What constitutes a good green wood chair?
In October 2009, I was asked to judge the chairs made by the students on the BBC 2 series, Mastercrafts. They asked me to detail the main factors that I would be using in the judging process, which I found a very useful exercise when teaching chair-making on my courses. The most difficult part was to give a weighting to these criteria, as they are all important. Other people will have different factors and will certainly give them a different weighting but for what it is worth, here is my list below. (In cases where you might be uncertain, I have clarified good or bad, in my opinion!!)
- Back support: Is there any discomfort with shoulder blades? (bad)
- Does it have a comfortable height, depth and lean?
- Does it have a comfortable/well shaped seat?
- Does anything stick into the sitter? (bad)
Strength and durability: 25%
- Does it bounce when dropped? (good)
- Do the joints look & feel tight?
- Do the joints creak or wobble when you lean back in it? (bad)
- Do any components break or come loose under stress?
- Does it feel as if it will last for years? (good)
Appeal to the senses: 20%
- Subjective “good looks”;
- Can you see the wood’s character, grain, colour?
- Does it have a vibrancy (good) to it or is it stiff and dull (bad)?
- Does it have a sticky finish? (bad)
- What finish has been used oil/wax/other?
- Can you smell the wood? Good or bad?
Energy input: 10%
- How much high energy machinery was used? e.g. chainsaws, power lathes, bandsaws, planer/thicknessers, sanders etc
- Have the materials been transported far (bad) and by what means?
- Has it been made with love, care, skill and enthusiasm? (good!)
- Does it display a sympathy with the materials?
Physical suitability: 10%
- Will it fit round a dining table/office desk etc?
- Is it light enough to easily pick up? (good)
- Does it feel stable?
- Does it wobble on the floor? (bad)
Quality of finish: 10%
- Are there any splinters, tool marks, glue marks, pencil marks? – (bad)
- Is there evidence of cleaving? – (good – in small doses)
- Is there a good attention to detail?