Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Remarkable Sit

How do you go about designing and constructing a chair that you never want to get out of?

A few years ago, my wife and I visited a windsor chair maker in Maine and when someone gasped at the pricetag he directed everyone to a room where all of his competitors' chairs were set up. He had a Thomas Moser chair in the mix along with several other chairs of comparable price. We sat in all of them. They seemed like regular old chairs. Then we sat in his chair and one by one, we all agreed that it was by far the most comfortable chair. I remember how it slid you right back, kept your back supported and sort of hugged you in, compelling you to stay there all day. My body remembers the "sit."

Not everyone wants a reproduction of a several hundred year-old windsor chair. So, we used the same elements of comfort and updated the look with our own fingerprint. I think they turned out quite remarkably. You may have to sit in one before you have seen the light.

We spent quite a long time on the prototype. After it was roughed out, we fine-tuned some of the angles and resumed building the finished chairs.

We carved the saddle (or seat) out of a block of 1.5 inch stock. That is a lot of wood to remove and fine tune! The front and back legs all meet the saddle and the aprons at compound angles and in some cases compound curves. The spindles follow the curve of the spine. Even the radius of the backrest was held-up to several different peoples' backs to make sure it was right.

These four chairs go with the table in the post below. We are excited to build more of them.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see you found a Windsor Chair Maker you like in Maine! There are so many all over the state making first-class chairs. We have just added a Windsor Chair category to, and we hope others will find a chairmaker they like and trust as you did. Maine Furniture is a non profit organization promoting the exceptional quality woodworkers Maine has to offer.