On June 30th, with other projects in the shop wrapping up, I realized that I had three weeks until Port Moody Celebration of Wood Woodfair. I knew that I wanted to have some new work for the show and got the idea to design a chair. That night I started taking some measurements, and the next day in the shop, I built the first prototype.
My goal with the prototype was to prove that the concept of a chair with a single upright had some merit and was worth refining.
I was pleasantly surprised at the success of this first prototype. Honestly, I was pretty sceptical at the beginning, but that doubt faded when I was able to sit in it. This is what I learned from prototype #1:
- the angle of the back rest beam was appropriate for a lounge chair, but not for a dining chair;
- the width of the back rest beam was comfortable to lean against;
- the head rest was a nice addition;
- 11″ was too narrow for a seat (which I knew beforehand but didn’t have anything wider);
- 21″ was a little too high for a seat (I meant to locate the top of the seat at 19″, but instead set the bottom of the seat there);
- 13-1/2″ was okay for a seat depth (front to back), but it could have been greater;
- the flat seat was surprisingly comfortable – not phenomenal, but not bad;
- the stability was decent and it took effort to tip the chair sideways; and
- the joinery I used was rock solid, even without glue.
Studying the design of the chair, I realized some things:
- proportionately, it looked too narrow;
- the head rest seemed to be too big and blocky;
- it looked like a Frank Lloyd Wright design;
- I didn’t have very much more material that is 3-3/4″ thick (used for the beam), so I would need to source some more, laminate material, or modify the design if I intended to make more; and
- there weren’t many curves, and I was okay with that. But I wanted to experiment with adding curves too.
Prototype #2 is already underway, but I welcome any feedback you may have.