Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Chair Notes, an introduction


Hardly a day goes by in my shop when I don't learn something. I like to think of my shop as a laboratory for finding elegant solutions to the problems posed by chairmaking. To me, chairmaking is the interaction of the human form with the potential of wood as a material. I think the potential for exploration is endless. A chair must be beautiful from 360 degrees, durable, and comfortable, a tall order. I've decided to create this forum to share information and inspiration. Teaching has turned out to be one of the great joys of my chairmaking experience. It is a simple thing to share something that you're passionate about. My production schedule allows me to teach about 20 students a year in my one on one seminars, but this seems to merely scratch the surface for the desire for good information. That being said, there a many ways to skin a cat and I look forward to learning from you and hearing your ideas. I am diligent in my desire to find the best techniques but am fully aware that we each have our own priorities and hope that mine will be of help or interest to you. I am excited to share my experience with you.
Pete

5 comments:

Jean-Francois said...

This blog is a great idea! Some chairmakers (such as myself) are relatively isolated, and it is a great meeting place and idea exchange post. Thank you for your initiative.

Jean-François Théorêt

John Alexander said...

Peter:Thanks for your blog. The shop looks wonderful. The natural light is the key. The chair is interesting also. It appears to support the spine in two places. I find that most Windsors though beautiful are both uncomfortable and unhealthy. Often we slump back in them, treating our spine and internal organs unnaturally. Or, sit up straight on the front edge of the seat with no back support at all. I am advanced enough in years to remember Ms. Sharp in the third grade saying, "Johnnie, sit all the way back and sit up in the chair." When people ask if they can sit in my post and rung chairs (they are afraid the that the slender sticks will separate beneath them), I tell them I am delighted that they want to rest and hear myself say, "Sit back and sit up in the chair." Keep up your work. Wood is wonderful."

John Alexander

John Zimmerman said...

John, the chair is really comfortable. I made my first chair with Pete just about a month ago and it was a great experience. We made two side chairs similar to the this design and Pete will make me two arm chair in the next couple months. Here is a link to some pix. www.columbia.edu/~jlz4/chair

Pete is a great teacher and a great chairmaker.

Peter Galbert said...

In response to John Alexander,
Well John, I'm probably setting myself up for a whoopin' from the master, but here goes! I've done a good deal of investigation on the human body and it's requirements while sitting. I've also done a lot of observing of people sitting in windsors. I find that the windsor, a well executed one, fits the bill beautifully for healthy sitting. The main reason being that, the best position for sitting is the next position. By allowing one to freely change into multiple positions, the fatigue associated with sitting in one position (such as we get with car or airplane seats) is avoided. I watch people sit for hours in my chairs around the dining table and see them take all sorts of positions and never suggesting that we move from the table! That being said, I am always searching for new insight into making a healthy, comfortable chair. I'll go now and get the hickory switch for my whoopin,
Pete

Nicholas Cicchinelli said...

This is very nice, Peter. Great pictures, John Zimmerman. Thank you both for sharing.


Nicholas Cicchinelli