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I must get off my hinder and start beavering on these two Welsh stick chairs I’m making for a friend. The arm bows are bent, the seats are glued up and…that’s all I got.

Until this moment, the excuse for my lethargy was that I was waiting for the arm bows to dry while they were clamped up in a form. The arm bows are made from ash Compwood, an amazing thing that I wrote about on the blog and in our April 2011 issue.

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When I first released the arms from my bending form, they sprung out a bit because they were still a little rare in the middle. So I clamped them back in the form, put them in the back of the shop and forgot about them as we struggled to get the June 2011 issue purged from our fingertips.

Last week I finally released the arms from the form and they are perfect. In fact, I even got a little bit of negative springback on both arms. In other words, the arm’s radius tightened up when compared to the form they were wrapped around.

Can I have a “Yee-haw?”

And today I got down to the serious business of surfacing the arms and removing the tool marks with a block plane. The big surprise? The Compwood works just like regular ash, despite the fact that it has been in a pressure cooker.

— Christopher Schwarz

Other Chairmaking Resources
“Welsh Stick Chairs” by the late and great John Brown is back in print. Get it now. Amazon.com has it here.

• The other great chairmaking resource “The Chairmaker’s Workshop” by Drew Langsner is also back in print. You can order it from Drew direct.

• “American Windsor Furniture: Specialized Forms” by Nancy Goyne Evans is on sale in our shop. These books are a gold mine for people who love chairs. They are expensive now, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until they go out of print! You have been warned.

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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Showing 3 comments
  • tomcarver

    This comment is not specifically about compwood but I couldn’t figure out how to leave a general comment. I have read you blog for a few years and will continue. My gripe is with the new site design. YUCK! What was wrong with the old one? The new one looks like so many others. The old one was distinctive. OK, rant over. Despite the new age, touchy-feely site, you people do great work. Thank you for your effort.

    Tom in NC

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