Build a comfortable stick armchair in the Welsh tradition using tools and materials that are familiar to the typical woodworker. If chair making intimidates you, you aren’t alone. The tools, materials and processes seem to require a pledge of allegiance to an entirely different craft that uses green wood, shave horses and steam boxes. It doesn’t have to be that way.
With a bit of cleverness and (mostly) standard woodworking tools, anyone can build an extremely comfortable stick armchair using woods from the local lumberyard (or even your scrap bin) and tools already in your shop.
For the last two decades, Chris has dedicated himself to learning all modes of chairmaking, from building them with green wood and traditional tools to making chairs with routers, high-tech compression wood and complex jigs. The chair for this class uses a mix of tools that students will probably already own (plus a few new ones), wood that they have in the scrap bin and skills that have already been honed. Anyone who can reliably sharpen their hand tools, saw to a line and hold a cordless drill can build this chair. The form is inspired by historic examples of 18th- and 19th-century stick chairs from Wales that have been refined by John Brown and Christopher Williams – two of Chris’ favorite chair makers. He designed his version starting with an 18th-century chair shown in a book by Richard Bebb. And Chris stripped it back to what is pictured here – a comfortable chair with clean lines.