My First Chair

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Strong, attractive, and with no compound angle joinery, this piece is the perfect introduction to chair building

Making a good chair involves balancing a mix of contradictions: strength vs. weight, ease of construction vs. comfort, and aesthetics vs. utility. This chair is a great introduction to the craft because it achieves these positive design goals without succumbing to any negative consequences—in a project that isn’t very difficult to build. While there are some non-90° angles to contend with to ensure comfort, there are no compound angles to worry about. The joinery is mortise-and-tenon throughout for strength, and the woven seat keeps the weight down. The tapered legs give the chair a certain elegance without compromising its strength.
Before we get started on this project, it’s important to note that you’ll need a jig that will cut mortises in the ends of workpieces for loose-tenon joinery. If you don’t already have one, you’ll find plans for my mortising jig on the magazine website, as an onlineEXTRA. The other jigs and techniques shown on the pages ahead will be especially useful if you want to build a set of these chairs.

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