When I fell in love with stick chairs in the 1990s, I was unable to find a teacher or a book that would help me make them using simple tools and readily available materials.
So I read a lot of books about other kinds of chairs. I took a few classes. And I began piecing things together with research, trial-and-error and talking to a few other people who shared my love of this vernacular form. And after 18 years of building these chairs, I decided to write the book I wish I’d owned in 1998.
“The Stick Chair Book” is intended to be a complete guide to get you going. It explains the different kinds of chairs and how they work, it helps you put together a tool kit of mostly run-of-the mill woodworking tools and it shows you how to use whatever wood you have on hand. That could be stuff from your backyard, the woods, the home center or your lumberyard.
For the last eight years I’ve been splitting and sawing out chair parts from kiln-dried wood. And I’ve been building chairs without a shavehorse, drawknife, splitting brake or hatchet. I’ve nothing against these tools – they’re great. But I grew up making cabinets and tables – and I’m much handier with planes and saws than a drawknife and axe.
The heart of the 631-page book shows how to perform every operation in chairmaking – from saddling the seat to making wedges to cutting tenons – using a variety of simple methods. Make tenons with a block plane, a hollow auger or a lathe.
For me, the most exciting part of the book breaks some very old ground. No two stick chairs are alike, but they share some of the same shapes and parts. After years of collecting photos of antiques and examining originals in Britain, I provide drawings of many of the shapes and options that you can combine into a chair.
The chapter on seats shows you how to lay out 14 different seat shapes. The chapter on legs has 16 common forms that can be made with only a couple handplanes. Add those to the 11 different arm shapes, six arm-joinery options, 14 shapes for hands, seven stretcher shapes and 11 combs, and you could make stick chairs your entire life without ever making the same one twice.
I think anyone can design their own stick chair, but for those who are unsure, I provide complete plans for five original designs that you can make (and sell, if you like). There are two Irish-inspired armchairs, a lowback and two comb-backs – one that is Welsh-based, the other inspired by Scottish Darvel chairs. All are comfortable and fairly simple to build. I include cutting lists and completely dimensioned drawings to make it easy.
There’s also lots of help with finishing, from painting the chairs, to cooking up a soap finish or your own linseed oil/wax finish. And a couple chapters on chair comfort and design to help you design your own comfortable stick chairs.
Plus, as with my other books, there is a good dose of philosophy, history and the occasional weasel joke woven amongst the practical stuff.
About the Early Adopter Digital Package
The printing industry is currently struggling with unheard-of shortages of paper and other raw materials. Though “The Stick Chair Book” was completed and sent to press in June, the paper shortage has us wondering if it will be printed in November or later.
So in the meantime, we’ve decided to offer a special digital package for $25. This download-only product is available to customers worldwide. Here’s what is in it.
- A high-resolution pdf of the complete “The Stick Chair Book” – all 631 pages of it. The book contains everything you need to start building these chairs. Plus complete plans for five original designs: two Irish-inspired armchairs, a lowback chair, a Welsh-inspired comb-back and a Scottish-inspired comb-back.
- A pdf containing the full-size parts for the five chairs in the book. These 22” x 34” sheets contain every seat, arm, shoe, backrest and comb needed to build the five chairs. The drawings contain all the mortise locations and sightlines needed. This pdf can be printed out at any office supply store or reprographics service. Then you can adhere them to posterboard or thin plywood and have full-size permanent patterns. (Later on this year we will sell these patterns for $20 for printed patterns or $10 for digital ones.)
- A pdf of all the construction sheets for the five chairs in the book. These sheets were generated by mechanical designer Joshua Cook and contain a higher level of detail. Each chair has four 22” x 34” sheets that show all the components in a variety of views. If you have an engineering mindset, these plans will be especially useful.
When the physical book is released, this digital-only early adopter package will end forever. At that time, we will sell “The Stick Chair Book” like we normally sell a new title.
So if you want to get started on your own journey into stick chairs, you can start today. You can read more (including the book’s table of contents) in our store.
