Bmac

Designing a Chair then Building it

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As some of you may have seen in my previous posts I really enjoy chairmaking. Now that my busy summer is over, I'm up for the challenge of designing a chair, as all the chairs I've made up to this point have been made with a purchased plan and with supplied or directions for templates. I want to do this from scratch, the design, the templates, the joinery, and the details. There are many #s and angles to consider, some more important than others, but these details depend on the complexity of the design and some become more instinct as you do more chairs. 

So to start I need to determine what type of chair. I've been attracted to solid wood chairs, no upholstery, caning, etc. This type of chair also fits into my skill set, shop equipment and lumber stock. I want the design to be fairly straight forward but have the option to get more intricate if the prototype works out. Finally, I don't plan to build a plywood prototype, I'll build it with quality lumber understanding I may need to adapt on the fly. 

For inspiration I did some searches for some designs that were attractive to me and were good starting points for the design. Here are some photos that got the creative juices flowing for this design.

This was a very unique design, I actually really like the uniqueness of this chair, in particular I like the shape of the backrest. Not sure it the spindly backrest supports would hold up though.

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This next design is fabulous, totally love this design. I'm not sure of the designer/builder but I think I will try to do one of these in the future, but not this time. In my design I'll look at trying to copy some of the curves in these legs and front leg to seat joint placement. I love the flowing simplicity of this chair.

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Here are 2 other great designs, both by Robert Erickson. Love his curves and bent lamination work. He tends to be less rounded/sculpted, more curves with square edges if that makes sense. What I love about these 2 designs are the arms, there are simple and clean.

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Now these following chairs are what I'm going to base my design off of. These are 2 chairs by Brian Boggs, elegant and beautiful. 

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Grand-Lily-Side-Chair-by-Brian-Boggs-back-view.thumb.jpg.07e4b798625dddd6b1be9fcc04bb220f.jpg

I like the general shape and form,  it's a shape and form that I can envision different designs from.  I would like a front leg to seat joint out at the edge of the seat, not into the underside of the seat. Also want a more flowing shape to the legs and less angular backrest. I'm in the process of developing the plans the old fashioned way with pencil and graph paper. I should finished with the first draft to the point of posting these plans in the next day or two. As always feed back is welcomed and encouraged as I go through the design process. 

Thanks for looking.

Grand-Lily-Side-Chair-by-Brian-Boggs.jpg

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Can’t wait to see this come together! I was impressed by your previous chairs. 

I’d love to make a chair one day, but I already have a long list of projects and I’m pretty intimidated by the idea of making chairs. 

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It may be just the low-res image, but I think that first chair, with the 'spindly' back support, may actually have metal for those supports. I seem to see joint lines at the seat and backrest, and a lack of grain in the spindles. Makes me think of bronze.

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52 minutes ago, Spanky said:

This one gets my vote.

I like it too but sure as shootin' some guy is going to try to rock back on the rear legs, I mean leg.

Despite that, I like the pair in pic #4,

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5 minutes ago, Ronn W said:

I like it too but sure as shootin' some guy is going to try to rock back on the rear legs, I mean leg.

If they do, it will be a ride to the floor.

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15 hours ago, Spanky said:

This one gets my vote.

1494774224_uniquechair.jpg.b7fc83d8fa179e21f4a5969e2771911d.jpg

I agree, that visually is my favorite of the bunch, I will keep that filed away and make something like that in the future. What I really loved about this is the sweep and curves in the legs, also the legs look slender and refined, it's this look I want to try and get in the chair I'm designing. 

14 hours ago, Ronn W said:

I like it too but sure as shootin' some guy is going to try to rock back on the rear legs, I mean leg.

Despite that, I like the pair in pic #4,

Agree can't lean back in that one. Almost looks more like a show chair. one that everyone says how neat it looks but no one sits in it. Those two chairs in the 4th photo will take a lot of bent lamination, but they do look sharp. 

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No walnut in this chair, but maybe in a future chair. Plan to use maple (Norway Maple) for the seat and backrest, will use cherry for the legs. I've got some nice wide maple planks at 10/4-9/4 that will work well.

If I like how the chair turns out I may make a set for our family dining area, if I don't like how it turns out I'll design another.

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On 9/5/2018 at 8:36 AM, Spanky said:

This one gets my vote.

That chair is by David Haig, from New Zealand. He built these ...

Image result for david haig desk

 

Regards from Perth

Derek

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1 hour ago, derekcohen said:

That chair is by David Haig, from New Zealand. He built these ...

Image result for david haig desk

 

Regards from Perth

Derek

Thank you Derek for that piece of information. That design is stunning.

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If you want a challenge, then build this chair designed by Hans Wegner ...

TheChair-Introduction_html_m5f8f37ad.png

This is known as "The Chair" or  "The Round Chair", and was made famous when Kennedy and Nixon debated the presidency on TV in 1960. It was actually designed in 1949.

TheChair-Introduction_html_m552f19e.png

I built one with hand tools a few years ago. 

WeavingSeatCompletingTheChair_html_m4441928f.jpg

WeavingSeatCompletingTheChair_html_2ebf780e.jpg

I was lucky to find an original on eBay. The challenge was to copy it exactly. I did OK ...

WeavingSeatCompletingTheChair_html_m1a3cedf0.jpg

Regards from Perth

Derek

 

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1 hour ago, derekcohen said:

If you want a challenge, then build this chair designed by Hans Wegner ...

 

I'll have to add that to my list of chairs I want to make, so many chairs and so little time....

Scott Morrison makes a chair that is very similar;

1666927551_Uniquechair6.jpg.2ab8865cf4e535c00c50960a6bae4c58.jpg

I spent a few minutes viewing David Haig's work, absolutely wonderful, and this one chair is about as unigue as it gets;

1504200999_Uniquechair1.thumb.jpg.a9623cca637cf69d656b7cef6cee0f1e.jpg

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David's forte is bending wood. You will see many curves he creates in his work. Super nice guy. I corresponded with him some time back as I was interested in building his desk (the one I posted earlier along with his chair). I think it is stunning. I do not generally copy the work of others, so I shall have to design something along those lines.

Regards from Perth

Derek

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You make this look effortless. I'm going to have to come back here when i have more time and am going to attempt something sculpted.

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8 hours ago, pkinneb said:

Looks great! Man you work quick LOL

 

Thanks, I am getting quicker, but we had a rainy weekend in the Mid-Atlantic region so I got some solid time in the shop. I find when I'm working on a project I'm excited about the time seems to not matter (as I'm sure most of us can relate to). The Maloof joint, esp using the paired router bits, is a pretty straight forward joint with a little practice. 

 

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I need to build dining room chairs, but the table first. And some other tables and a desk before that. And some mud room cabinets. And a second list.... I envy your skills, it looks great!

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