To develop a good eye for chairmaking (or spoon carving or alligator wrestling), you need to study as many chairs as possible. Do it until your eyes glaze over.
Here’s a set of nice “Spinnstuhls” compiled by Rudy Everts in Bavaria. These so-called sewing chairs are from southern Germany and the Alps. These chairs are interesting to me in several ways. Some have a traditional undercarriage for chairs from this region – radical rake and splay, legs that taper to the floor, battens to thicken the seat – but some do not.
Check out the bent legs on a couple examples. A good guess is these came from a bent section of the tree, perhaps a branch or from the root section of a trunk.
Also, the variety of uppercarriages is fascinating. Some are joined, some look sawn from solid and some look bent.
Look through the gallery. Zoom in. Class dismissed.
— Christopher Schwarz
20 thoughts on “Spinning Chairs to Study”
Looks almost like they’re (splay) designed for extreme side-to-side leaners.
The extreme rake and splay might be
Useful to resist pushing the chair backwards while kicking the sewing Maschine…
Continental cousins of the Welsh Stick Chair? Some of these examples have elements which would look completely at home at St Fagans.
It’s interesting, the leg taper going toward the floor, rather than toward the seat. I’d be interested to see one of your chairs with that configuration. But then I suppose it would be a Bavarian chair, not Welsh.
A friend of mine is working on a Welsh stick chair with the leg tapers going the other way. It makes it look a bit more modern, but it’s definitely nice. I can send you a photo of it when it’s done if you’d like.
I would like that, yes. Thank you.
Sure thing. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I´ll email you the photos when the chair is done.
Looks a bit like an old Danish type of chair called “kringstol” – Like this one: https://www.lauritz.com/en/auction/kringstol-fra-aeroe-samt-trebenet-skammel-2/i4303944/
I think it’s cool that none of the arm rails on these chairs use a doubler. I thought the doubler gave the arm rail strength where it needed it. So much for what I think!
What I like about the chairs is they don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect chair
I am curious as to why at least two of the chairs are both wide and shallow, nearly triangular, with virtually no functional arms. It seems that they could seat two small persons.
It is also interesting that the majority have turned back and arm spindles (some half-round) but the legs are invariably quite plain.
Hmmm… Chris, if you make it back to STL in the near future, check out the Missouri History Museum. They have an exhibit there with an Irish chair that looks similar to this. I wondered why the back was so low on it. Maybe it’s a spinning chair…
The arms on a conventional chair would be in the way while spinning. These seem to be either splayed wide enough to be out of the way or very low.
Chris Schwarz…..slowly becoming a chairmaker.
Been obsessed since 1997 or so….
The word spinne denotes spinning (and spider), so perhaps some characteristics of the chairs might have to do with that activity?
Someone might call one or two of these “Banker’s chairs”. I would be very comfortable using an adaptation of this form for an office chair. It appears sewing has something in common with IT in that we like to sit the same while doing our work.
Also interesting that none of the seats are saddled. Wonder if that was more comfortable for spinning (so you could change position more easily?) Or if was just easier to skip the saddling…..
Those curved legs have had me up several nights the past few weeks. Can’t remember where I saw them or if it was a fever dream. Finally split some out the other day from the butt end of a log. Thanks for posting these.
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