Project Reading Chair: Danish Cord

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After many hours at the bench I am delighted to have nearly finished the reading chair. It is quite an incredible experience seeing something you have dreamt up materialise into a functional form.

Chairs are notoriously difficult beasts to get right, if it's not the proportion it might be the geometry, if not the geometry it might be the material - there is so much that can go wrong.

Before embarking on this challenge I kept hearing the comment "you really need to make a chair to make a chair" I never really got it until now. As the reading chair nears completion I am able to appreciate the consequences of my design decisions, the compromises made at the bench to make parts work together and the technical challenges of getting the right quality of finish.

Commercial considerations also need to be made, the choice of hand cut veneer which was laminated and pressed for the rear 'ladder back' of the chair took five days to get right, yes five solid days!. Sure, I am delighted with the end product but I would certainly change a few things if I were to start again, who know's it may end up being part of the core product range in the future. Anyway, let's save this retrospective analysis for a later post, yes the one with glossy pics of the chair in situ...and a coffee and cake road test under its belt. 

Before the finale I wanted to share with you a few images of the Danish Cord process. This was pioneered by the Danish School of makers and featured heavily in the designs and work of the great Hans Wegner. Many of Wegner's pieces have become design classics and Danish cord is still used today as a neat way of creating a seat within a chair. 

The essence of the practice is very simple, three cord lengths are used to weave around the frame of the chair to create a robust elegant seat. The cord is made from wrapped paper and fixed to the frame with little 'L' shaped nails, it is natural and organic and a wonderful challenge for the novice. So, without further ado here are some images: 

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The chair frame, glued up and ready for some oil and the cord. 

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Start by wrapping cord around the front rail and taking a looped pair to the back of the chair where it is fastened underneath by hooking over a spacial 'L' shaped nail.

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Here's a clearing image of the front to back section which is now complete. 

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Next weave across the frame taking the cord over and under the front to rear weaves, alternate weaves give a great pattern.

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The underside of the chair showing the weave pattern and nail arrangement, my fingers are shot and blistered tonight! 

I hope this was interesting, next post I will share some nice glossy pics of the chair at home, I hope I won't be too nervous to sit in it.