Arts & Mysteries: 18th-century Chairmaking


Building a Philadelphia Chippendale chair – Part 2
By Adam Cherubini
Pages: 24-28

From the December 2008 issue #173
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This is part two in my series of what will probably be several articles detailing the construction of a formal Philadelphia Chippendale chair. In the last article, I built up the structure of the chair’s back, but did none of the shaping or carving. It would be nice to simply document the construction as I build it. But I’d like to have an article on carving, not little bits of carving in every article. Moreover, I’m attempting to show what I think the building process really looked like in the period. I believe Philadelphia’s finest chairs were carved by professional carvers in the 18th century. Some of the shaping and carving would have been done “in-house” in the chairmaker’s or cabinetmaker’s shop. I’m going to attempt in a future article to show where I feel the work split was. In this article, I’m going to build up the chair’s front and attach it to the back. My focus will be on structure and joinery.

From the December 2008 issue #173
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