Samuel Wing Chair Class

by | Feb 20, 2023 | 5 comments

Last week I had four friends over for a trial run of a class set in the year 1803, building a copy of Samuel Wing’s loop back chair. It was a great week. We all learned a lot, none more than me. Thanks to Damon O’Gan for the black-and-white photos below:

We split, hewed, shaved stretcher blanks, then turned them on the pole lathe. This was everyone’s favorite part of the class, to everyone’s great surprise. The pole lathe is such a gentle, meditative machine; I think we could happily have spent days on them.

We splitbows from the log and sawed others from a board, then planed them all just like Samuel Wing did. To nobody’s great surprise, the riven bows bent better and the sawn bows pulled splinters just like Samuel Wing’s did.

We sawed the seats with bowsaws and shaved them in the usual fashion (with gouges instead of inshaves for the hollowing cuts).

We reamed with open-faced reamers…

…and bored with spoon bits, all with very little measuring.

Then we glued them up with the usual banging and grimacing, followed by sticky fingers…..

….and smiling faces.

I hope to offer this class at some point, but I still don’t know when that will be – I’m still busy writing this book and building chairs.  What a great life I’ve got.

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David Jones
11 months ago

Keep on keepin’ on, Elia. We love what you’ve added to the canon and all the support and depth you bring! Moved to comment primarily, though to share a recommendation, for submitting picture number 5 to one of my favorite Instagrams, “Classicdadmoves”. The intense stares. The supportive, experienced engagement. Willing the worker into excellence with presence and silence. Delightful. Especially the eye line of the gentleman in the red shirt. “I’ve got you, brother. Let me know if you need me.” I mean, anybody who knows what’s actually going on – the angles, the risk, the challenges of work-holding in the undercarriage boring, the extra difficulty of a spoon bit, I would be one of those faces too, no shade intended, just a good giggle seeing it and thinking about the parallels with all the great Grams I’ve seen with a similar vibe. 🙂

David Jones
11 months ago
Reply to  David Jones

AKA – How many dads does it take to drill a hole?

Dana Horton
1 year ago

That’s a great looking chair. I’d like to build one. Will the plans be in your new book?

1 year ago
Reply to  Dana Horton

Yes, there will be plans in the book (at least that’s the current plan). Elia

1 year ago

Great post Elia! Looks like you guys had a fantastic time making those beautiful chairs! Nice work!

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