Monday, September 8, 2008

Chair in Motion

There is only so much that can be conveyed in still images. In this most recent rocker, I was striving to create motion, in both the lines of the chair, but also in the actual wood. Folks who have tried it out have all commented on the gentle "give" of the back. I have wanted to build a chair that had the flex of a combback, but without the arm passing across the back.

The ability to match the curve of the back is only part of the challenge. If the chair works only in a single position, the sitter will soon become fatigued and need to shift. I found that the added dimension of flexibility can help create comfort while the sitter takes on a number of positions, because the weight distribution of the sitter actually reforms the shape of the chair. It may sound obvious, cushioned chairs do it all the time (often with too much "give"), but we're talking about a wooden chair here, and by using split wood, shaved along the fiberline, I think that the challenge of making a "hard" chair "soft" is met.


Unknown said...

absolutely amazing!

Anonymous said...

The amount of movement is amazing and I can only imagine very comfortable. Do you have any worries about the stresses on the various joints over time? I know that buildings are engineered to move as so not to be too rigid and later fail but in
woodworking "solid" seems to be the rule. Will that motion affect the connetion between wood and wood?

Peter Galbert said...

Maybe I'm overstating the reality, but it's because of the movement that I have faith in the longevity of the joints. Because the stresses of use are absorbed along the entire spindle etc.. they don't make it to the joints, at least not as intensely as when the spindles don't flex. Also, my demonstration moves the back far more than in average use. In normal flexing, all of the pieces move just a tiny bit, enough to create the comfort but not enough to stress the joints. Add the wet/dry supertight joints, and I don't stay up nights worrying about the longevity (there are other things to keep me up at night!) In this chair, I tried to focus on the combback and it's incredible flexibility without the heavier posts, and if combbacks can last hundreds of years, I have high hopes for this configuration.