Democratic Chair (and Spoons) with Curtis Buchanan

by | Sep 8, 2020 | 11 comments

I’m super excited! I started an apprenticeship with Curtis Buchanan 18 years ago and I’ve been teaching chairmaking myself for 15 years, but we have never taught together – until now. We’re going to teach a series of 10-15 online classes on building Curtis’s Democratic chair and to start things off we’re going to do a spoon carving class.

We’re trying a new payment system this time. All classes are still paid for individually and cost $40 each, but if you can’t afford that you can donate whatever you want (well, it has to be at least $1). We don’t want anyone to be kept out because of money. You can also donate extra to help cover someone else’s tuition.

If you want to build this chair along with us, Seth and I are offering free shipping on a set of Democratic rivings and seat blank (the first time I’ve ever sold seats).  I’m also adding some one-on-one zoom classes in between the large classes in case you need extra help.

Visit the online classes page for more info and to register.


September 19th, 2-4pm
First we’ll whittle a blank, then boil it in a pot, bend it, then carve a serving spoon. We’ll talk about materials and tools as we go and we’ll laugh a lot.



Curtis Buchanan designed this chair to be an easily accessible project – it requires fewer tools to build than most Windsor chairs and allows for a wider variety of woods. Curtis will join me as a co-teacher for all of these classes.

STRETCHERS, POSTS AND LEGS October 10th, 2-4pm
We’ll talk about wood selection and how to split the parts out, then whittle as many parts as we have time for. And we’ll answer all your questions.

After whittling the spindles and crest, we’ll bend the crest and talk about drying the parts. We may get into choosing and flattening the seat as time permits. Plus Q+A session

More Democratic Chair classes at the end of October and in November.

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Bob Simmons
3 years ago

The session on spoons was superb! Elia in NC performing as the capable student and Curtis in TN providing insight, instruction, direction and history. What a duo! I was suitably impressed with Elia’s ability to use his drawknife for fine surgical cuts. I am anxious for the Democratic Chair sessions to begin!

adam of oakland, ca, usa
3 years ago

holy cow, this is a brilliant idea! gonna share this with some colleagues and try to get an Oakland chapter of the Curtis & Elia show!

thank you.

John Hunt
3 years ago

Elia, I assume you are going to record the sessions, I live in Sydney Australia and being able to watch them at my leisure instead of 05:00 in the morning would be great.

John Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  Elia Bizzarri

Great. Please send me the link in due course. Cheers JH

jeff wayman
3 years ago

great! I wouldn’t do it if it was a republican chair…

Cody Carse
3 years ago

Hi Elia,

I had purchased the democratic arm chair plans and was planning on starting to build that soon as my first windsor. Would it be possible to add the arm stumps and arms to an order for the rivings and seat? Or are there more differences than that?

Cody Carse
3 years ago
Reply to  Elia Bizzarri

Thank you Elia. I’ve done just that.

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