‘A chair for the people’
Recently designed by Curtis Buchanan – a celebrated American master craftsman – the Democratic Chair is so much more than the simple chair you may see at first glance. For those besotted by the baluster turnings and carved volutes of traditional Windsor Chairs, your first impression of the Democratic Chair may be that it is somewhat understated if not naïve in style. How wrong one can be!
The story behind this chair is one of accessibility and legacy. Curtis openly states that this is not a ‘trophy chair’ but rather it is an opportunity for as many people as possible to experience the pleasure and fulfilment that comes with hand tool woodworking and chair making. This is achieved primarily through the limited number of simple, affordable and available tools required for its construction. If you choose to rive out green timber into blanks there is no requirement to use a lathe. If you don’t have a steamer set up you can boil the crest. Much of the seat can be done with a drawknife…the list goes on.
The chair is by no means an easier chair to make than others and the added feature of the faceted legs, posts, spindles and crest provide an opportunity to develop the maker’s drawknife skills like no other chair does.
Curtis also notes that this is a chair for young people and in terms of legacy to carry the craft into the future, the accessibility aspect of this chair maximises this potential. The Democratic Chair provides for more people to gain an insight into the beautiful world of chairmaking without the need for specialised and often expensive tools. In doing so the craft will be preserved into the future.
Apart from the glorious backstory and as always from Curtis, it is a beautifully proportioned chair and extremely comfortable too.
Minimum five day class: Typically 9am – 4pm.
Skill level required: Beginner +
Age recommendation: 16 years +
Cost: $1650 Side Chair, $1800 Arm Chair