‘Make a Gibson Chair’ – Lost Art Press

A Gibson chair in black cherry.

The Irish Gibson chair is a feat of ingenuity, simplicity and geometry. Its radical angles and spare construction suggest it is an odd place to sit. But everyone who has sat in one will tell you this: It is remarkably comfortable.

I first encountered Gibson chairs through my research on vernacular furniture. And I wondered the same thing. How could this chair be sittable? So I spent a year recreating a Gibson chair with the help of hundreds of photographs and a few books.

My cheap copy sat remarkably well, and it altered the gears in my head when it comes to chair geometry. Intrigued, I went to Ireland in 2019 and studied a lot of Gibson chairs, including some beautiful ones in the collection of Mark Jenkinson. Then I came home and started building lots of Gibsons, fueled by my hands-on experience with the chairs.

I made some changes to suit the way I work and the way I look at chairs. I make no claims that my chairs are “authentic” (stupid word, that). But I understand the chair and have made quite a few to earn that understanding.

A cheap construction laser can save you hours of layout.

This year I decided to make a video on how I build these chairs. Gibsons are quite unlike the other stick chairs I make. And I have devised novel ways to use cheap lasers to make your life easier when building them (meaning you don’t have to build a lot of complicated jigs).

Megan and I spent a lot of May 2023 filming the process, condensing it into a video that:

  1. Will not waste your time. I dislike prattling on and on in a video. I tried to make this video 100 percent meat – no gristle.
  2. Will show you how to build the chair and avoid common pitfalls. I have made a lot of mistakes while figuring out the Gibson. I am happy to show you my scars and detours.
  3. Is somewhat enjoyable to watch. In our video there are cats, self-deprecating jokes, the breaking of the fourth wall and other small amusements that will, I hope, keep you awake.
  4. Has the information you need. The video comes with all the patterns (hand-drawn by me) and cutting lists and sources so you will get up to speed quickly.

This chair is a good first chair. Yes, it’s a bit angular. But you can do it. You just have to commit.

We are releasing this 3-hour video today with the introductory price of $50. That includes all the videos and all the drawings and patterns. All free of DRM (Digital Rights Management) so you can put the video on your laptop, iPad, phone and desktop with no restrictions.

You can read more about it here and order it if you like. After June 18, the price will be $75 forever.

— Christopher Schwarz

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