Three-Week Chair, Prototype #2

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 prototyping.  I posted a review of prototype #1 HERE.

This was what prototype #2 looked like when I left the shop Thursday night.  (It was sitting on a scrap of plywood just so that it would sit flat.)


I had a lot of mixed feelings about this prototype – some things that showed potential and other things I did not care for at all.  This is what I learned from prototype #2:

  • I was able to “curve” the spine of the chair with a series of mitre cuts to provide a more upright sitting position.  The resulting faced spine could have been shaped into a flowing curve;
  • a 1-3/4″-wide spine was too narrow to lean against comfortably;
  • the “ribs” that cross the spine made the back rest comfortable, but the highest of the three was positioned just above my shoulders so it didn’t serve any practical purpose;
  • my head rested against the spine only, above the top “rib” which was comfortable;
  • 17″ was a good width for the seat and 19″ was a good height for the seat;
  • at 16-1/2″, the seat was a good depth and I would not have wanted it to be any deeper; and
  • the stability of this base was also decent and it took effort to tip the chair sideways.  However, because of the large amount of contact area between the chair and the ground, it tended to rock.

Studying the design of the chair, I realized some things:

  • the seat definitely needed to be shaped to remove the rectangular shape and bulkiness;
  • I liked the idea of a curved spine and ribs and it would lend itself well to sculpting;
  • the lower half of the chair has a lot of visual mass, but the top half has very little so the chair looks imbalanced; and
  • I’m not sure whether I liked or disliked more things about this chair, but either way, it helped me begin to figure out where prototype #3 will be going (and where it won’t be going).

This slideshow includes all the pictures I took during the build.  You can follow my live updates via Twitterfacebook, or Tumblr.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have not started the third prototype, but have some ideas of where I want to take it.  I welcome any feedback you may have.  My next day to work on the Three-Week Chair will likely be Monday.

5 thoughts on “Three-Week Chair, Prototype #2

  1. I also really like the thought of a faired curve on this spine/ribs. The seat needs lots of shaping, and I don’t like this base nearly as much as the first one. I’m looking forward to what you do with #3.

  2. Hi Chris,
    I keep coming back to this chair and looking at it. Two other points: I think the rectangular seat conflicts with the curve of the back. The sides needs to flair outward and maybe a small oval at the front.
    Point 2: Again, my opinion, the base upsets the grace of the back too much. Going back to my first comment – take the small front cross brace you have on #2 and angle it towards the front and put another larger triangular brace at the back. That should give enough stability to the chair and you can get rid of the large flat thingie at the bottom.

    1. Hi Ralph,

      You are definitely right about the seat and base not working. I like your idea for the base although I’m going a different direction with prototype three. I made substantial progress on Tuesday and hopefully I will be able to get it a point where it represents the completed model.


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