Welsh Stick Chair Class Day 2: Think Round

chris_rounding_tenon_IMG_6247

With many woodworking classes, the goal is for every student to end up with identical chairs, tool chests or side tables.

But that approach is opposite to the spirit of a Welsh stick chair.

Welsh stick chairs weren’t manufactured (and I hope they never are). Instead, they were usually built as a side business for the undertaker, farmer or wheelwright. Or they were made by the person who wanted a chair to sit on.

As a result, no two chairs are ever alike. Add to that the fact that many of these chairs are made using branches from the local forest, and it’s impossible for two chairs to be alike.

During Chris Williams’s class this week, every demonstration begins and ends with the admonition: Do it this way, but if you don’t end up doing it this way that’s OK because it’s your chair.

chris_fitting_tenon_IMG_6257

Additionally, Chris repeats some of the Zen-like phrases John Brown used as he worked. When making the front edge of the saddled seat, one should “think flat” over and over to avoid scooping it out too much. To make the tenons, “think round, think round, think round” as you make the tenon with a block plane.

There aren’t a lot of jigs to save you with this chair. And the toolkit is the smallest I’ve ever seen in a chair class.

So the chair isn’t in the jigs. It’s not in the tools. It’s in your head. Your job is to push those thoughts through your fingers and into the wood.

So step one: Think of a chair.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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8 Responses to Welsh Stick Chair Class Day 2: Think Round

  1. kaisaerpren says:

    thank you
    wish I was there
    K

  2. John Hippe says:

    Awesome. Think of a chair…

  3. Rachael Boyd says:

    sounds like my kind of class.

  4. Richg says:

    yes thanks Chris for taking the time to share this class with us. As you have said no two chairs will be alike and that is what makes them each unique. I can only hope when time permits me someone will still be around to be able to instruct me on how to build one. I honestly use to think woodworking was becoming a lost art. Now after a few years of reading and taking the time to look on the web, youtube, IG, and other sites and blogs. It is reassuring to know the Craft is alive and doing great. Thank you for all LAP does to help promote the craft..

  5. nrhiller says:

    This class looks like heaven.

  6. Tobin says:

    The 13-year old boy in me loves your filenames (references to the verb form of a particular plane omitted to bypass the auto comment censoring):
    ‘chris_…_IMG_6214’
    ‘chris_…_off_IMG_6216’

    If that’s where you go when you ‘think of a chair,’ who am I to judge?

  7. ikustwood says:

    Such splendid opportunity you had … the beauty of translating thoughts to Materials.
    Wish one day to have that chance to learn that profound skill. Thank you for sharing

    Cheers

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