“Readers of my column will know that I never make two chairs alike. Numbers of sticks, their spacings and length, the size of the seat and its shape, angles of stretchers, type of arm either steamed ash or solid wood, colours etc… the combinations are endless. I have gone to great length never to let anyone make a measured drawing, I just pluck the shapes out of the sky as it were. This is a reaction to a lifetime spent making things to others’ designs. I do however keep detailed measurements and photographs.
“This leads me on to gripe about some of the woodworkers I come across. I hope you will forgive my opinion. When I talk to readers or get letters it often seems to be about the petty cash of woodwork (technical points about dovetails or getting joints to fit), but rarely about shape, proportion or colour. I don’t think joints are that important. I would prefer to see woodworkers look at the total picture, is the piece they have just made beautiful, will it hold together, will it do the job it was made for?
“Woodworkers don’t buy my chairs, but they spend ages looking at the details of construction and then frown disapprovingly. They want engineering perfection. People who buy my chairs do so for two main reasons. Firstly and by far the most important point, they buy because they like the look of them. Secondly they buy them because they like sitting in them. They rarely inspect the joints. They think they look good, they think they will do the job they are made to do and even though the parts don’t fit particularly well, they are strong enough!”
— John Brown, Good Woodworking, June 1994, Issue 20