The chair making course – really motoring now!

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 in Blog | No Comments
A Danish Ash chair like this is made on the chair making course

The chair, in Ash with a Danish cord seat, that we are making on the course.

Interested in joining my next chair making course?

The chair making course has been running for about four weeks now and things are starting to come together very nicely.

The chair making course, in which we make the elegant VM chair, based on a design by Vidar Malmsten, is a new approach to woodwork courses intended for more advanced woodworkers who can work with some autonomy. Instead of attending for a single period, one week for instance, the course is spread over a longer span, students attending for one or two day sessions interspersed with “homework” in their own workshop. This means they can work at their own speed and with a greater sense of independence. The chair we make is quite a challenge, with complex curves and compound angled joints so they have time to work through some of the problems with input from me.

This is the first offering of this course so I am glad I only have two students this time, it’s better to iron out any wrinkles in front of just two instead of a full course of four. Mike and Paul started with a two day session back at the end of August. They had already received the 26 page handout, I think they may have found it a bit daunting! But as the course has progressed they have realised that they can rise to the challenge and that there was no reason to worry

We started by creating a workshop drawing, drawing up a cutting list and making templates and jigs in preparation for the making in earnest. One of the aims of the course is that the student amasses all the necessary workshop aids, information and experience so they can make further chairs when the course has ended (both Paul and Mike intend to extend the single chair into a set). The first two day session has been followed by three further one day sessions. In these we cut the joints shaped the back legs and the crest and lumbar rails. The last one, this Saturday, has shown Mike and Paul really getting into their stride, in the previous two weeks they have done a lot of homework, despite Mike also having an  implanted cardioverter defibrillator fitted! They actually got more done than I expected so we should complete the chair at the next one day session . On Saturday we looked on the finer points of shaping the crest and lumbar rails with spoke shave and scraper, worked on laminating shaping and fitting the back splat, fitting and shaping the narms and how to apply a soap finish. In the next two weeks they will assemble the chair and apply the soap finish so it is ready for weaving the seat in the final workshop session.

Fitting chair splat.

Paul routing the mortice in the crest rail for the back splats.

Fitting one of the back splats.

Using a spoke shave

Mike shaping the crest rail with a spoke shave.

The demonstration chair I am making for the course has no arms, and only one splat at the moment. Paul and Mike’s chairs have arms.

I am pleased with the way things are going, Paul and Mike are really “motoring” now and getting a buzz from seeing the way the chairs are coming together. I also think they are picking up lots of new tips and techniques, both from me and from each other, they will be able to apply these to their woodworking practice more widely than just chair making.

We are looking forward to the last day which will be the culmination of an unusual and exciting course. I’ll keep you posted

Interested in joining my next chair making course?

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Thankyou, Chris.


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