Now Available: ‘Welsh Stick Chairs’


Welsh Stick Chairs” by John Brown is a small but mighty book. At just 104 pages long, this book can be read in an afternoon, but it has changed the lives of thousands of woodworkers all over the globe.

John Brown (1933-2008) was a chairmaker in Wales who specialized in Welsh stick chairs, a vernacular form of furniture that was typically made by the end users. Compared to Windsor chairs, Welsh stick chairs are masculine, lively and even sometimes a bit aggressive.

They are built with simple hand tools and (when made properly) are designed to last for hundreds of years.

John Brown made hundreds of these chairs, and in 1990 he published a small book that explained how he made the chairs at that time, plus some history of stick chairmaking in Wales and a critique of the Windsor chairs they were sometimes confused with.

The book electrified woodworkers everywhere. Even those who weren’t chairmakers were fascinated by John Brown’s approach to the craft. His disdain for measured drawings. And his honest and forthright writing style.

Welsh Stick Chairs” has been out of print for some time. But thanks to the efforts of Matty Sears, one of John Brown’s sons, and the rest of the heirs, we are pleased to present a beautiful and well-made edition of this important work.

The book is now available for pre-publication ordering in our store. It is $29, which includes free domestic shipping. The book will ship to customers in late June 2018, which is the 10th anniversary of John Brown’s death.

Using first-edition examples of “Welsh Stick Chairs,” we reset the entire book in the original font to ensure the text was crisp. We rescanned and processed the photos and drawings and cleaned them up. And we spent weeks researching the paper stock of the original in order to capture the same earthiness and perfection of the first edition.

We also made a small but invisible improvement – we sewed the signatures together to ensure the book will last for lifetimes.

The book is a softcover, covered in heavy card stock like the original. The book measures 7-1/4″ x 9-5/8″.

Our version includes John Brown’s original introduction to the book, plus the additional introduction he wrote for the third edition and an updated essay on John Brown by Nick Gibbs.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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15 Responses to Now Available: ‘Welsh Stick Chairs’

  1. don2laughs says:

    Just ordered mine!! I really appreciate ALL the folks at L A P for consistently providing something for me to look forward to…other than a ‘clean’ bench!


  2. therealdanh says:

    This is one book that I don’t want to miss. These are really cool chairs. Just ordered a copy and I am looking forward to reading it next month. Thank you for pursuing this project over the past few years.


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    Elliott Driscoll 609 647 6779

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  4. Scott Dellinger says:

    Softcover. Wow that is disappointing. One of the biggest selling points of all your books in the past is the knowledge that they are printed and bound to outlive me.


    • Scott,

      This book has always been in softcover since its first edition. That was the intent of John Brown and the wish of his heirs. We are not doing this to reduce durability or cheapen the book. (The paper covering this book is very expensive and durable stuff.) We are doing it to honor the wishes of the family and pay homage to the original edition.



      • mike says:

        Call me crazy, but I would prefer books that are spiral bound…. easier to lay flat on a bench. I am more of a user than collector. I don’t plan on burdening my kids with my stuff.


        • Hi Mike,

          You are unlikely to ever see us offer a spiral binding. It would double the cost of manufacturing and create a less-durable book in the long term.

          Several customers have asked bout this through the years. Here’s what we suggest:

          1. When possible, we offer our books as DRM-free pdfs. For the workshop, you can put those on a tablet. Or print out the sections you need for the shop and put them in a binder.

          2. Make your own spiral-bound book. It’s easy and fast. Saw off the spine. I use a table saw, band saw or handsaw (If you use a handsaw, clamp the book between wooden blocks to act as a guide). Take the pages to Staples or Office Depot and they will add the spiral bind.

          Hope this helps.



  5. Dan says:

    I’m curious what it feels like to sit in a welsh stick chair. Does it feel about the same as a windsor chair, all else being equal? Something about the way the back is configured, and the way the arm rail runs through the middle of the back, makes it difficult for me to imagine what it would feel like. Sadly, I’m probably 1500 miles from the nearest example, and I have no plans to go to Wales, so I doubt I’ll ever know, but I’d love to hear the impressions of those who have tried.


  6. John Hippe says:

    This is fantastic. I have been waiting with great anticipation for this book!


  7. Alex Webster says:

    Can I order a copy and would you be able to ship it to the UK ?


  8. Mike Reid says:

    I’m gutted the book won’t be sold to UK residents, can I enquire why? Surely living in North Wales, I could be given a dispensation? It’s about Welsh chairs after all…
    Yours sheepishly
    Mike Reid.
    Ps. I bloody love the blog posts


    • Hi Mike,

      I wish we could distribute to the UK. Unfortunately, if we did we would be violating a contract. And our word. I hope that Stobart Davies Ltd. will release a nice edition this year for the UK and Europe.


  9. kaisaerpren says:

    I read John Brown’s book what 20 , 30 years ago. I was still trying to learn myself how to make chairs. I was gobsmacked by the fact that he doesn’t really measure anything. I had come from a semi industrial woodworking where EVERYTHING is measured (sometime with a vernier calliper). And I had taken a class on Windsor Chair Making where we also measured everything. So making up anything without measuring was mind blowing! It took me way too long to take that message fully on board. I highly recommend this book to anyone! be well.


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