John Gaines Side Chair

CM Updated

I recently made a Charles II gate leg table and was looking to pair it with four chairs in the same Baroque style. I decided on a John Gaines III side chair with the drawing coming from Norman Vandal’s Queen Anne Furniture, pages 52 - 63.

I used hard maple and cherry for the chairs.  One photo (#4) shows a chair dry assembled.  The different woods are apparent. 

After the initial cut outs with power tools, all parts were hand planed and the mortice and tendons were hand cut. The tendons on the more stressed joints were draw-bored pined. The finish is a brown mahogany aniline dye, 2 coats of barn red milk paint, 2 coats of lamp black milk paint, followed by rubbing out the finish to simulate a slight amount of wear, followed by 3 coats of thinned Minwax Antique Oil Finish followed by matting the finish with 0000 steel wool and black wax.

A few points I would add to Vandal’s instructions are:

  • I used blocks for the Spanish feet to save wood, matching the grain pattern of the blocks to the leg.
  • It’s not apparent from the drawing that the center toe is clove-d.  It looks much better with the grove cut down the ridge of the toe since Gaines designed a wider foot than was usual for this style of foot.
  • In band sawing the foot, it’s easy to mess up the direction of the foot during the cuts if you don’t have the orientation clearly marked.
  • The corner blocks of the slip seat are diamond shaped which makes the rush weaving a little more challenging.
Height: 41 inches
Width: 18 3/4
Depth: 12 13/16

Wood: hard maple and cherry

Finish: brown mahogany aniline dye, barn red & lamp black milk paint, Minwax Antique Oil Finish, black wax.