Monday, December 8, 2008

A Holiday Gift

I was considering posting the plans for my perch as a holiday gift to ChairNotes readers, but as with so many thoughts, time seemed to run short and other priorities took hold. But then someone contacted me the other day to request the plans, and put it right back at the top of the list.

I designed this perch with Galen Cranz and Curtis Buchanan a few years back when we were teaching a class on body conscious seating. Galen, an expert in The Alexander Technique and now head of the Architecture Department at UC Berkely, set the goals:

To use windsor technology to create a seat that would make sitting upright easier and encourage proper alignment of the vertebrae.

The perch does this by keeping the pelvis rolled forward, similar to when you are standing. This way, the natural spring S curve of the back is maintained.
I love watching people faces as they sit on the perch for the first time. It's near effortless and nothing like they expect.

This is also a great project to undertake as an introduction to windsors. The legs can be turned from dry wood, as long as it is straight grained, and the seat isn't deeply scooped, so you can forgo some of the coarser carving tools.
My one warning is that your friends and family will line up for theirs, so either be prepared to make a lot of them or keep it hidden when they are around!

Below is the pattern for the seat. I hope that you can make out the numbers. Obviously, the exact shape of the seat can vary a bit.

Perhaps the strangest part of the perch, especially to experienced chairmakers, will be that the legs all rake towards the front. The front leg is quite a bit shorter than the rear and causes the forward tilt in the seat. It tilts so far forward in fact, that the legs take on an even rake, both forward and back. I've drawn a quick sketch of the perch and then one next to it that shows the legs when the seat is resting horizontally. Odd isn't it! So take a moment to get used to it and start gathering materials.

I'll post the leg patterns next as well as a video of the turning process. Then I'll continue to post on it until it's done.


Anonymous said...

Good Idea, and a Great Gift for all bloggers.
The perch was a great starting chair! Thanks for teaching me.

Anonymous said...

Is the perch something you invented? And if so, what made you do it? It's a beautiful casual object. Fun to look at. I hope I get to make one someday so I can try perching!

Anonymous said...

This stool reminds me a bit of my office "chair" which consists entirely of a large inflatable exercise ball. It is also vaugely reminiscent of a stool like office chair called the "Swopper."

Obviously the aesthetics are a wee bit different from either my ball or the Swopper, but it seems to be a somewhat similar concept.

I might just try building one, one of these days.

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Peter Galbert said...

Thanks for the comments! The concept of a forward tilting seat has been around a while (remember the kneeling computer chairs?). I think that Galen was surprised at how easily the windsor technology worked with the concept. Galen has severe scoliosis, and when she sat on the perch for the first time, she actually teared up. I'll talk a bit more about the evolution and concept on the blog,
thanks again

Linden said...

Thank you so much for sharing Peter, it is such a treat to read your blog and so generous for you to share this pattern.

Cheers, Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

Pete - appreciate your decision to share the drawing/concept. Looking forward to the leg design & video. Have a great Holiday

Harry said...

Thanks for this Pete. Btw I'm using your caliper and it's great.

Anonymous said...

One of Ms. Cranz's source is the work of Dr Mandal of Denmark, By day I design furnture for a company the produces seating for healthcare environments, on my own time I dabble with Windsor chairs. I feel like my worlds are colliding! I'm curious to know more about how you and Galen came together to collaborate.

Harry said...

Pete, where do your feet go?

Tina M. said...

Hi Peter,

Thanks so much for the plans. I have started the seat already. How much shorter is the front leg from the back ones for the "normal" person.

I thought it interesting today when we went to a Christmas musical variety show at a local playhouse. The singers sat on stools for a portion of the show. The stonger singers leaned off the front of the stool with their feet on the floor which I am assuming was for greater lung capacity. They needed your perch stool!

Thanks again, Tina M.

Peter Galbert said...

the difference between the front and rear legs is a constant, the goal being that the seat has a forward tilt of about 10 degrees. The leg plans that I gave are good for an average person. Let me know if you have any more questions.

jaupnort said...

Peter, just came from cutting quite a lot of apple wood. Want to make a perch with it and if all goes well then want to make one for at least each of my kids (3) as this wood came from the old family farm where they climbed the tree while visiting grandpa and grandma.
Want to use for all parts. I would welcome your input. John A

Peter Galbert said...

I haven't worked apple wood into anything but spoons. It tends to be a rather wild growing tree and might not be easy to split into billets or dry. Of course, you can give it a shot and let me know how it goes!