The Side Chair and Arm Chair

This is our most popular course. You get to do some steam bending, choose between spindle back and slat back, and weave a seat from a range of patterns.

The side chair class lasts five days and if you want to build an arm chair let us know and you’ll come back for an extra day at the end to shape and fit the arms rests.

Day 1: Arrive in good time. Our first job is to get the back leg posts, spindle rails and slats into the steam box so that you can bend them before lunch. They need to sit in their formers for as long as possible.

With all of the steamed parts bent you will then start shaping the front legs. You start with square section stock and plane the timber eight sided and then shave and scrape it round. This means that you’ll learn techniques that don’t require you to buy thousands of pounds of lathe and turning tools when you go home and want to build another chair!

Day 2: A busy day of rounding all the remaining legs, rungs and rails. For the rungs and rails you’ll use a dowel maker and scrapers and then put the tenons on with a tenon former.

Day 3: Finish any rounding needed and drill the holes for the tenons in the front legs. If time allows you’ll assemble the front section of the chair.

Day 4: The back posts, spindle rails and slats come out of the formers and we drill the mortises for the rungs and rails and chop the slat mortises. By lunchtime we should have the back panel together and before the end of the day we’ll have the hole chair assembled and glued together.

Day 5: Seat weaving. You’ll weave a seat from either paper rush, Danish cord or sea grass. You choose the pattern from a range of square weave designs. Please note – you can only weave an envelope weave if you’ve done it before.

Day 6: If you booked onto the arm chair course you will have built your chair slightly wider than those on a side chair course. On day 6 you’ll shape the arms and fit them to the frame.