— Christopher Schwarz
53 thoughts on “‘The Stick Chair Book’ Early Adopter Digital Package”
I feel like I’ve been waiting like 8 years for today. Thank you. Hope the printer issue chaos clears soon!
Is the Irish-y chair Gibson-y?
One is Gibson-y (the Walnut one). And the seat plan for the gibson is in there.
Bought it; downloaded it; haven’t read it (yet), but will soon remedy that!
Should perhaps add that I’m still just as eagerly awaiting the print edition – ’cause that’s how I truly prefer my books!
What will the price be on the printed book when available? Sorry if it has been published on the blog previously. Weighing my enjoyment with a book rather than a computer screen
The retail depends on the paper we get. The target is $49. Might go up $2 depending on what happens.
I prefer the paper version as well. But it’s silly to sit on this for six months.
Woohoo!! Wasn’t sure I could make it until the print version came out. My brain needs this!! Thanks, Chris. You’re a total pro, and we appreciate your ongoing gifts to our community.
Done! I greatly look forward to reading it all in leisure, even though I may never build a stick chair myself. This is a VERY fine value, and an excellent temporary and expeditious solution to all the PPB problems you are facing in getting the hard copy published. I suppose it is something of a sacrilege and hard-swallow for any traditional book publisher, but I hope you can at least realize ALL the net profit margin you would have received from a single hard-copy book without yet absorbing all the expenses of getting that book produced and into the hands of a customer. If so, I am very happy for you, and at this stage of my life, I am grateful to you for not having to accumulate more physical possessions in order to read and enjoy another of your excellent books. Live long and prosper!
I love the addition of the poop stool. What a pleasant surprise.
You can thank Josh Cook for that. He slid that into the construction drawings….
Oh, wow! This is great news! Thank you for releasing this now.
I could not resist, even though I will buy the book. Thank you for offering the digital package!
Also, didn’t you offer some chair templates that were cut out of thin material a while (maybe years) back? It might have been a one time offer.
We sold the patterns for the comb back in the anarchist’s design book. Very expensive to make and ship.
Thanks. Great quality and I’m glad I sprung for them.
Awesome ! Thanks for this … Perhaps the same approach for the Dutch Tool Chest Book ?
Until the paper shortage abates, probably yes
In the digital version of the DTC, will there be a life-size cutout of Megan? Asking for a friend.
When you list the hardback for sale, will you make the PDF available for free as you have done with many of your other books? If not, will we be able to get the hardback and PDF versions at the same time. Please clarify. Thanks.
When the hardback arrives, we will offer it for $49 with a free pdf download of the book for 30 days – just like with all our titles with pdfs.
I just received a link for a version 2 of the EADP – in what way(s) does it differ? Corrections of minor lacunae? Or something more substantial?
Minor changes in the patterns. Just labels.
Enjoying the book! On p. 199, “STRAIGHT TENONS WITH PLANES”, you say there are a couple ways to make straight tenons with just a handplane, and you briefly describe one way that involves skewing the plane. I’m having a really hard time imagining this. Even with the plane skewed (to run a bit across the leg, I guess?), I don’t understand how this tenon can wind up with much of a shoulder. Do you have a pointer to somewhere the technique is described in more depth?
Awesome. Thanks for this ebook but I’m going to get the actual book too. Worth every cent.
Saw it one minute, bought it the next. Will buy the hardcopy when it’s there.
I guess no sleep tonight, no work will be done tomorrow..
I got it. Given the fact I have 0 interest in ever making a stick chair the marketing is working! But I got the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting the Schwarz and the rest of LAP.
I have my first seat blank on my desk for a few weeks now and i decided to wait for your book to help me solve a (many) couple of question i’m struggling with. Your digital book offer i not less than the holly Graal for me, thank you so much.
What a great resource. I have lot of your books in physical form and they are great, well put together and sturdy, but I actually prefer the PDF’s. For one they satisfy my need for instant gratifcation when I downlaod it. I can print selected pages for reference and I don’t care if they get covered in glue/wax/blood in the workshop and not having a local distributor physical books have to be shipped a long way so the PDF download cuts down on those emissions and costs.
