Chairmaking is where design and function meet comfort. In an ideal world each chair would be crafted for the individual - matching the length and curvature of your spine, the separation of your hips, the length of your thighs and the length of your shins.
Chairmaking also drives the furniture maker to combine beauty and strength. An elegant chair looks comfy and inviting but is also built to resist the stresses of day to day use. That satisfied tilt back of a chair at the end of a great meal imposes a huge load on the joinery in the chair.
Sam Maloof described chair making as the pinnacle of furniture making. So where to start?
In this five day class chair maker Tom Dolese discusses the sources of his inspiration and practical requirements that influence his chair design choices as you build a chair of Tom's design.
Tom approaches chair making from the point of view of a production chair maker where he balances esthetics with the need to make a living.
You go through the whole process of building a chair. Starting from a kit of blanks you'll mill out all the components and do the joinery. You'll do the detailed shaping of the components. Then glue and assemble the chair. Finally you'll make make and upholster the seat.
Tom uses Ash for the kits he prepares for this class. If you are interested in using another wood, like Sapele, please contact Tom directly to arrange for a different wood.
- Learn how to design a chair
- Understand and practice making strong joinery for all the elements of a chair
- Use templates for legs, stretchers and rails
- Learn how to make a lumbar template, templates for the crest and seat rails
- Compare using a shaper (or router table) with hand tools for shaping chair components
- Make all the components of the chair
- Mark out the joinery
- Glue up the chair
- Prepare a seat bottom and cushion for upholstery, talk about how the upholstery is done
- Understand practical finishes for a chair
- Safety gear - dust mask, ear defenders and safety goggles
- 5mm mechanical pencil
- 6 inch ruler
- 6 inch double or adjustable square
More about this class
Tom uses a variety of setups on table saws and routers to create the joinery. Plus he uses jointers and planers during the class. We expect students to have had some basic training on using these machines and be comfortable using them. If you are unsure if your experience is adequate please feel free to contact us.
Class Information and Registration
Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.
Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.
Please also read our Registration Policy.
When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.
If you'd like to ask questions - please feel free to contact us - (360) 344-4455 or by email.