A couple weeks ago I got to look over Don Williams’ version of the Gragg chair, an incredible early-American example of a steam-bent elastic chair.
Made from oak that Don harvested himself, the chair is incredibly lightweight, flexible and comfortable. It’s like sitting in an exo-skeleton that is hinged in all the right places. And if I didn’t already know a good deal about Samuel Gragg’s chairs, I’d have guessed that the chair was a contemporary design.
OK, so if you aren’t up to speed on Gragg’s work, check out Williams’ article on building the chair in the current American Period Furniture journal, the annual publication of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers. Read this blog entry I wrote about the chairs as Williams was building them. And check out several kinds of Gragg chairs here.
Williams is considering making these chairs for market and is perfecting the tricky jigs and techniques required to make them. And he’s tweaking a couple joints to prevent the chairs from failing (he’s seen enough of those while at the Smithsonian).
— Christopher Schwarz