Fortunately, as Julian has already mentioned, we do have the benefit of some really well illustrated and written books, by many of the top crafts-folk in the world. The one I have that I will be referring to is Mike Abbott's 'Living Wood - from buying a woodland to making a chair'.
I've never read the book properly, as I have never been in the position to actually use the techniques and make a chair, but from what I have read, it is a really well illustrated and written description of the techniques that it has taken Mike many years to perfect. I can't wait to try some of them out.
I have some other books that allude to chair making, some that will be useful for method and tools. An all-time favourite book is Drew Langsner's 'Country Woodcraft'. I flick through that book, imagining I was around back in the day when Drew was first exploring and discovering traditional crafts himself.
|It was in Drew's book that I first came across a shave horse.|
Five or six years ago, when I was first showing an interest in green woodworking and traditional crafts my brother Eden and his wife bought me this lovely book:
It's a good 'whistle stop' tour of trad crafts and covers quite a range of activities, but doesn't go into any depth - you couldn't learn to do any of these jobs from the book, but it's a good introduction to, and reminder of some of the skills that are dying.
I also have an old book called 'All Made by Hand' that lists and give some detail on about every traditional and country craft activity that there ever was, but what I love the most are the pen illustrations.
For each of the jobs there is one of these pictures with all the tools listed - a great reference.
I've also spent some time this week scouring the internet for pictures of chairs and blogs to do with chair making. I found some pictures of chairs I really like. the one thing I learnt above all others is that there are a gazillion different names for the many and various styles of what might loosely be termed 'Windsor' chairs and that the name of a chair in England may not be called the same in America or Europe. Anyway, I quite like these:
|I just love these settles.|
|I love the construction detail on the staves on the back of this ercol chair.|
And this is the chair I have plumped for (having just typed this sentence I realize what a stupid expression that is - plumped for). I got the picture from Peter Follonsbee's blog - it doesn't say who made it, whether it was one of his or someones else's, but it's in a post about Drew Langsner so I'm guessing one or the other of them made it at Country Workshops. Whether what I end up making looks anything like this is another thing altogether - we'll just have to wait and see.