Coming Soon: Staked Chair DVD


I am not a visual learner. DVDs (and to some degree personal instruction) have always been frustrating for me because I like to speed things up, slow things down or stop dead in my tracks and think when I learn a new task.

That’s why I like books and seem to learn best from them.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that a fair percentage of the population prefers video. And so I have agreed to work with Popular Woodworking Magazine on a third DVD this year, this one on how to build the staked chair from “The Anarchist’s Design Book.”

The gist of the DVD is how to get started in building chairs without a lot of chairmaking tools. Many woodworkers are intimidated by the materials, tools and geometry needed to build their first chair. This DVD (and the book, by the way) seek to show you how to get started mostly with tools you already have. And to remove all math and numbers from the angles.

We begin shooting the DVD on Monday, and so I am preparing parts for two chairs that we’ll be building during the week. We’ll be bending wood without a steambox, making legs and spindles minus the traditional green woodworking tools, and we’ll be making seats without an adze, inshave or travisher.

I also hope we’ll have time to show how to use a soap finish – but no promises on that.

If all goes to plan, the DVD (and streaming video) will be released by Popular Woodworking Magazine in early summer. This most likely is the last DVD I’ll do for 2016. I have a sketchbook full of designs that is making me crazy – I’m staring at some drawings for a staked sitting bench that I simply have to build. Oh, and “Woodworking in Estonia” and “Roubo on Furniture” are also up on my screen.

Crap, it’s almost 11 a.m. and I have holes to bore.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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10 Responses to Coming Soon: Staked Chair DVD

  1. Anthony Wilson says:

    I think your instructional DVDs can bridge the gap between the different types of students.

    One on one video instruction with the ability to stop and review on demand, with ADB as the class textbook.

    Sometimes classic classroom teaching methods don’t work – certainly not for everyone.

  2. duckfarmer27 says:

    Chris –

    I, like you, prefer to learn from a book. But I am convinced we are a minority and it is somewhat generational (I’m quite a bit older than you – 66).

    Spent a lot of time training adults in the Army. A good friend, and the best trainer I ever have known, determined about 30 years ago that the majority of folks out there learn best by demonstration/practice. Reading did not cut it. He termed it the video game generation. And I think the vast technology changes that started in the 70s totally changed how most people like to learn.

    My 7 year old grandson seems to like me showing him and helping him – he’s getting the knack of sawing and drilling by hand. He is a phenomenal reader for his age but likes to see things done, more visual on manual tasks. My biggest challenge there is he is ambidextrous to some extent – and I want him to keep that skill. Better than how I had to learn to hammer left handed when I was working as a carpenter summers while in school.

    So keep doing the DVDs – I think that (and other visual media) will be the future.


  3. skiroy56 says:

    Chris I love the way you cut to the chase in your videos and the instruction is spot on. Looking forward to this video as I would love to build a chair.
    Not to be complaining though, I hope the music in this video is not the same as the book case video and goes back to your previous music that was fitting. Just my opinion.

  4. kendewitt608 says:

    I like duck farmer also prefer reading it and I have 10 years on him.Also take lot of classes.
    Estonia ? If you are in NYC, The Estonian Mission is on 34th st somewhere between 1st and 3rd.
    North side of 34th St.

  5. Matt Colby says:

    I have a couple of questions. Are the spindle tops on the chair tapered? if not is there a tenoning tool to make these tenons if there isn’t a lathe available? Also, are the bottoms of the spindles tapered?

    • The tenons on the spindles are not tapered – just straight cylinders. You can cut them without a lathe in many ways, including a spokeshave or a sharp knife. Lee Valley sells these things that do a fine job as well:,180,42288,52401

      The spindles themselves do taper. The are 3/4″ octagons at the bottom and 9/16″ octagons at the top. The tenons at the top of the spindles are 1/2″ in dia. x 1-3/8″. The tenons at the bottom are 5/8″ in dia. and 1-3/8″ in length.

  6. Do you draw bore your crest rail? If so, what size hole/peg do you bore?

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