Redo old chair


Active member
I am redoing a chair I made 44 years ago for my Mom which I now have. It needed some improvements so I proceeded to make the seat thickness narrower by 1/2" and made the front rail  round instead of having a flat part. The first picture is before I did anything, the second and third are in process.


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Dave, that's quite the chair. Will be made even better by adding a curved front rail.  Can you explain how/why you've decided to thin the seat (not sure I see an over-thickness in the "before" photo)?

Mark Maleski
After I made this chair, it appeared to me most Philadelphia Queen Anne chairs had thinner rails. I made another chair like it and made the rails thinner and it looked right. So now that I have the chair back I am fixing that and making new legs as well.
Wow, that must have really been eating at you for the past 44 years. ;) Few people would have found fault with your original version.
I'm curious as to how you were able to disassemble the chair so cleanly. Please keep us updated.

I made new legs because the original legs had an awkward curve. I tried to duplicate the shape of the cabriole leg in  Albert Sack's book "The New Fine Points of Furniture" page 32 in which he describes the leg as approaching perfection.


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Here is the chair with a new front and new front legs. The shell on the crest rail and the large volute on the left were recarved in spots to look a little better.


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Very well done!

I compared before and after side-by-side and have to say the after really looks great!  How did you match the finish?
I stripped the whole chair. The legs I got a little too dark so I stripped them again and sanded to lighten them up a bit.
This chair is one of a pair. The first one I made the first year or so I started building furniture. That chair, which is the one I just finished redoing, is on the left. The second chair, the one on the right, was made about 5 or 6 years later when my designing and building/carving skills were better. The other pic is my shop cat. We have a dog as well that spends time in the shop also but the cat will jump on my back while I am working. I guess I don't move fast enough to avoid the sneak attack. When she first started doing it, it felt like someone was taping me on the shoulder. My immediate reaction was, "Oh someone is here!" She keeps the mice out so


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Cal, that is good news. At this time Handworks 2020 is scheduled for Labor Day weekend in Amanda Colonies. How about having a chapter function at our booth and enjoy a very good show?
Best Regards
Bob Compton


I plan to be there, it will be good to catch up.  And great idea - I'll get the word out to the members and other contacts!  CH