Factory chair: a love story.

A few years ago I saw this chair at a yard sale and I couldn’t walk away from it. I bought it for $5.

For the last four years it has been the utility infielder for our house, and I’ve been wanting to make another. I still have plenty of cherry sitting around from the trestle table and benches, so that’s probably going to be the wood of choice. If my mind’s eye isn’t lying to me, black cherry will render really well in this form. Walnut would also be beautiful.

It’s a really simple form, and I think that’s the power of it. There’s little wasted and even the joints are ingenuitive. So much so, in fact, that they were once patented.

That patent has since lapsed, but the joints have held, so there must be something to them. It’s basically a hybrid between a mortise & tenon an overlapped bridle joint at each point where the legs and side rails meet, and then the front and back rails are fastened with dowels that act as pegs for the side joints.

I have a couple observations about the joints, and one or two variations that I would like to try. I’m planning to make a pattern from this chair while I have it apart, and to build (at least) one over the next few months. I’m also planning to share as much of that as possible here and hopefully somewhere with a little more exposure.

For a chair designed to be built in a factory and salvaged from a yard sale, I feel like this one has a lot of potential. I know I’ve fallen in love with it.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Luke Miller says:

    Intriguing design. What changes would you make to keep the top from splitting like that? It looks like it was originally just screwed straight through the rails?


    1. Yep, just screws through the rail. The split on the seat was a failed glue line so that may have been a factor. The screws actually had some room to move so I’m not sure they were the culprit.


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