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Thread: Hans Wegner "The Chair"

  1. #1
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    Hans Wegner "The Chair"

    My next project is to build one, possibly two, chairs. I am inspired by "The Chair" by Hans Wegner. It is a classic Danish design, no doubt familiar to many of you.


    The version I am interested in is the original dovetailed design, with a woven seat (which I plan to do). The only aspect of this I do not like is the binding at the top rail (which was done to hide the dovetailing, and then omitted on later versions).





    Here is the solid seat version without the binding ...





    Here is the dovetailed rail ...





    What I am after are dimensions, especially the thicknesses and widths of the rails, legs and arms. I have dimensions of the heights and width.





    This is a machine-made chair, but I will build it with hand tools.


    I do like the clean lines of Scandinavian designs. This is one of The Wegner chairs that appeals. Please do post any designs that you like.


    Regards from Perth


    Derek

  2. #2
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    Cool chair and interesting joinery. I look forward to seeing how you pull it off.
    Woodworking is terrific for keeping in shape, but it's also a deadly serious killing system...

  3. #3
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    Those sure are pretty chairs. That finger/scarf joint strikes me as something which would be quick and easy if one used a great big shaper, which may be how the originals were made. But it might be a bit of a pain in a small shop. Perhaps another way to form the arms+back would be to bricklay it. The corner joinery would be much simpler to do -- almost trivial. (Of course, shaping the arms+back remains extremely challenging. There's no way around that!)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    (snipped for clarity) My next project is to build one, possibly two, chairs. I am inspired by "The Chair" by Hans Wegner. It is a classic Danish design, no doubt familiar to many of you…
    What I am after are dimensions, especially the thicknesses and widths of the rails, legs and arms. I have dimensions of the heights and width…

    This is a machine-made chair, but I will build it with hand tools…

    Derek
    Hi Derek,
    I don't have any dimensions,but you should check out Caleb James' blog. He makes these, does a lot of hand work, and does a lot of other cool stuff (windsors, moulding planes, etc.). Might be worth an email to see if he'll share any numbers with you.

  5. #5
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    Derek, I've got these chairs and can make some measurements for you shortly. They are really awesome chairs, and I look forward to seeing you build one.

  6. #6
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    PP Moebler has a video online showing some of the unique tooling still in use to make these under the Wegner name.

    While I understand the necessities of machine tooling to generate profit in making furniture,
    it's disappointing to see so much of the current production effectively a programming exercise.

    What species do you plan to use? There are some very short stub mortises and tight transitions from the arms to uprights.
    I can't imagine the racking forces concentrated on such a small dowel section.

    (Not that I know much about chairs, other than how to use one, and replace the occasional seat cushion.)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Withers View Post
    Derek, I've got these chairs and can make some measurements for you shortly. They are really awesome chairs, and I look forward to seeing you build one.
    I'd like to ask if I could get the dimensions as well? I'd really appreciate it. SWMBO wants new chairs for the dining room. What she wants, she generally gets.
    Shawn

    "no trees were harmed in the creation of this message, however some electrons were temporarily inconvenienced."

    "I resent having to use my brain to do your thinking"

  8. #8
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    It's is a sharp looking chair,Very close to Sam maloofs chair the arms at least.

  9. #9
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    Well, I don't have metric rules or even outside calipers, but I can get you to a sixteenth of an inch. The arm rails are 18" long to the back side of the finger joints... I'm not sure I'd call them dovetails. Apparently the first version with the caning did use dovetails, but mine are the later solid seat ones, and the joint looks like your detail above, probably made with a shaper.

    The arms are 3" wide at the widest point, where they are 1 1/4" high.

    In the (approximate) middle of the joint they are 1 3/16" w x 2 7/16" h. (The top and bottom fingers are formed from the back piece, so you have some leeway here)

    The cylindrical protrusions (what do I call those?!) that are mortised to meet the legs extend 2 1/4" below the top of the arm in the back (top width 1 1/2"), and 1 3/8" in the front (top width 1 3/4"). Both are 1 3/16" diameter.

    Didn't get out the level but the bases of those cylinders look level, which should give you an idea of the front-back pitch of the arm. Not constant of course, most if not all of the drop happens in the back so they are pretty much level where you actually rest your arm.

    The back is 4 3/4" high in the middle, tapering down to the dimensions given above for the joint. It is 1 1/2" thick in the middle. Length is 17". The distance between the back at the center and the front edge of the joint is 4 1/2".

    That curve looks about 4" on the arms at the widest point.

    Sorry I don't use sketchup, or have much experience in precision joinery! If these aren't useful numbers, let me know what you need. I do have a new (old) vernier caliper so I can get you hundredths of inch measurements, although I'm not sure how much more accurate they'd be considering user error.

    Best,
    Max

  10. #10
    Hi Derek,
    "I have dimensions of the heights and width."
    My impression is that you have a pretty good sense of proportions. Given the height and the width, gives you a start for the rest of dimensions. Once done, please share your 'proportion thoughts'. I am probably not the only one who would benefit and appreciate it.
    Best wishes,
    Metod

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Withers View Post
    Derek, I've got these chairs and can make some measurements for you shortly. They are really awesome chairs, and I look forward to seeing you build one.
    Hi Max

    Thanks Max. (Edit: I see you have posted!)

    Here is what I have ...



    These dimensions are metric (in cm).

    It's is a sharp looking chair,Very close to Sam maloofs chair the arms at least.
    Hi Andrew

    I had planned to build a Maloof chair at one stage (even have the plans and all), but this Wegner design has a lighter feel to it that will fit in better. Is it possible to incorporate a little Maloof into this design without removing something? I wonder ..

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  12. #12
    "Is it possible to incorporate a little Maloof into this design without removing something? I wonder .."

    The most obvious way would be to introduce Maloof joints at the seat/arms.

    That scarf joint is really special. When/if you do that, I'd love to see a tutorial.

    The thing that always attracted me to Maloof's designs is that the pieces tend to start off as large, squared blocks that enable straightforward joinery. The sculpting is all done after, which makes the joints look trickier than they really are. Also, a maloof/sculpted piece can be as light as you choose to make it. The sculpting is truly that act of 'lightening'. IMHO, a lot of people stop short in this step.

  13. #13
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    One of my favorite chairs. Can't wait to see how it comes out. I have a soft spot for Danish chairs.
    I did a danish cord seat like the first photo. It came out very nice but I'm sure that I invented several new curse words during the process.
    Originality is the art of concealing your source.
    Franklin P. Jones
    Comments & criticism on postings welcomed.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Is it possible to incorporate a little Maloof into this design without removing something? I wonder ..Derek
    A sculpted seat would be an interesting mashup of the two designs.
    I think making a rocking Wegner would require lots more pillows behind the chairs.

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=Prashun Patel;2148971The thing that always attracted me to Maloof's designs is that the pieces tend to start off as large, squared blocks that enable straightforward joinery. The sculpting is all done after, which makes the joints look trickier than they really are. Also, a maloof/sculpted piece can be as light as you choose to make it. The sculpting is truly that act of 'lightening'. IMHO, a lot of people stop short in this step.[/QUOTE]

    There's a video posted by Brian Boggs illustrating this principle.
    The joints are built large enough to clamp, and are shaped afterwards.

    My only involvement with chairs in woodworking is sitting right here to yap about it.
    Chairs are above my pay grade.

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