Friday, November 27, 2009

Full Frontal

Today, as I headed out to my photographer to have some shots taken of the child's balloon back that I designed to teach in Maine next year, I grabbed this recently finished rocker to document as well. When designing a chair, I've often dreaded the full front view. The symmetry can make it difficult to create a dynamic look and balance in the proportions is touchy to say the least.

I've changed the spindles to make them wider in the midback region. I credit this change with making the center of this chair more lively than it's predecessors. Also by twisting the spindles to orient them for alignment in their widest part, the back has a seamless feel to it, a fine improvement.
With respect to the finish, I painted certain areas a slightly darker black to help define the transitions from one shape to another. The effect on areas like the arms and spindle deck adds a crisp somewhat formal quality that I like.

The backs of the spindles are also a shade darker.

Last week I had a young couple in the shop making their first chairs. Here's Prentice splitting up a slew of spindles.

They lucked out on the first day, I think that the days of shaving away the day on the porch are just about gone.

The assembly took an interesting turn when we realized, much too late, that Kyle and Prentice had switched undercarraiges and put them in the wrong seats!! Actually, it was pretty impressive as both went together just fine. Being new to chairmaking, I don't think that they understood what a good job they must have done on all the preceding steps to have interchangeable undercarraiges. Of course, when they switched arm bows later on (honest, I'm not making this up!), it became apparent more quickly. I guess sharing can be taken too far.

As they packed up, I couldn't resist this photo. It captured so much about them.

Now that the holidays are upon us, I'm taking some time to work on some writing and preparing to head back to Boston to teach a weekend seminar to the students at North Bennet Street. Just thinking about the cannoli has me ready to hit the road.


Christopher said...


The rocker is stunning. I really like the way the spindles mirror (or at least suggest)the shape of the arm. The finish also looks great.


Anonymous said...

Yes, that is a beautiful chair. Every aspect of it has been perfected and achieved great aesthetic grace and power.

Peter Galbert said...

Thanks for the comments, I've been nudging this design along for almost 2 years and think that it might be done! Then again...