Gil Arad’s Birthing chair – Part 1: Ash and oak chair.

Birthing chair? Until a week ago I never heard of such a thing.  In the spirit of, "you learn something new everyday," I learned about birthing chairs when my friend and fellow woodworker Gil Arad emailed me pictures of a strange looking project which he just finished. It turns out that a special chair or stool, in the shape of a crescent has been used for centuries to support the mother giving birth and to allow the midwife to assist her. Gil is a teacher and woodworker who lives in the mountains near Jerusalem, Israel. He is a gifted designer whose work has been featured on my blog before. This is his second birthing chair. His birthing chair journey began when Gil, enthusiastic to learn about being a supportive husband to an expecting wife, built a chair and took it to the hospital where his wife was giving birth to his first born son. Unfortunately, the hospital refused to allow such a strange apparatus to set foot (pun intended) in the delivery room. Disappointed, Gil took the chair home and swore that next time his wife became pregnant his child would be delivered at home on his chair. A few years passed and the happy couple were expecting a girl. As the time for labor was closing on, Gil and his wife made an arrangement with a midwife to come over to deliver his baby daughter. Thus, the Birthing chair was finally able to make it's debut. 

Here are pictures of Gil's first chair, made from oak and ash. 

Next time I will show Gil's Campaign birthing chair; a truly fantastic project. 

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Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.