Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Fine Line

I haven't been getting enough time lately to horse around with my chair designs, so for the last week or so, I finished up a walnut occasional chair that I started a while back. I wanted to bring it along to the meeting of the Rochester Woodworkers Society that I am speaking at this weekend.

I've learned a lot about walnut lately. It can hold a crisp visual edge just about anywhere, and I have a nasty reaction to it (sinus infection). So I donned my full face respirator and plugged in the air filter and had some fun. I can't count the number of times that I've intended to create a seat like this, but for some reason, I just couldn't let it go this time.

The walnut has all the right properties for this kind of fine detail.

It requires near perfect shaping of the facets as they flow around the seat and interact. It was tough at first until I focused on making one facet geometry fluid and then "cut" the other one up to it. The key is not to fuss about with scrapers too much, but to get the fine edge with handtools and get out fast!

The detail at the top of the back posts also seamed ripe for change, so I played around until this detail emerged, with a heavy nod to Mr. Maloof.

Here you can see that the facet on the corner is a bit concave, and full of gouge marks.

I think that the line on the seat interacts nicely with the arms, plus it lets you know where your rear is supposed to go, very inviting.

And the obligatory rear view.

I had quite a full shop recently. There is Dan working on a walnut chair for himself and in the back is Tim working on turning a reamer body and Claire making a travisher. After years of working in a solitary shop, I love the hustle and bustle of having so much going on, even though space is a bit tight.


Ray Schwanenberger said...

Pete - The chair is absolutely beautiful. I love the lines of the seat but was wondering how you were able to get the line on the front curve of the saddling to be prominent enough to see, yet comfortable when the thigh rides over it? Great work!

Peter Galbert said...

Thanks! Good question about the line. It isn't prominent at all, except in the middle of the seat. The only reason that it is so visible is because of the way that the light bounces off of the (subtly) different planes. I basically took the geometry of a shield seat, like a continuous arm would have, and instead of the pommel in the middle, I chamfered back the front. Where the thighs pass over the front edge is barely perceptible to the touch, which is why I can only pull it off in walnut!

Brigitte and Gary said...

Peter, what a beautifully honed design - Bravo! Is there another wood comparable to walnut in workability?

Bern said...

Pete, that is one gorgeous chair. Love the new features; subtle yet dramatic.
It's interesting that you felt there was not much difference in the sitting department regardless the change in the carving. Reminds me that with chairs, as long as you have the basic requirements for comfort and strength sorted out , variations on a theme are pretty much limitless.

Unknown said...

Very nice. I like what you did with the arms also and the offset placement to the post.

I had to pick up my Santore book since there was something about how you shaped the seat that reminded me of something. Don't laugh but look at page 90 of the second volume edition, I think you may see some similarities. :)

mark said...

The chair is absolutely beautiful. I love the lines of the seat.That is one gorgeous chair.thanks for sharing want to see more simply

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