Thanks for the explanation on the download update.
Another question: if one spots a typo or other (possible) error when reading the pdf version, is it still meaningful (from the point of view of getting the correction into the printed version) to let LAP know? If “yes”, would an e-mail to Megan Fitzpatrick be the proper way to go about it? And for how much longer?
We always want corrections, and please do send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is too late for them to be included in the first printing because the plates have been made (and remaking them is insanely expensive). But we will include them in the second printing.
Thanks as always!
‘Tis duly noted, and ’twill be acted upon this instant!
On a further note, I’m now a hundred pages or so in, and am, quite frankly, beginning to wonder if, in my opinion, this might not be your best book yet?! Which would be saying something, given how stiff that competition is!
Cheers and have a great weekend (I’m rather looking forward to mine, as my bench is now together, and some friends will come over on Sunday to help me turn it the right way up),
And good luck with the bench. Turning the turtle over is a big moment!
What an ideal way to end a week. Thanks for doing this, Chris. I’ve had a greater sense of anticipation for this book than any of your others because of your blog entries about it, and getting to read it a half year earlier than I thought is a treat.
Is there a specific reason why the LAP books do not make it to a more specific e-book format like the kindle or epub format. Is it because too few people would use it or for another reason?
I own a kindle and even if a pdf is ok, I like having a real e-book format a bit better, and it would be awesome to have my LAP books available there too!
We used epub and mobi formats during the first couple years we offered ebooks. We were never happy with the way they formatted the photos and drawings. It was a hot mess. And it was expensive to get them converted so they looked good.
And most of our customers tell us they use laptops and pads for their ebooks.
Try this file and tell me if it looks poopy to you:
Thanks a lot for the response! It does indeed have a lot of layout problems when on the kindle! I guess those formats are better suited to books that have not a lot of images. Thanks a lot, and I can’t wait to read the new book anyway! I’m still working on my workbench for now but once I’m done, chairs might just be something I try to make!
Using whatever viewer is default in Firefox on Kubuntu (Linux flavor) it is a lovely selection of pictures widely spaced leaving the impression of absent text… A couple like seat dwgs appear in this post.
Not poopy but appears incomplete.
You can convert a pdf to whatever other format you like using Calibre (which is free), or to kindle format only through amazon (you have to email the pdf to your kindle email if I remember correctly).
Thanks Chris. I will purchase the book. 25 years ago I wrote my Ph.D. (that and a nickel …). I can point to my bookshelf where the hard copy is. I would be hard pressed to be able to find the electronic version. Out of curiosity, any chance you could share a picture of what the five chairs in the book thta you have designs for look like? I still need to make chairs for,the kitchen and am still not sure which style to make. I’m hoping this book will help me to make a final decision.
All five chairs are shown on the page in our store
WOO HOOOOOO!!!! Downloaded the book and I can’t wait for the print version.
Greetings! Ordered the PDF, but it doesn’t want to print in the clear. Looks like code and no pics. I sent an email to LAP to ask for help in getting my download, but no response as of yet.
Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Are you using an Adobe product to print/view? Or are you using a different application? Usually problems such as this are caused by using Mac’s Preview application or some other third-party pdf viewer.
Thanks for offering this digital package. I purchased it immediately. Off topic but do you have a release date for the digital DTC book?
Megan is still writing it. Let’s hope by the end of the year.
I really liked the digital format. Thanks for offering!!!
So far I have only gotten to page 149 and just like your workbench books this is a joy to read. A true learning experience just in the reading. I will be making chairs in the very near future. thanks
Hey Chris, I love the digital package, and will also buy the physical book.
One quick question: do the leg mortise locations on the full size drawings refer to the locations on the underside or the seat side? I’m laying out the seat for the low back, and don’t want to botch it.
Oops. Underside of the seat… as in, should I mark the leg mortise centers on the top or bottom of the seat?
Leg mortise locations are on the underside of the seat.
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