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Scorched Oak Rocking Chair

Project Title: Scorched Oak Rocking Chair

Furniture designer/maker: Barnsley Workshop

Wood Supplier: Tyler Hardwoods

Project Description:  

I set out to design a really comfortable wooden backed rocking chair that would also appear visually inviting and provide further tactile interest. It is based on a dining chair design that I have developed over a number of years. This particular dining chair has a really comfortable and form fitting back shape. I had to scale up the sizes to achieve the generous and roomy proportions I wanted for this rocking chair.

I also wanted all the joints to appear to seamlessly grow out of the other components. Using timber allowed me to fine tune the constantly changing cross section. There are parts of the chair that are circular in cross section that then morph into an oval shape. This is whilst also tapering and curving in profile. This I believe makes for a very pleasing silhouette. I wanted to use oak for this project as I intended to blacken and wire brush the finished chair from the out set. Oak with its open grain is ideal for this finishing process.

I sourced the oak from our usual supplier Tyler Hardwoods. It was very important for consistency of grain and character that the oak used should all be from the same tree. Therefore we used consecutive boards from one boule.

Careful timber selection is a very important part of our furniture making process and we made up templates for all the shaped components. We then used these templates to mark out the optimum grain direction for strength and appearance on the boards.

Some components were cut out as solid blanks to be shaped. Others were cut out as thin lamina for the components that would be formed using the laminating formers we had made. The laminates were cut and kept in the same order as they came in the blanks. This ensures that the laminating process should not be too visually evident in the finished component.

The ability to scorch the timber was a key part of the design. I knew that the oak left in its natural colour would give subtle variations in grain and colour where individual components joined. By scorching the oak I could achieve a homogenous colour and unify all of the components into a sculpted whole.