I’ve just finished assembling the frame for the Jennie Alexander side chair. I altered the rungs slightly, to give this chair the same seat size as my other dining chairs and put in just 4 rungs with different postitions. I wanted to lighten the look of the chair and give it some ‘lift’ so it appears more free. I’m confident that the structure, based on oval tenons and interlocking joints in the seat, is still strong enough for everyday use and I’m very happy with the final look.
The instuctions I followed from Drew Langsner’s ‘Chairmaker’s Workshop’ take the legs through a shaving process from square to octagonal and then round but I decided to stop at the octagonal shape to give the chair a contemporary feel, a feature I’d really liked on the David Drew oak and willow chairs from Castle Drogo. The slats were steamed and dried before fitting rather than springing them in as Drew suggests since that’s the method I’m used to and avoids the need to plug the gaps which result from the slats drying and shrinking in their mortices, the top slat is fixed with shaved oak pins which give a nice detail feature.
Overall I am very pleased with this chair, I’ve only been able to sit on it with an improvised seat but the design of the back posts gives excellent support and comfort, as you’d expect from a chair which has such excellent heritage. I’m still considering what to seat the chair with but will post more photos when it’s complete.