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, #2 and #3.
During the build, I referred to the chair as version 4, not prototype 4 because I hoped that I would be satisfied with the end result. As it neared completion, I realized that although it was clearly my favourite of the four designs, it still needed refining.
This design benefited greatly from the previous three prototypes on which I worked out the critical dimension and angle of the back rest. Here is what this design taught me:
- I got the dimensions and angle right so the chair was comfortable;
- the aesthetic of the design was okay, but I wasn’t quite happy with the overall form; and
- the whole chair tended to sway side-to-side. The sway seemed to come from the frame itself and not from the joint at the bottom stabilizing cross member. This may have been a problem with the design itself or with the fact that ash was one of the more flexible woods.
In three weeks I designed and built four prototype chairs and learned a lot along the way. However, I wasn’t able to finish the design process but I discovered what worked and what didn’t work, what I liked and what I didn’t like. It was a good challenge and I enjoyed the journey.
In a way, it was my own version of the Telephone Game Design Experiment (why not sign up to play?).
This slideshow includes all the pictures I took during the build. I welcome any feedback you may have. You can follow my live updates via Twitter, facebook, or Tumblr.
6 thoughts on “Three-Week Chair, Prototype #4”
I like the lighter look. The lines and curves are more “sensuous” in #4. I hope someone orders 12 for a conference table in some giant corporation. Nice job!
#4 looks great! though I’m sorry it flexes to much for comfort. I can see how if you constantly evolved the same pieces, you could really get the kinks out (like say Maloof’s 164th chair) I should really attempt something like this in the future. Thanks for sharing your design process out in the open.
I think you’re on to something here Chris. The base, the seat and the back all flow together. I was thinking that maybe a slight taper or perhaps a oval form to the seat and back rest might improve the look. Make it look less like a picket fence?
I am 6’3″ tall and weigh 225#, would your chair support me?
I am confident that there is enough strength in the chair to hold you off the ground. However, the side-to-sway issue might be an issue. I’m not sure how it would fail, but I think it would be interesting to learn.
That’s 2 clever by half and 2×2 clever 4 me. Thknas!