Building a Greenwood Chair Photo Documentary

 

BUILDING A GREEN WOOD CHAIR

DAY ONE:  The first thing was to select a tree that is of high enough quality and large enough to yield all the parts we needed for 6 chairs. This one was limb-free for at least 15’ and when we looked at patterns in the bark, determined that it would be straight grained (not twisted). After cutting the tree down we bucked it up into the lengths we would need. We then split the logs into quarters or eights depending on the need and removed the bark. We left one as a half log to make into the back slats. Then we packed the entire works up to the truck and brought it home for the next class:

DAY TWO:  In the second session of the green wood chair class our goal was to get all the rungs shaped and sized and racked up to dry. The billets from day one needed to be further split (riven) into rung size blanks and then hewn, drawknifed and spokeshaved down to their final size and shape. These pieces need to be completely dry before we cut the tennons. We not only completed this task but got started shaping back legs.

DAY THREE:  From the half log we saved for back slats, we sawed off thin boards parallel to the split face and then steamed and bent them. We then finished shaping the back legs and thinned out the upper portion creating a flat face. Next we steamed and bent the legs. The grain was so perfect in the tree we chose that we didn’t have a single failure when bending. The bent pieces stayed in the bending forms until our next class.

DAY FOUR:  During the fourth day we cleaned up all the pieces (more spoke shaving and scraping) and did the joinery (making tennons and drilling holes) and finally assembled the chairs.

DAY FIVE:  We made birch bark strips using a bark cutter and double wove the seats.

The Folk School Fairbanks