Getting started making fancy chairs

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Forum topic by Rev. Jim Paulson posted 01-02-2010 06:45 PM 1204 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rev. Jim Paulson

120 posts in 3514 days

01-02-2010 06:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: making period furniture furniture reproductions chippendale chairs queen anne chairs 18th century furniture question

Hi all,

I am amazed at the beauty of Chippendale, federal and what I call “fancy” chairs. I like the carved parts and the lightness of the design. I purchased a few books on making period “fancy” chairs and I wanted to ask my LJ friends how they got started making them.

If you’ve seen my website, you know I’ve tackled quite a range of projects over the years. But my interest in making period pieces like queen anne chairs is getting stronger by the day. I’ve been looking for a chair at antique stores so I could buy one and copy it. No luck so far. They must be in high demand needless to say.

The book that got me more interested was Ron Clarkson’s “Making Classic Chairs,” but I’m leaning toward some coaching rather than trying it on my own. Any recommendations? Eventually, I might opt for an intensive week long course, but that might have to wait.



4 replies so far

View CharlesNeil's profile


2469 posts in 4108 days

#1 posted 01-03-2010 12:05 AM

Well Rev, i have done a bunch of them there “fancy ” chairs , Queen Anne , Chippendale, Windsor, so tell ya what , you show me what ya got in mind and if i can help I will , my first advise is dont get in a rush , and second buy good wood , either post here , or email me , got a few patterns as well

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Rev. Jim Paulson

120 posts in 3514 days

#2 posted 01-03-2010 01:35 AM

Thanks Charles. I’m actually leaning on doing a hipplewhite chair that I saw in Mike Dunbar’s book entitled “Federal Furniture”. I’d be interested if you have ideas/designs for hipplewhite chairs. Eventually, as a woodcarver I hope to learn how to make a cabriole and a claw and ball foot. But for now it seems that a hipplewhite chair with square legs and the carving on the back and crest would be plenty to tackle.

I also keep hearing that mahogany is the wood of choice for these reproductions. Any advice on a good sources for mahogany? Would walnut be a suitable alternative?

Again, I really appreciate your interest and helpfulness.


View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3428 days

#3 posted 01-03-2010 01:48 AM

Sam Maloof was know for his chair building, I would look for books that he has writen. Also maybe charles neil,
might have something on video.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

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Rev. Jim Paulson

120 posts in 3514 days

#4 posted 01-03-2010 04:28 AM

Heh Bob. I looked over Charles Neil’s website. Pretty awesome. Sam’s work is impressive too.

Take care,


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