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. Previously, I posted a review of prototype #1 and #2.
While the first two prototypes each required less than a day to build, the third needed part of a second day to get to the stage where I finally understood it. This was where I left it.
For the sake of time, I did not fully sculpt the chair, but I shaped it enough to understand how it would look completed. Had I continued, you would have seen the following changes in this prototype:
- all the seat slats sculpted like the front one;
- all the backrest slats sculpted like the top one;
- the ends of the seat slats cut so that the seat narrowed towards the back;
- the seat stretcher trimmed where it protrudes through the spine;
- the base and frame components rounded more at the edges and carved to flow into the ribs; and
- the spine tapered in thickness towards the top.
This design had a lot going for it and it was a huge step in what I felt was the right direction. This is what I learned from prototype #3:
- I was able to successfully construct a seat using cross lap joints that was strong enough and didn’t sway side to side – even in a softwood like Douglas fir;
- the straight backrest with ribs was comfortable;
- the variation of bridle joint that I used allowed me to easily adjust the shape of the chair spine and also provided ample glue surface when I wanted to make its position permanent; and
- this four-legged base was stable and more elegant than the previous version.
These are some of the changes I’m considering for the next version, which will probably be the last one I make before the show:
- quality hardwood (likely ash), instead of Douglas fir;
- a different base design, possibly connected to the underside of the seat which means a smooth L-shape for the seat and backrest;
- more ribs for the backrest;
- a slight curve in the backrest – possibly a mild S curve;
- more curvature and taper for the ribs; and
- completely sculpt and finish the chair.