Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sawyer Fan Back II

Well, here is the finished "Dave Sawyer" fan back windsor chair ready for milk paint, otherwise called "in the white". I really like the classic look. The chair is very light and sits you up to a table. Very comfortable.

For those of you who are ambitious woodworkers wanting to try a chair I have included
somewhat of a road map below. The first figure is the post turning which can be difficult due to it's size and length and possible chatter. I like to use green maple that has been drying down to about 15% moisture content. If you turn this post dead green it will "egg" shape when dry and possibly warp to the point where it is noticeable throwing the chair out of alignment. Next is the comb which I did not give the bending radius but if anyone needs this I can post later. This I make from green white oak split from the log. I completely carve then steam bend. After drying in the kiln I scrape and clean the details. (don't sand). The posts will enter the comb 11/16" from the ends of the bottom of the comb. There is lots of shaping I cannot show here.
The final figure and probably most needed is the seat pattern and sight lines. If you understand the sight lines this should be clear. These drawings will work best if you have made a chair before. The seat has elaborate carving. The grain runs front to back. I usually drill all holes then carve the seat which erases all the sight lines. The seat blank usually hand planes out to 1 7/8 " thick.

The chair looks best with the baluster turning for the legs. I usually make the seat height 18" in the front dropping an inch to 17" in the rear. The 7 spindles are 21" rough length with 1/2" tenon in the seat(dry) and 3/8" tenon in the comb(dry). I know this is only the tip of the iceburg but if you have done windsors before then you can do this. Good luck, now go make Dave proud!


  1. Greg,

    Great chair. Thanks for the patterns. Can you show your bending jig for the head rail sometime. I have wondered how these are done.


  2. Hi Josh,

    I'll post a picture of the comb on the jig and the pattern for the jig soon. You'll have fun making this chair.


  3. Nice chairs! I noticed that the post turning pic is not a clickable link. Any chance you could post the major and minor diameters? Thanks!