Glastonbury chairs

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Project by Kris Koenig posted 07-30-2010 08:16 PM 4395 views 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a commission for a pair of medieval Glastonbury chairs. Removing the wedges from the through tenons allows the chairs to break down into about 17 pieces each for ease of transportation. Notice that I do not say ease of assembly…..

9 comments so far

View majuvla's profile


13354 posts in 3068 days

#1 posted 07-30-2010 08:58 PM

Very nice and unique!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View tinnman65's profile


1364 posts in 3615 days

#2 posted 07-31-2010 02:11 AM

Very unique chair with a long history, I had to look them up because I never heard of a Glastonbury chair. They don’t look to comfortable to sit in! It looks as though you did a great job on them. Nice work.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3268 days

#3 posted 07-31-2010 03:21 AM

Beautiful work!!

-- Jack, Albuquerque

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Dan'um Style

14179 posts in 4183 days

#4 posted 07-31-2010 03:29 AM

welcome to lumberjocks

very well done

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18390 posts in 3876 days

#5 posted 07-31-2010 03:59 AM

Nice job. What is the story behind the style of the arms??

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3974 days

#6 posted 07-31-2010 06:37 AM

Unique design. Nicely done. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Kris Koenig's profile

Kris Koenig

11 posts in 3058 days

#7 posted 08-02-2010 02:44 AM

I am not sure about the story with the arms, but they are surprisingly comfortable when you are sitting in the chair. Somehow, the crook before the bulge of the arm is right where it is supposed to be. They also used the bulge of the arm as a canvas for carvings. Search Google for Glastonbury chair and look at the images. This style of arm is what the original chair in the Glastonbury abbey has, but there are several variations people have made.

Let’s see…17 pieces…..let me count again.

Seat panel – 1
Back panel – 2
2 side rails for each – 6
Top rail on back, front rail on seat and a common rail in the middle – 9
4 legs – 13
stretcher – 14
2 arms – 16

So, 16 not 17. The first time I forgot that the middle rail was common, so I got one extra. I don’t count the eight wedges. Except when I have to sand them.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18390 posts in 3876 days

#8 posted 08-02-2010 04:16 AM

Thanks for the info. I searched, but at page 10, it was getting into other styles and the canvas carving cover hadn’t shown up yet:-(( I have been thining about making an apron to catch chips so I could carve in the house where SOMBO rules with an iron fist!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Wayne Precht's profile

Wayne Precht

58 posts in 4117 days

#9 posted 12-21-2010 04:41 PM

Nice Work.

I have made a pair myself and I can say, they are harder than they look :) Though they are surprisingly comfortable. I glued up a few pieces on mine so they break down as follows:
4 legs
1 stretcher
2 arms
2 seat side rails
1 back assembly (4 frame members + panel)
1 seat assembly (seat panel + front rail)
8 wedges

For transport I use cellophane packing “tape” and tape the 5 leg pieces together, the 2 arms and 2 seat rails together (I also put all 8 wedges in the wide spot of the arms and tape them down so they don’t get lost) and then the back and seat nest so it’s basically 3 packages.

Mine are based loosely on the plans found in Daniel Diehl’s Constructing Medieval Furniture: Plans and Instructions With Historical Notes (ISBN-13: 978-0811727952). I say loosely because the plans omit a few things here and there and some accommodations/guesswork is required to make it work. I have found a few dozen pictures on the internet of these, most various types of reproductions. They fall into two basic styles: ones like these where order of assembly creates straight arms and the kind like I made where the arms flair out (check the pictures on my project page to see the difference). Having sat in both, I fine the flared type a lot more comfortable as the flare of the seat is similar to the flare of the hips. Although, it’s a bit tricky to get the bevels going the right way as you have to back bevel at the front seat pin to get it to lie flat.

-- --- Wayne.

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