My two week vacation

 I have two weeks off between the October 18 sack back and the November 8 Boston Fan Back. I am spending it doing the thing (the woodworking thing) I love most.  I am building the prototype for the March 28 Day Bed class, and I am building something that has never been done before.  The Day Bed existed as a form, but not as a Windsor.  So, this is a fantasy chair – pure Mike Dunbar. Because I am all by myself I am relaxed and under no stress. I do a lot of talking to myself. I draw lots of details in the air with my finger and hands. I make sketches on the dry erase board. I run up stairs to the showroom to measure details on other chairs that might relate.

Before I began I had made a rough sketch of the day bed. While Lyndon Gallagher and Mike Borgeest (both Dukes of Windsor) during the October 4 sack back class, they saw the sketch (and teased me mercilessly about its crudity) but gave me ideas that resulted in major changes to my original idea. While the piece retains its original function – to sit the sitter lengthwise like in a Lazy Boy — the piece is now more of a Recamier, a type of Grecian couch, expressed as a mid-18th century Windsor.

Each step in designing a new form requires I workout as many problems in my head as possible before picking up any tools. I’ve even reversed some standard chairmaking processes.  For example, I have legged up the piece dry, but have not yet shaped the seat. I will do that I after I have worked out all the details in the very complicated and asymmetrical arm. I am having a great time. The guys in the November 8 class will see the piece close to completion. If everything goes as planned, I will reveal it in the November eNewsletter. If not, definitely in December.

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 During the October 18 class Paul Porazinski made an interesting discovery. Everyone who has studied here is familiar with the No Name Stick. The device determines the locations and sightlines for spindle holes in the sack back arm rail.) It was never named because the staff developed it and the Hall of Fame bylaws prohibit us from being inducted.  With no induction, I did not get to exercise my privilege of naming the innovation. 

Paul measured the distance between the focus point for the long spindle sight lines and the distance between the loci for the short spindles. Their ration is 1/100th of an inch off from the Golden Mean. I do not know what this means.  It will probably take a while to figure that out, and it will take many minds. That means its significance will probably be revealed by a student in a future class who has a flash of insight.

I was please by this discovery, but not surprised. All sorts of similar relationships are part of Windsor design. I first became aware of them when a student revealed to me that some Windsors are designed using perspective; in other words the major planes and parts align with a vanishing point behind the chair. Since then, I have found a lot more relationships that tell me there is still a lot about Windsors that I do not know. The important point is that while I am ignorant of a lot, I know it is there and I use it intuitively to get chairs right. If you cruise chairmaker web sights you realize that lots of guys are clueless about these design elements that we talk about in class all the time.

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