Less English; More Welsh

welsh_undercarriage_img_6388

This week I’m assembling two Welsh stick chairs that are based on examples from several sources, including John Brown and Don Weber. I’ve made this sort of chair about a dozen times, and every time I build it I stray a little further from the originals.

About five years ago I started using a different arrangements of back sticks and a different crest rail. Now I’m changing the seat and undercarriage. First I made a new seat template. It’s still a D-shaped seat, but I started fresh with trammels and a compass to make it slightly larger.

I increased the rake of the rear legs to make the chair more lively. And I also changed the front legs to make them look appropriate with the new rear legs (wire models like those shown in “The Anarchist’s Design Book” guided these changes).

But the biggest change is to the stretcher turnings. I’ve been using 1-3/8”-diameter turnings with a bulbous center, much like what I first learned from Don Weber about 13 years ago.

After looking at a lot of English Windsors and Welsh stick chairs, I decided to simplify my turnings and thin them down to 1-1/8” in diameter. After getting both undercarriages together this afternoon, I was pleased with the result.

Tomorrow I start steam-bending the arm bows and am considering one more design change for this generation of chairs.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. Peter Galbert’s book “Chairmaker’s Notebook” is invaluable for making all sorts of stick chairs, including Windsors and Welsh stick.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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5 Responses to Less English; More Welsh

  1. nateharold says:

    From appearances, you keep your new digs relentlessly tidy. How do you deal with the shavings/dust? Do you wheel in a big sucker upper to dispense with the mess?

    • While I am genetically tidy, I have to be even more vigilant in our storefront.

      If I don’t clean up my mess at the source and immediately, it spreads to the rest of the building, covering my electronics and our stock of books. So by keeping the mess down, I make less work for myself overall. I use a broom, dustpan and small shop vacuum – nothing special.

  2. Martin Jones says:

    Thanks for posting! I want to build chairs soon.

  3. Don Weber is the man! He could punch a clown in the face and make him puke confetti.

  4. wynnquaker says:

    I don’t know why I follow Lost Art Press. I do.
    Thought you might be interested to know I own a Welsh stick chair, very similar to the one on the left of your photograph. I first knew it as my grandmother’s, then my father’s, now mine.
    Happy to send you a photo of it if that is something you would like.

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