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Build a Staked Armchair with Christopher Schwarz

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Lost Art Press Storefront

837 Willard St.

Covington, KY 41011

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Build a comfortable stick armchair in the Welsh tradition using tools and materials that are familiar to the typical woodworker.

If chairmaking 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, shavehorses and steamboxes. It doesn’t have to be that way.

With a bit of cleverness and (mostly) standard woodworking tools, you can build an extremely comfortable stick armchair using woods from your local lumberyard (or even your scrap bin) and tools already in your shop.

During the last two decades, I have dedicated myself 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 you probably already own (plus a few new ones), wood that you have in your scrap bin and skills you have already honed.

If you can reliably sharpen your hand tools, saw to a line and hold a cordless drill then you 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 my favorite chairmakers. I designed my version starting with an 18th-century chair shown in a book by Richard Bebb. And I stripped it back to what you see here – a comfortable chair with clean lines.

During this class, I will do my best to teach you to:

● Fully understand compound angles without the benefit of trigonometry (or numbers).
● Drill holes at any angle and nail it every time.
● Shape compound and complex curves with a band saw and rasp.
● Use tapered mortise-and-tenon joints – and wedges – to create joints that get tighter through time.
● Quickly carve a comfortable seat.
● Apply milk paint and clear finishes on chairs.

Cost
The cost of the class is $1,200, which does not include materials for the chair (details on that below). Registrants will be invoiced for a $200 non-refundable deposit. The balance of the tuition will be due on Jan. 1.

Materials for the Chair
You may bring your own materials for this class if you like or you can purchase the parts from me for $200 in red oak.

Luckily, the wood for this chair is easy to get, no matter where you live. As far as species goes, you can use almost anything. If you are going to paint the chair, you can mix species to save money. For example: a poplar or pine seat – plus oak sticks, ash arms and a maple crest are all possibilities. This chair also allows you to use a decorative species if you wish (cherry or walnut, for example) with a clear finish. Though you will have to go to extra trouble to source the sticks in particular.

Registrants for the class will receive a complete packet on tools and advice on sourcing materials.

For more about me and my work, visit christophermschwarz.com

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Lost Art Press Storefront

837 Willard St.

Covington, KY 41011

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