Splitting Ash for Ladderback
Cleft billet to shaped rail
Draw knifing seat rail
pole lathing tenon
Rungs
Steam bending
ladder back components
Checking the frame
Weaving Willow seat at Malcom Seal's
My Ladderback willow weaving

Ladderback post and rung chair in Ash, with willow seat

My first chair was made with the guidance of Guy Mallinson, to set plans. Timber was felled at Forde Abbey, 2 miles away from Guy’s woodland workshop. All parts were shaped using only a draw knife, spoke shaves, and the pole lathe. The back legs and back slats were steam bent to shape. The chair was assembled with shrink fitting mortise and tenon joints. This makes use of the fact that timber shrinks as it dries. The rungs and rails of the chair were shaped first and allowed to dry thoroughly. They were then fitted into the still ‘green’ leg posts. These mortises and tenon joints were cut to make the most of the shrinkage effect, making for incredibly strong and glue-free wood joints. For me, this is the brilliance of making chairs using green timber.

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