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Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 3/27/98

A Book Review: by Mike Bridges

Title: The Art of Chair-making
Kerry Pierce
Published by Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016

Price: $19.95 (Can. $27.95)

As I picked up 'The Art of Chair-making' by Kerry Pierce and started flipping through it as I always do with a new book, my thoughts were "here we go again". It was 75 pages to the first chair project and I figured it was another book full of wasted pages on woodworking 101.

Knowing I had to read this book anyhow, I started in and soon found out it is actually a very good book on post and rung chair-making. It is a compromise but every page of the book gives valuable information on how to build a post and rung chair. There are a few pages on turning, a few on mortising, a few on seat weaving, etc. You get the idea. Not room for enough info on any of these subjects to cover them real well but enough to get you started making chairs if that is your desire. The author also covers some special jigs for chair-making that simplifies the process of drilling and alignment.

In the project section, Mr.Pierce gives measured drawings and a parts list for several stools, benches and chairs. I believe this information along with what is offered in the front section of the book would allow anyone with basic woodworking skills to build a post and rung chair.You won't build a Windsor or Queen Anne from this book but it does a good job of explaining the basics of post and rung construction for those who are interested.

I did have one real problem with the book. In the project section there are a few of the nicer chairs with bent back legs. While mentioning these bent legs several times in the book, Mr.Pierce gives no help on making them that I could find. There is no information on where to bend or to what degree. Having made several of these chairs myself I can say this information is critical for the novice as well as someone making these chairs for the first time.

All in all it's a good book that will allow the novice to get started building chairs.

Mike Bridges

Editor's note: Sterling has graciously provided many new books for review to our members. If you would like to see what other new books they're offering to woodworker's, please visit their website.

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