Video Review by Robert Bradley
Title: Make a Chair From a Tree
Star: John Alexander
Published by: Greenwoodworking
1406 Eight Street
Baltimore MD, 21230
This is a low-key, technique-rich video describing the proper
sequence and use of hand tools to make a post and rung chair
from green wood. The author and artisan, John Alexander, obviously
wants to share his experience and unique tools and jigs with
those of us who would like to make such chairs. No power tools
The video starts in the woods picking out a proper white oak
tree. The felling of the tree is a quick presentation but then
the splitting of the chair parts is a slow, methodical and fully
narrated and demonstrated process. The riving of the splits and
the drawknifing of the posts and rungs is done in a traditional
manner with traditional tools. He also uses a homemade kiln to
dry the chair rungs and a steaming box to bend the back posts.
His marking of the post ends on the ray lines of the wood is
a unique contribution to green woodworkers. This method of orienting
the chair parts makes a lot of sense and takes advantage of the
properties of the wood.
Mortising the posts is accomplished by
wood chisel or by hand drill with homemade jigs to guide the
tools. Using Shaker tape, a seat is woven into the fully assembled
chair to provide a chair 'good for several generations'.
This is an outstanding video with an
enjoyable presentation by John Alexander. While he is the narrator
and demonstator, he also manages to make the chair the subject
of attention. Having watched the video three times already, I
look forward to the next rainy afternoon when I can sit down
again and watch a skilled craftsman transform an oak log into
a beautiful chair.
Editor's Note: You can get more details about this
video from the author's website.