Don’t let an unfamiliarity with chairmaking keep you building a chair. This Irish-y armchair, with a curved back rest and lightly saddled seat, is a gateway chair into building a full-on Kentucky stick chair (or Welsh stick chair, or Scottish stick chair, or Insertplacenamehere stick chair). And the plan for this chair is free. Click here to download the chapter. No, you don’t have to register, or send us a gland. Click the link and the pdf will be downloaded to your machine.
This chair is among the simpler designs I make. The legs are straight – not tapered. There are no stretchers. There are only nine sticks, and they are made easily with handplanes (a jack and a block plane).
This chair is remarkably comfortable (no, the middle stick does not rub your spine). The curved backrest (cut from solid – not steambent), cradles your shoulders. And though its backward lean looks extreme (wait, am I at the dentist?) that’s an illusion. The chair is very comfortable for reading, watching TV or good conversation.
The only slightly tricky part of the chair is the saddle. You can skip it if you want (few Irish chairs were saddled). But it’s the simplest saddle possible. There’s no pommel. It’s just a flat dish – easy.
— Christopher Schwarz
12 thoughts on “Free: Curved-back Armchair from ‘The Stick Chair Book’”
Thank you for being so generous with your work. I can’t think of any other company I purchase from that gives so much away. Some might argue that “its just a PDF and not a tool or something.” That obviously doesn’t recognize the tremendous value in the time and intellectual property that goes into creating the content. If it were converted to real life experience it would be worth thousands. Anyway, I already own the book and am anxious to get back into making furniture later this year if all goes well with setting up shop after our move.
So… what COULD I get for a gland?
Oh my, you have removed the last obstacle to building a stick chair. Thank you, I reckon.
Thank you kindly.Your most complete Stick Chair I already own, but I also appreciate your generosity in giving away the free PDF to all of us. Having a plan in this format is nice for visualizing details on a larger scale. Much appreciated.
Chris, This is more a note to you than a post……
I have been following your pages for a while now and along with folk like Peter Follansbee, Paul Sellars in the UK and others across the globe your regular and most considerate sharing of your wealth of knowledge and experience are most appreciated and in many cases inspirational……… your latest gift of a chapter from the chair book (I hope very much) is likely to inspire me to go beyond the basic shrink jointed woven seated green Ash chairs I have limited myself to….
Though I am sure the book is truly gorgeous throughout and without doubt great value I would never have bought a copy as I regard the standard expected of the woodworker as being way out of my reach and so the rationale of not buying tools you don’t need is a major barrier… of course it is lovely to leaf through a book filled with marvelous ideas and top tips but again it is like sharpening that gouge that will never get used…. but now……. maybe?
Let’s see how the chair in your plans works out for me, even if I only read and reread the pages……..!
Keep it up matey, I salute you, Fitz and all the other kind hearted souls who share their wisdom help drive us less able or confident on to do more, to aspire and sometimes, just sometimes, achieve……….. Thank you
Oh man, have been wanting to get this book but am scared/intimidated. Guess i just need to get a scorp, travisher, and tenon cutters. I “think” i have everything else.
I very much appreciate everything you do to share your knowledge with others and making the craft more accessable. I purchased the stick chair book and have been working through it. I am currently building this chair and am struggling with drilling the 1″ dia holes in the arms. I have a laser and my daughter who has a very keen eye helps as a spotter. But since the arm spindles are so thick they are not as forgiving as thinner sticks when it comes to assembly. Also the lower compound angles of the mortise’s are making drillng accurate holes with a paddle bit problamatic. Do you have any suggestions that would help? I am on my 3rd set of arms, and while the practice is getting me cloaer each time do you have any suggestions?
It sounds like you are moving the drill’s position after you begin drilling. That’s the only explanation I can think of. It would be easy to diagnose if we were in the same shop together. Almost impossible to diagnose remotely.
As to “Also the lower compound angles of the mortise’s are making drillng accurate holes with a paddle bit problamatic.”
I’m afraid I don’t follow you. Could you tell me what the problem is you are seeing or experiencing?
Also, and this is covered in the book, if you want to build in some “forgiveness” and allow your sticks to move a bit more at assembly, you can use a reamer to ream out the underside of the mortise through the armbow.
Thank you for the response! To clarify my lower compound angle question. This chairs arm mortise’s have more rake and splay then the others I have build to date. It seems the the further the holes get from 90 degrees the harder they are to drill accurately with a spade bit because the cutting spurs on the low side start cutting long before the spurs on the high side makes contact with the wood…. Making it harder to hold the drill in position (especially in hardwood). This seems to be exhasterbated with the larger diameter drill bits. Today I ground one of my spade bits like the “new style” bits where the cutting spurs are ground off to apx 45 degree angles and it did seem to help me drill more accurately without causing any tearout.
So generous, thank you very much, I will do my best to do it justice.
I love the chair book, it’s really inspired me to dive into a whole new aspect of woodworking. I have a crap of cherry and am about to make this very chair. Chris, do you think this would be a good casual dining chair?
Well the Irish would say yes. They call this a “kitchen chair” and I have seen it used at tables. We use one when guests come over. It’s a bit low for a dining chair.
Thanks Chris, it’s much appreciated.
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