I can finally put a tick next to something that’s long been on my “to do” list: Learn how to build a Welsh stick chair. With all that’s going on with my house right now (I just started tear-out on one of the bathrooms and still haven’t finished the stairs), I knew it would be years before I would get around to a chair build on my own time. So, I invited Kentucky bodger Don Weber to come teach me and a few friends on camera, which meant I could do it on company time.
But as with all plans, the gods laughed. After Don said yes, and my friends – Christopher Schwarz, John Hoffman, Narayan Nayar and Justin Lieb – picked the week that would work for their schedules, I got called into two days of unavoidable meetings during said week. Ah well. So while I did in fact get hands-on, step-by-step instruction in building a Welsh stick chair, I have not (yet) actually finished building one.
My seat is saddled, the legs are fit and I’ve drilled holes for the stretchers. The stretchers and spindles are turned, the arm bow is bent and I’ve got the crest rail shaped. So there’s still much drilling, fitting and gluing to be done. In between meetings and a project I’m working on for the next issue. And the house.
Still, it was an excellent learning experience, and the time I had in the shop with friends was great fun (plus I got to use a Claire Minihan travisher for actual work, and am now pining for one of my own). And I think having other folk around led to some discussions and questions we wouldn’t normally be able to capture on video for your instruction – the resulting “Build a Welsh Stick Chair” video is the better for it. So on the last day of shooting, I commandeered the camera for a few minutes to talk about why:
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