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.