We are thrilled to welcome Welsh chairmaker Chris Williams back to Lost Art Press this summer to teach two week-long chairmaking classes in our storefront. Chris worked with John Brown making chairs for almost a decade, and Chris has continued making chairs in this Welsh tradition ever since.
A class with Chris is about as close as you can get to working with the late, great John Brown.
The two classes run June 5-9 and June 12-16 here in our Covington storefront. Each class is limited to six students. Chris will lead the instruction, with Christopher Schwarz and Megan Fitzpatrick assisting the entire week.
Registration for the classes will open at 9 a.m. March 15 (Eastern) through our registration portal. If the classes fill, we recommend getting on the waiting list as cancellations do occur.
Students will each build a comb-back stick chair using traditional hand-tool methods and American woods under the guidance of Chris Williams. In the spirit of these chairs, students will personalize their chairs with different stick arrangements, undercarriages, arm shapes and combs.
In the end, no two chairs will come out alike – just as it was with antique Welsh chairs and the ones made by John Brown and Chris.
It’s also worth noting that this chair class is unlike many others taught today. There are almost no jigs or specialty tools used. There are no tenon cutters or jigs to guide you as you drill the mortises for the sticks. Chris doesn’t use sightlines or resultants in his drilling. Instead, he relies on simpler, more direct methods.
Instead of jigs, Chris will show you how to make these chairs using mostly a jack plane, block plane and spokeshave, plus a few auger bits. We will use a band saw at times (freehand) to speed up some sawing operations due to the time constraints of the class.
Chris, the author of “Good Work,” has dedicated his life to making these chairs to an extremely high level. If you would like a taste of these methods and this kind of life, a week-long class with Chris will set you on this path.
Also, Chris is an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to antique stick chairs, plus he has a thousand stories about working with John Brown and as an independent chairmaker for most of his adult life. The class is about way more than making tenons and sticks, it’s about immersing yourself in a difficult, creative and beautiful lifestyle.
Note, because of the intense nature of these classes, we ask that all students have some prior experience at chairmaking. Students should be confident in maintaining and working with edge tools. This is a class for intermediate and advanced woodworkers.
The class fee is $1,800 per student, which includes the wood and all other raw materials needed to make the chair.
You can follow Chris on Instagram at @welshchairmaker.
— Christopher Schwarz