When you make a table it’s fairly straightforward. Four legs (or some variation thereof) and a top. Not too hard. If you choose to splay the legs, then you’ve added some geometry and math to the process…and that’s why you see a lot of tables with straight legs!
If you build a chair with straight legs, you run a pretty good chance of sitting on the floor by accident. Chairs need a different type of support. They need splayed and raked legs to best balance the weight and keep tipping to a minimum.
And then there’s the back. How much of an angle should you include? What about the seat? How high? How wide? These are just a few of the questions faced when considering making a chair.
I know this guy, Christopher Schwarz, who is too smart by half and spends a lot of his time simplifying things for the rest of us. Now he’s tackled chairs. In “No Fear Chairmaking” Chris has broken down all the questions and concerns (not to mention the math) and made construction reasonable for anyone. He walks you through the tools and the basic process, giving simple explanations along the way.
When it comes to the math, he breaks it down into more of a geometry exercise, and tricks you into having fun. Oh, and how about a quick trip to make sure the chair sits flat without cutting one leg, then another…and another, until your chair is more of a stool.
If you’re interested in building chairs, start here and let Chris take a lot of the fear and confusion out of the process!
— David Thiel