Chairmaking & Design
by Jeff Miller

200 x 255mm

Published by Linden Publishing, Fresno, CA, USA


ISBN 0-85442-155-6

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Dowel Chair

Right-Angle Chair

Slat Back Chair

Neoclassical Chair




As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 138

There's no question but that chair making is a test of anyone's expertise and it is not uncommon to find woodworkers who have spent 10, 20 or even 30 or more years in the craft, yet have never made a chair.

Chairmaking & Design might be viewed as simply a guide to the making of specific chairs, but it is the author's obvious intention that it should be more than that.

True, Jeff Miller describes in comprehensive detail the making of seven chairs, all with dimensioned drawings, illustrations and photos. But each chair is presented as a step along the way to exploring chair design so that by the end of the book, the reader who has studied it carefully and made at least prototypes of several chairs, should have the wherewithall to embark upon even more ambitious projects.

The seven chairs are preceded by a chapter on design and another which is essentially an extensive review of chair making practice. There is also a 15 page gallery of the work of contemporary chair makers.

The first project is a Dowel Chair made with two side frames supporting a chair seat and back made entirely of dowels. The second is a minimalist Right Angle Chair and the third a Child's Ladder-Back Chair. Then there is a Slat-back Chair, a Neo-Classical Chair with curved horizontal back slat and rail - and finally, a Cafe Chair.

The last chapter is devoted to Armchairs.

Along the way, while describing the construction of the chairs, the author covers many interesting and relevant topics. These include, for example, the shrinking of dowel ends in heated sand so that they will swell to fix permanently in their dowel holes, the cutting of twin mortise and tenon joints and the weaving of a webbed seat.

Given the scope of the book and its detailed treatment of the subject, it is not surprising that this is its second edition, having first been published in 1997.

Photos: Black & White

Units of Measurement: Imperial



Basics of Chair Design

A Gallery of Chairs

Chairmaking Basics

Dowel Chair

Right-Angle Chair

Child's Ladderback Chair

Slat-Back Chair

Neoclassical Chair

Cafe Chair

Captain's Chair


Thoughts on Developing New Chair Designs

An Oil and Wax Finish


Cafe Chair

Captains Chair