What I Consider When Building A Chair

I received this question in episode 2 of the Ask Brian Boggs Show:

What’s the most important thing to nail when building a chair?

Well, there are three things that have to be successful for a chair to be worth making to start with. If it’s a chair it should be comfortable and worth sitting in. It should look good. It should look from across the room like something you would want to go sit in, and once you sit in it, it should hold you up. I think it also needs to be something that is going to be relevant for a long time, if it’s going to be worth making on a small scale by hand or with power tools or however you work. It’s not going to be a cheap endeavor, so it should be something that’s going to last and be relevant for generations. I don’t think any one of those things can be taken away and still have something that would be successful, so I can’t prioritize that. It’s like, “Which is more important, your lungs or your heart or your brain?” You take any one of those away and it’s game over.

Every detail in any of my pieces supports one or two, and sometimes all three of those. The way I shape the top edge of a slant, the way I carve a pin, exactly how I shape an arm, exactly how I join that arm into the back, all of that really has to support every aspect of what I want to achieve in a design and if there’s a sense that something is being compromised, then I think it’s time to reevaluate the design. The only time that I think it’s worth doing that is if the economy in which that chair is going to live simply cannot support the level of addressing all of those issues that I like to play with.

Fortunately, we’re in a pretty good economy right now so we can have some pretty good fun with the design.