This writing desk and chair show the influence of several furniture styles.
SHOP OWNER: Alan Young
LOCATION: Ypsilanti, MI
This is a writing desk and chair I designed and built as an auction item for my children's school. The chair has design elements from several furniture styles including Shaker, Arts & Crafts ala Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and even Chippendale. The main unifying detail in these two pieces is the black walnut rosettes. There are three in the chair and nine in the table.
The table has a drawer made up of maple sides and a red oak front wrapped in walnut. The fluted red oak legs feature walnut feet and walnut rosettes accenting all four of the side braces. There are walnut accent strips inlaid across the table's top as well as walnut rosettes in each of the corners.
A chair can spend much of it's time with it's back to the "audience" so it has to look good from the back as well as the front. All of the curves in this chair were accomplished using bent lamination, except for the arms, which are just cut out from a solid piece. I wanted strong joints between the back legs and the seating structure of the chair. So the back seat rail is joined to the side rails in front of, and separate from, the legs. The side rails are joined separately to the back legs. The joinery is all mortis and tenon.
The walnut on the back splats, shown at right, came from the pedal board on a pipe organ that is being restored. I cut the old pedals off on my bandsaw and replaced them with new pieces. I planed the old pieces down and used them here in this chair. For more about the organ see: Pedal Board for a PipeOrgan
The finish consists of two coats of Minwax Tung Oil with a third coat of a 30/70 mixture of Minwax Spar Varnish and Tung Oil.
Construction of this project was accomplished over a one-month period. But the design began much earlier. The chair design came from a drawing I made three years ago for a proposed project that never materialized. I kept the drawing of the chair because I knew I wanted to make it someday for the "write" occasion (pun intended). In early August of 2001 I was asked if I might contribute something for an auction to benefit the school my children attend. I thought this would be a good time to make the chair. As I started going over the drawing of the chair it seemed to beg for a table or desk to go with it. Construction started on the chair by making the back legs first. I used 1/8 inch oak laminations bent on a MDF form. The back leg pieces were started about September 10. The rest of the material was purchased at a local mill on September 22. Three weeks later, working nights and weekends plus three days away from work, I completed the table and chair. This project was, in essence, built on speculation. It sold at auction on Friday Oct 26, after sitting in my front entryway for a week. I really was growing attached to these pieces and was ready to keep them if they didn't sell.
I am thankful to several Wood Central regulars for their help on this project including Lee Grindinger, Sgian Duhb, and Stephen Shepherd.. . . Alan Young
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