosted its first-ever 6-day workshop; 6 students came to Massachusetts to learn how to make a chair from a tree, as JA’s book proclaimed all those years ago. For me, it was an overwhelming experience – to see all these new chairs, following Alexander’s steps, and in many cases using tools and equipment from her workshop…I can’t tell you how many sentences I started with “I remember Alexander saying/doing…”
Here’s some photos, a couple I clipped from Marie Pelletier’s FB thread (the group shot above for example) – she shoots all our Plymouth CRAFT events. Most of these were mine, but I often forgot to shoot stuff.
Day one, after the first riving session, students begin shaving front posts.
A lineup of chairs; from left – antique New Jersey chair, PF 2019 chair, JA one of the last batch, PF 2018, JA stool, pre-1978, JA one-slat, c. 1975, PF kid’s chair, c. 2008.
Some layout of rungs, to be split. Ash, dead-straight. We lost very few pieces.
Andy splitting some of the rungs with a froe.
Arizona Sam shaving a rear post.
Kurt helping Andy bend some hot posts.
They worked green wood for the first couple of days, then following the format employed for decades by Drew Langsner, after they shaved & bent stuff for the next class, I issued air-dried stock I prepped ahead of time. That’s what they made their chairs from…here’s Andy & David chopping slat mortises.
Then it’s time to bore them. Here, Kurt & Warren are boring a front post. We teamed up, at least for the first sections, good to have an extra set of eyes on the progress.
It’s a JA-innovation to assemble the side sections first. Probably overkill, but it’s how I do it still. Here, Kurt has done a mock-up once his side sections are assembled. I get it, I want to know what it’s going to look like too.
Then bore for the front & rear rungs.
I showed them how I size tenons by jamming them in a test-hole in dry hardwood. Spokeshave work.
Then assembly. Make sure the shorter rear rungs are in the rear. That way the longer front rungs go in front.
After a short steaming, the slats are popped into the mortises. Here, I’m making a slight adjustment.
Some student’s first chair – (that’s a joke – it’s Brian Chin’s – he became “some student” through an innocent remark I made…)
He & Arizona Sam scored some hickory bark and had time to weave the seats on the last afternoon.
Thanks to the usual Plymouth CRAFT crowd, especially Pret & Paula, the great students who put up with me, and to JA & Drew Langsner, who all those years ago showed me what to do.