Dining Chairs Circa 1980

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Dining Chairs Circa 1980

Postby John » Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:03 pm

The theme of the chair from a design perspective was to play off of the strong tapering lines in both the side and rear views--hence the scooped seat that tapers from rear to front.

The theme evolved in my early doodles based upon one of the requirements for this commission--make it difficult to lean back onto the rear two legs (this is what kills chairs).

This was accomplished by the lumbar strap back. When errant teenage boys attempt to lean back in this design they will get poked in the back by the two subtle horns--otherwise the chair sits fine if they acts like most adults.

I always like the grace of some of the Chinese chair designs and had fun incorporating an Omega curve into a more contemporary version.

If I were to do this over, I would try an ebonized version--I think all black would be beautiful.

--John

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Postby PFranks » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:29 pm

Lovely chairs, John! Can you tell us a bit more about how you shaped the arms? The contrast of the curvy omega with the rectilinear rhomboid of the legs is really appealing. But I think it's the back piece that ties it all together, somehow.
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Postby John » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:40 pm

Arms were laminated strips (kept in sequence), steam bent and glued against a form. After the adhesive dried, one edge was trued flat while in the bending form with a router. The opposing face was cut parallel on a table saw (rolled the now flat face of the arm against the fence to complete the entire length).

Rear leg holes were drilled after legs were attached to seats (they are lightly sprung inward from the arm)--I then plugged the holes temporarily with dowel scrap.

Two pieces of wood were joined to the top and bottom of the bent section for the back and this was shaped primarily by hand, rasps and spoke shave primarily.

Shaped the round cross-section with the router and feathered in the back by hand. This had to be perfect because all you do in this chair is run your hand over the round arm rests and any irregularities would drive me nuts.

Removed the plugs (kept the router bearing from falling in the holes) and cut the dovetail joints for the front legs. Assembled and cleaned up all the jointed areas by hand with files/scrapers/sandpaper.

That's about all I can remember--this was almost 30 years ago--sorry.

--John
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