Antique Country Chairs


Antique Country Furniture
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Turned Chairs 
Chairs with turned posts and stretchers exhibit different characteristics, depending on where and when they were made. Country chairs made with turned posts and stretchers were among the earliest types in America. In woodworking, "turning" - the technique used to shape the wood refers to work done on a lathe.  Shaping spindles, stretchers, and posts of uniform size and design required extensive practice. Once a craftsman became skillful, however, turning was the quickest, mast efficient way to make chairs. Separate parts could be turned out one after another and assembled later. 

SEE LARGER IMAGE AT LEFT FOR A TURNED CHAIR -- It's simple to tell the difference. Turned chairs had many round pieces -- joined chairs do not.

Joined Chairs 
By the 1730s, furniture began to take on lighter proportions. Although the tradition for making turned chairs continued In rural areas for several decades, newly fashionable joined chairs with flat, shaped posts were also made. The process of crafting flat furniture parts was slower, more laborious, and far more expensive than turning. Each piece was cut with a saw, then refined with a drawknife (a two-handled tool used for shaving a surfaces) and a  plane. Also, the tops of the posts had to be matched carefully to the top crest, which was attached by means of mortise-and-tenon joints. New methods of design and joinery usually appeared first in the most prominent parts of a chair - the back and crest. To save on the cost of producing a chair, a craftsman might combine a stylish new back with traditional turned legs and stretchers long after turnings were considered old-fashioned. 

The Windsor
We have much more detain on the Country Windsor on another part of our site (More on Country Windsor Chairs). 

If any one furniture form could be singled out as the most characteristically American, it would probably be the Windsor chair. By the time of the Revolution, the Windsor had become the most popular furnishing in the colonies. The term Windsor refers to a type of furniture, also called stick furniture, that is made primarily of posts and spindles. In a Windsor chair, lathe-turned legs and back spindles are socketed into a solid plank seat, and a steam-bent hoop is often used I for the arm or back rails - a construction method that owes its beginnings more to the craft of wheel making than to that of furniture making. 

The Windsor chair is believed to be named for the town of Windsor  England, one of several places where such furniture was first made, around the turn of the 17th century. 

"Painted Chairs / Furniture"
Painted country chairs does not translate to a particular style or manufacter -- it is more an arts and crafts makeover on top of existing styles. From the time that furniture was first made, in the colonies, paint was a commonly used finish. Nearly all 17th-century furniture, in fact, was painted, and as early as the 1680s professional painters, who ground their own pigments and made their own brushes, were setting up shops in prosperous towns along the east coast. Paint not only protected the wood, but also provided color in houses where there was little other ornament. 






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