Chairs : Chair Construction, Design, & Styles

The parts of a chair, such as our dining chairs are the legs, the seat frame, the back, and the arms. See picture.

Parts of the Chair

The seat frame, and in most instances all the rails are dowelled to the legs and back posts. The seat frame is stiffened by corner blocks screwed securely to the inner side. If these blocks are wide and well fastened they add very materially to the strength of the chair. The upholstery blocks mentioned in chair upholstery also stiffen the framing. The conditions given the designer usually determine the use of the chair and how much of it is to be upholstered. With this information given, he is free to make the rest as he likes, and he decides upon the form and proportion of the chair as a whole without respect to detail. This may be studied in plan and elevation at a convenient scale, or perhaps, in perspective, if the idea is sufficiently clear in the mind to do so. It is, however, only by means of the projection drawings that the true forms of the different parts may be known, and even though the sketch is made at once without their aid a knowledge of what they are like is necessary. Chairs, when drawn in side elevation, assume one of the five elementary forms shown in the diagram, where attention is called to the relation of the supporting members to a vertical line. These outlines are drawn from actual examples, and are at the same scale for purpoises of comparison.


The front elevation of chairs will appear like one of the three types shown on this plate. The one on the right, if drawn in side elevation, would have a straight back and straight legs; the one on the left would have the side elevation like one of the first three illustrated; the one in the middle would appear in side elevation much the same as it does in the front, ie., all legs and the back inclined. It is a drawing of a Windsor chair, with a solid wood seat, sometimes called the saddle seat because of its shape. The legs and back posts are fastened in this seat by inserting the full size of the turning in holes bored for them, and the seat frame is omitted; but the legs are tied together by stretchers.

The other sections of our overview of chairs, seats, and sofas, how to make them, and their general construction and styles attributes, are:

Furniture »

Woodworking Plans »

Furniture Designing »


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