I am a chair maker in Suffolk. The most popular design that I make is quite a small chair but very comfortable. Most of the components are steam bent shapes. There are complex three dimensional bends and these give the overall design strength and simplicity. I have been making the No1 chair in Ash for 25 years. I never get bored making this lovely chair. Ash is a very strong wood. It has a distinctive grain, and is very light in colour especially the young coppiced trees. However, the wood will get darker with age.
For the first 20 years I worked only in Ash, but then I thought maybe it was possible to use Sweet Chestnut which grows very well in the sandy part of Suffolk. Chestnut has a warm brown color and a very fine finish, and I call this chair the S1 chair.
I first learnt about steam bending wood working on boat repairs, and then went on to study three dimensional design at Newcastle Upon Tyne Polytechnic where I became interested in chair design.
Traditionally chair making was a separate trade from the production of chair parts that were made from green wood. The two activities are also separate in my own workshop. The parts are shaped and bent when the wood is green and then after a few months when the wood is dry and stable the chair can be assembled.