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Richard Jones Furniture

Reproduction Dining Chairs

cabriole formA client asked me to make a set of  six chairs to closely match a pair they owned. These two chairs were Edwardian items based loosely on something approximately Queen Anne in style with late Victorian overtones. They were in a poor state for they were assembled with dowels and just about every joint was loose and wobbly, particularly the side rail to rear leg joint, and the crown rail had fallen off one. The cabriole legs were 'bandy' giving the impression the chairs were about to collapse down like a concertina: see the left hand example in the attached sketch.

I was given licence to 'improve' on the originals and the client's wife was keen on sewing and making tapestries. She made the upholstery for the drop in seat frame and the clients employed an upholsterer to upholster the seat in a traditional manner.

I made changes to the cabriole leg by beefing it up and ensuring a slender column of wood ran the whole length of the leg: see the right hand leg form in the sketch to the right. Secondly I replaced all the dowel joints with the substantially sturdier mortice and tenon joint throughout to increase the strength of the chair, particularly at the vulnerable side rail to back leg intersection.

The twist to the tail was that I decided to make six chairs for the client and four for myself because I rather liked the design, which made ten. The design suited an old mahogany dining table I owned around which sat a motley collection of sad looking mis-matched chairs. The clients visited my workshop to see the job in progress and realised there were far more parts than required for their set. I explained why and they immediately said they would like to buy all ten. What was a young furniture designer and maker to do? The answer was I took the money, sold ten; then I made another four chairs for myself with the extra profit-- fourteen in total. I was pretty fed up of the repetitious and rather boring work required to make so many identical parts, but I did and do even now enjoy the end result.

Honduras mahogany, boxwood and beech seat frame. Shellac and waxed.

H 990 mm X W 470 mm X D 535 mm (H 39" X W 18-1/2" X D 21")


chair

chair-side

chair-crown

chair-string

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2016 Richard Jones