Why Handmade Chairs are Better: Tension & Imperfection


There are a lot of causes that factory-made chairs collapse,
however I feel the most important purpose is that they lack what handmade
chairs have in droves: pressure of their assemblies on account of
imperfections within the angles.

In the event you’ve ever needed to restore a manufacturing facility chair you might need
seen this: All of the components match completely – spindles of their
mortises and many others. – and all the things could be put again along with
little fuss.

A great chair ought to combat you at meeting time, and lots of
chairmakers (myself included) truly introduce sure
inaccuracies to encourage the components to tense up when the
chair is assembled. Listed here are a number of that I exploit:

  1. If the chair has stretchers within the undercarriage, I make
    them 1/eight” over-long so the stretchers will push the legs out
    when they’re pushed into the plank seat (that is for
    Windsor-style chairs).
  2. I exploit bone-dry spindles and stretchers and make them
    about three thou outsized for his or her mortise. A tenon that’s
    this quantity outsized requires me to drive the components in with
    a hammer however (normally) received’t break up the work.
  3. I don’t use a spotter once I drill the mortises for the
    spindles, stretchers and legs. Consequently, my angles may
    be a level or two off what I might get with a spotter.
  4. I drive wedges into each joint that I can. For chairs
    that may see heavy use, for instance, I’ll wedge the
    spindles in each the arm bow and from under within the seat.

All of those small particulars make a chair body that must be
knocked collectively. However the result’s that the chair will
in all probability keep collectively even when the glue fails as a result of all of the
components are pushing towards each other in all kinds of

There’s a draw back to this method. Generally you go too
far and break up the seat or the chair merely received’t go collectively.
For this reason I constructed all of the chairs for my home and household
earlier than constructing them for purchasers. We sit on the prototypes
and experiments (and I need to burn all of them).

In the event you’re curious about constructing chairs akin to this,
completely buy and watch “Build
a Welsh Stick Chair
” with Don Weber.

— Christopher Schwarz

Chris Schwarz Blog, Woodworking Blogs

Christopher Schwarz

About Christopher Schwarz

Chris is a contributing editor to In style Woodworking
Journal and the writer at Misplaced Artwork Press. He is a
hand-tool fanatic (although he makes use of energy instruments, too).

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