Many of you said you liked my prior posts on manly machines used in the manufacture of furniture, so I thought you might like to see more photos of the handmade side as well. There are so many steps and processes that all have to come together perfectly to make this quality of furniture. In this post I will talk about making carved chairs. Chairs are probably the most difficult product to design and manufacture so certainly take the most detailed time and attention in the process.
I have an intense passion for making furniture and especially Swedish formal pieces. There is pure joy in bringing back to life a chair that a master craftsman made in the 1700's whose design cannot be improved upon. Now more people can enjoy owning such exquisite works and passing them down to more generations.
To get the end result of these beautiful Swedish Rococo chairs, you start, of course, with green lumber.
Having arrived from the mill, these boards are put into a kiln and dried for about 30 days.
This lumber is ready to be made into beautiful furniture pieces.
Here these boards have been glued together and are being hand planed for that extra special touch. He can tell by the feel if it is just right.
This duplicating carver machine will create a rough shape of the furniture part by eliminating all the extra wood that is not needed. The hand carvers will then use their skill and talent to put the details in.
Here this highly skilled man is taking the rough carved piece from the machine and adding all the minute details of the pattern. He has to possess a lot of skill to know what knife to select, how hard to push down on the knife and at what angle.
This is exactly what sets Swede Collection furniture apart from the others --attention to detail in the desire to make each piece lovingly the best.
The first hours of the morning are spent by the carvers making sure their tools are perfectly sharp.
Round pieces are made on a lathe where the wood spins at high speed while a knife is held up to it to cut excess wood away. The highly skilled person doing this has to have expert coordination of his eye and touch as a slip of the knife, using the wrong knife, or putting it in the wrong place ruins it. These people are perfectionists.
Here this expert carver is doing all the hand carving on the top rail of the Rococo chair. There is no reason these Swedish chairs could not still be alive and well and loved 400 years from now. We are creating lasting inheritable furniture in classic designs that never go out of style.
Here is what the chair top rail is looking like at this stage. A little more work still needs to be done.
This is bench-made quality furniture. No detail can be missed. Quality of workmanship is the top priority. Every part of this chair is in perfect proportion. There are only a couple places where there is a straight line as nearly every part is curved - concave and convex.
This lady is sanding a cabinet door. Due to all the small spaces and details, the chairs will all be sanded by hand - each and every curve.
A few of the samples are waiting the paint finish process. In addition to the top rail carving, you can see here the detailed hand carving on the legs, epaulette knees, feet and seat rail. Even the stretcher is curved. There is a carved bird's eye on each hand grip at the ends of the arms. The splat back is curved to fit comfortably when you rest your back.
I keep saying I am the luckiest woman in the industry to have such great talent working for me. My "paint guy" is exceptional in developing fabulous finishes for each design. Here he has developed a finish to look just like the original 1790's antique Rococo chair. A lot of hand work is also done on applying the finish to get it just perfect. Every craftsman involved in making Swede furniture is the best in their own specialty. I am so grateful for what they do and couldn't be prouder of them.
This Swedish Gustavian chair is having some adjustments made to the back so it has been taken apart.
I'm a HAPPY, HAPPY lady!
Want lasting beauty in your home or your design project? A few of these chairs in the pipeline to be completed the first part of September have not been spoken for. Since these are individually made, quantities are limited. Send me an email for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colleen [Summer] Stratton Martin