Christmas Rose's birthday chair

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Project by millforge posted 01-08-2012 03:19 AM 1656 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

On Christmas Day 2010, my daughter’s first baby was born. They named her Noelle Rose. I was immediately obliged to make her a chair, to uphold a tradition that started with my first grand daughter in 2007. This ladderback chair was Rose’s gift on her first birthday, and second Christmas, in 2011.
It is made of maple with elm stretchers, and the seat is elm bark. It is 12” wide across the back and 15” across the “mushrooms” atop the front legs. The seat height is 8 ½” and overall height is 27”. Rockers are 20 ½” long. The finish is alkyd paint and varnish and metallic powder stenciling. The seat is red elm bark dyed with aniline dyes and woven in the traditional “under 2 over 2” pattern. The decoration is adapted from period precedents, including faux rosewood panels (black over red) on the back.
The chair is inspired by the work of a chairmaker in Frontenac County, Ontario, who worked in the 1860s. The chair itself was made in 2000 and saved unpainted, along with a few others, in hopes that grandchildren would come along to use them.
The maple came from a tree that was brought down by the ice storm that hit the northeast in Jan 1998. The turned parts and back rails are riven from the log to eliminate any weakness from grain runout and to facilitate steam bending. The bark for the seat was harvested about 1986 when I was able to get the bark from two red elm trees that had been cut before they died (Dutch elm disease usually kills them early). I harvested a few hundred feet of inner bark in more or less uniform width and thickness. The material is a lot like leather in texture, and often lasts a hundred and fifty years in use.

-- Art Shaw, woodworker, thinker, tool collector & tinkerer.

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117204 posts in 3699 days

#1 posted 01-08-2012 04:56 AM

How sweet it is a fine gift for your darling granddaughter

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2619 days

#2 posted 01-08-2012 05:26 AM

150 years is a good age for a chair such as this. Very nice work. Your fourth picture was also very evocative.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View CanalboatJim's profile


200 posts in 3627 days

#3 posted 01-08-2012 11:48 PM

What a lovely chair. There is no better way to spend time in the shop than to make presents for grandchildren. You can truly be proud of your work.

-- Jim Westbrooks

View RichardMu's profile


259 posts in 3053 days

#4 posted 01-31-2012 01:06 AM

A beutiful chair. I’m sure it will be charished for a long time to come.

-- You will never build it unless you try. The second one always turns out better.

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