“This is such a familiar form of construction that a vocabulary of terms has hardly been found to describe it, but some early inventories seem to refer to it as ‘staked,’ or ‘with stake feet.’ Added to this is the fact that it has been largely ignored by serious furniture historians, though its place in the development of furniture design is so important that it is hard to account for this neglect.”
— Victor Chinnery, “Oak Furniture: The British Tradition,” Antique Collectors Club, (1979) p. 75
17 thoughts on “With Stake Feet”
Why the low seating height of the chair? I’ve seen this elsewhere and struggled to understand why.
In France people tell me that that height in various forms is called a maternity chair – easier to breast feed with the baby supported by the knees. Don’t know if that is true, but a number of dealers friends and family have said that when I asked. It is always just one chair too – never a set.
In paintings and drawings, lower chairs are shown being used for work of some kind. Taller chairs for dining.
Also, we moderns have lower chairs – most chairs for lounging are lower. Morris chairs and the like are much lower than a dining chair.
Also, if you are cooking at a fire in the fireplace, at floor level, you want a low chair to be able to work comfortably; and in poorer households, the fireplace was the main source of light after dark, so all evening work would crowd around the light source on the floor.
I’m having a difficult time discerning what the “staked feet” are. What’s being referred to?
Staked feet are where a leg is tenoned into a thick platform and wedged. The tenon can be cylindrical or conical. It is the precursor to what some call a “Windsor chair joint” and is the first third of “Furniture of Necessity.”
Thanks – so I’m guessing the wedge comes in from underneath (same as the leg), and gravity/weight takes care of the rest. Looking forward to the book.
Nope. The wedge comes in from the top, deforming the top of the mortise a bit and locking everything together for 500 years or more.
What are staked feet?
Why is the chop sideways? Is that a mistake?
If the parallel guide was removed [or not used at all], a leg vise could be swiveled as shown. On the other hand, I’ve used the conventional leg vise on my bench to hold a door will routing hinge mortises.
I recall an explosive incident back in college that we organized under the code name “Steak Feet”. It’s all bit fuzzy now, but the event involved a propane truck, three heifers, and a Mr. Turtle wading pool. The campus historian prefers to overlook that episode in history as well.
2nd plate below the fire, saw bench used for drying socks.
Was still curious so did some googling. Didn’t return much, but I did find the image at the link below. The Lathe here is said to have “staked feet,” though in this case rectangular rather than round or oval. The image is small – had to zoom in quite a bit.
From a paper by Peter Follansbee:
Sign up for a sack back chair class with Mike Dunbar (their are other windsor chairmakers who teach classes, but I have no experience with them, but I would bet Mike’s classes are more entertaining). Then it will all become clear, and you will have a nice comfortable chair to go with the knowledge gained.
There not their. Need an edit function
The second plate contains a little person at a stool with stake feet. The gentleman in the frontis sitting in a chair. I do not think it is called a stake chair. I coined the ter “post and rung chairs” to to include chairs that are just that. Over time they have been given an incredible number of names. As pointed out here period images show a lot of very low chairs. In the fireplace stirring a hot pot, best be down low. You slid it out of the fire. I call stake chairs and stools “slab and post” construction. It speaks to construction . Remember the medieval images of market places where tables have curved legs? The curved are rived out of tree’s butt swell. It increases the tables footprint and saves the rest of the tree for joinery. I guess they knocked them down after the fair. Speculation is fun.
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