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Forum topic by treesner posted 10-10-2016 04:34 AM 532 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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treesner

166 posts in 424 days


10-10-2016 04:34 AM

Hey guys I’m from Santa Cruz, CA and I recently took a class with greg pennington out in Tennessee and have been trying to figure out what species of wood I could use. The common woods used for the chair tend to be
-white oak (fast growing) for arm/spindles
-pine (slow growing) for seat
-hard maple for legs.

We don’t have white oak but we do have some different oak species like tan oak, costal live oak and valley oak. To my understanding the white oak is used specifically for the type of sap/tannins in that form of oak. Any thoughts on

We’ve got some old grown pine that I could use for the seat (or maybe redwood?)

I’ve only found soft maple in the woods around here, occasionally hard maple in front of someones house, not sure what would be a good substitute. If madrone was easier to dry without checking.. maybe bay laurel?


3 replies so far

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jdh122

879 posts in 2277 days


#1 posted 10-10-2016 05:57 AM

Generally American windsor makers will use white oak, red oak, ash and hickory interchangeably for the arms and spindles. I don’t think the sap or tannins are an issue – you need strong wood that is easy to split, works well with a drawknife and steam-bends well, hence the use of these ring-porous woods. But other woods can work too, at least for designs that don’t have extreme bends in them. You may find them a bit trickier to work with the froe and drawknife, but that’s it. Yellow birch is a great wood for spindles and arms without sharp bends. I don’t know the species you have out west, but live oak is supposed to be very hard and dense, may not work well with a drawknife, tan oak is supposed to be quite similar to genuine oaks, albeit less stable.
On the other hand, if you want to make a continuous-arm chair, you may be out of luck unless you can get one of the white or red oak, ash or hickory.
While sugar maple will give slightly crisper turnings and stand up a bit better, red maple would be OK. River birch would be OK too.
Most people make the seats out of dry lumber rather than green logs, so I’d suggest you just buy yourself a plank of white pine. Some people use poplar, and English windsor makers really like elm.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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treesner

166 posts in 424 days


#2 posted 10-10-2016 06:50 PM



Generally American windsor makers will use white oak, red oak, ash and hickory interchangeably for the arms and spindles. I don t think the sap or tannins are an issue – you need strong wood that is easy to split, works well with a drawknife and steam-bends well, hence the use of these ring-porous woods. But other woods can work too, at least for designs that don t have extreme bends in them. You may find them a bit trickier to work with the froe and drawknife, but that s it. Yellow birch is a great wood for spindles and arms without sharp bends. I don t know the species you have out west, but live oak is supposed to be very hard and dense, may not work well with a drawknife, tan oak is supposed to be quite similar to genuine oaks, albeit less stable.
On the other hand, if you want to make a continuous-arm chair, you may be out of luck unless you can get one of the white or red oak, ash or hickory.
While sugar maple will give slightly crisper turnings and stand up a bit better, red maple would be OK. River birch would be OK too.
Most people make the seats out of dry lumber rather than green logs, so I d suggest you just buy yourself a plank of white pine. Some people use poplar, and English windsor makers really like elm.

- jdh122

I found this good resource of the different native california hardwoods
http://www.whitethornconstruction.com/hardwoods/hardwood/table.htm

appears there is a oregon white oak.

One of the only western windsor chair makers I could find online says he uses:
“Oregon White Oak, Oregon Ash, and Oregon Maple are used
to complement hand shaped seats made from Ponderosa Pine
or California Sugar Pine. ”
http://webpages.charter.net/sagalandarts/windsorchairs/about_us.html

And this is a list of california oaks and non oaks I found on
http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/rb148/RB148a.pdf

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DirtyMike

448 posts in 361 days


#3 posted 10-10-2016 06:52 PM

white oak grows faster than pine?

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