Now onto a pair of Sack Back Windsor chairs. Traditional hand made North American Windsor chairs are made from three species of wood: one that steam bends well (often red oak or ash), one that turns well and is strong for the legs (sugar maple), and one that carves easily for the seats (clear white pine). As such, they were always painted.
Conversely, mass produced chairs are made from a single species, are bulkier and less refined to accommodate the needs of machining and less discriminant wood selection, and are often stained. This time I have been asked to make a chair that can be stained, but using traditional methods to produce a chair that is both robust but delicate.
I have turned to locally harvested ash. It bends well, is fairly hard, and I can carve out the seat using a power carving tool. I have carved ash seats using traditional gouges and it is more than a work out!