Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Fresh Take...

I have had this want to make a variation on the continuous arm settee. That settee design has such an appealing draw but I have always felt that just widening the seat and bow really didn't do it full justice.

So, I decided to add a curve to the seat. Not an original design for the windsor settee, I know, but I haven't seen this done for the continuous are version, probably due to it complicating the arm bend. That said, I wanted to overcome that flat look that the bow takes on when it is just widened, seems to just suck the life out of it for me. So a big part of changing this design went into making the bending form to create a smooth gentle flow of the arm bow to match the curved seat while gently rising toward the center and eliminating the flat section.

As I was saying, the curved seat settee has been found for well over 150 years, though the examples of the past have usually taken the short route for the undercarriage. Either, using straight traditionally shaped turned stretchers or steam bent square shaped stretchers. Neither one is flattering to the design, in my opinion. Thus, I decided to follow the course of bending turned stretchers to follow the seat shape.

I made a conscience effort to not over power the design with too extreme of a curve, after all I want two people to comfortably be seated together. I feel, I hit on the right balance. I mean that literally. My wife and I sat on it together and I seemed to find my arm comfortably fell over her shoulder. Ok, ok I won't call it a love seat but I do understand how it got its alternate name.

I also wanted to do something new with the handhold. My intent was to mimic the flow of the seat without making it bulky or awkward. Something light looks best, that is why you won't see many makers trying to put knuckles on this style of chair.

Here are a few photos for your perusing pleasure. By the way, if you are in the south central Texas region, this will be on display at the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, 228 Earl Garrett Street, Kerrville for the Texas Furniture Makers Show from Nov. 8th - Dec. 8th. There are some nice pieces there this year so the drive and town are worth making it out. Philip Lowe will be giving a seminar on Nov. 17th, for a small sitting fee. Check it out, if you like or make furniture.


  1. Caleb, Congatulations on a lovely settee. I have made many Windsors and this is wonderful work. Also I have to say when I walked into the Furniture Show and saw your piece I said to myself, this deserves best Traditional! Well congratulations for getting the Ribbon, well deserved!
    I would like to visit with you sometime.

    Frank Strazza

    1. Frank,

      that was so nice of you to contact me to let me know you enjoyed my piece. Much appreciated.

      I am sure I would be congratulating you as well on a ribbon if I know all the results. I was unfortunately unable to attend. I called but the list of awards were not compiled and was only able to find out what were the results for my piece. I would guess you took first for the beautiful inlaid roses on that table of yours.

      I would enjoy meeting you, as well. One of the main reasons I entered the show was to meet and get to know some of the other craftsmen in the Texas area. I seem to only know ones on the east coast.

      My number is 832 641 0497. If you are doing any work out in the Katy area give me a ring. I am usually just in my shop working away and could use a break.