WHEN A MUSICIAN friend asked me to design and make a chair for her own personal use, and to incorporate into its design a representation of her musical lifestyle, my first thought was how to come up with a practical chair, and yet still make it special to herself.

After many designs and cardboard models, I arrived at what I thought could be the solution - a chair which fulfilled all the necessary requirements of stability, rigidity, and comfort, and yet hinted at musicality (see fig J).

I envisaged these facets being expressed in the turned components, these to suggest woodwind instruments. My friend plays flute and recorder, and I even thought of drilling holes in the rails to represent finger holes; however, not wishing to go over the top, I resisted this temptation - for the time being anyway.

Initially I had thought of using rosewood (Dalbergia sp) or blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) for the chair as many woodwind instruments are made from these two materials, but as the price of these timbers would have greatly increased the cost of the chair's construction, I decided ash (Fraxinus sp) or oak (Quercus robur) would be an acceptable second choice, both being readily available from timber suppliers.

In the end, I settled for ash, not only for its reasonable price but also because of its workability and good laminating possibilities.

Laminated legs

Start with what is by far the lengthiest part of the project -making the laminated curved legs. A curve with a radius of 550mm (22in) is required on the former, which is made from several pieces of 15mm chipboard glued together to accept the width and length of the laminates.

First finish one piece to the exact required shape, for use as a template. The other pieces are then cut out on the bandsaw, and all are glued together, the sawn pieces being left slightly proud of the template. Use a spindle moulder or hand router to finish the former to the exact curve.

Drill the former at intervals to accept the cramps, at least 50mm (2in) in from the curved edge and approximately 120mm (4%in) apart, see fig 2. Drilling them too close together makes tightening of the cramps difficult, while too wide a spacing does not give adequate distribution of pressure.

has recently completed his final year in furniture-making and design at Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology under Hugh Scrlven. He is now taking commissions

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