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Philadelphia Side Chair

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Philadelphia Side Chair
Philadelphia Side Chair
Philadelphia Side Chair

Makers Challenge

Maraldo, Nick
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Chippendale style, Philadelphia Side Chair. Black Walnut.

This piece was the last piece I was working on at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts with Phil Lowe. I was unable to complete it, along with its twin (It was intended to be a pair) due to the sudden closing of the school. It was very difficult to get them on the bench again as it was a constant reminder of the loss of the school, and more so, losing Phil. There was a lot of "What would Phil do" in the back of my mind while finishing it.

The design is inspired from many places. I wanted to do a side chair "With all the fixin's" as I described it during the design phase. I didn't want to do a direct copy of an existing chair, but rather take the elements and make them my own. As was done in Chippendales time, I pulled several elements from several different chairs. The splat and crest rail are mainly from a New York chair, but I made several changes to make it my own. Most notably the volutes in the center of the splat and the shell in the center of the crest rail. The shells on the knees were inspired by a Philadelphia chair that I found but the shells were upside down (in my opinion) and I decided to put them right way up. The ball and claw feet are somewhat in the Boston style, but very much a Phil Lowe design overall. This was a very challenging piece but I am very happy with how it turned out, even using the unique splat as my logo.

The chair was drawn, by hand, full scale. All traditional mortise and tenon including a through wedged tenon for the seatrail often found in Philadelphia chairs. All joinery is pegged for strength as well.