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Michael Fortune Master Class - Chair Design

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  • Thu 22 Jan ’15, 9:00am – 4:30pm
  • Fri 23 Jan ’15, 9:00am – 4:30pm
  • Sat 24 Jan ’15, 9:00am – 4:30pm
  • Sun 25 Jan ’15, 9:00am – 4:30pm
  • Mon 26 Jan ’15, 9:00am – 4:30pm
  • Tue 27 Jan ’15, 9:00am – 4:30pm


Centre for Fine Woodworking, 465 Wakapuaka Rd, Wakapuaka, Nelson Show map


All Ages

Making a unique, comfortable, strong and attractive chair is a wonderful challenge.

This workshop will be an intensive exploration into the design and construction of chairs. This course will give you the anthropometric information (critical human dimensions) required to design chairs and a simple method to successfully fabricate your designs even if they incorporate compound curves and seemingly complex joinery.

Participants will design and fabricate their own chair prototype during the workshop. Demonstrations on how to make accurate scale models, full size drawings and mock-ups and jigs to produce multiple parts will take place throughout the six days. Simple methods of upholstering chair seats and backs will also be covered.

Media and Techniques
The predominant material will be wood but fabric components may be incorporated. Traditional woodworking methods may be combined with wood forming techniques such as steam bending, laminating, vacuum forming and hot pipe bending.

Day-to-Day Activities
Students will follow a step by step sequence of thumbnail sketches, ¼ scale models, a simple full size drawing and mock-up leading to the construction of their prototype chair.

Students should have intermediate to advanced woodworking skills with some knowledge of woodworking machines. Students will be asked to collect dimensional, structural information from chairs they encounter before the course begins.

Michael Fortune has designed and made furniture since 1975 for private residences across North America. He received the prestigious Bronfman Award in 1993, was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts in 2000 and received the 2007 Award of Distinction from the Furniture Society. He graduated from Sheridan College near Toronto in 1974 and then interned with Alan Peters in Devon England.

Michael continues to be fascinated by chair design and construction.

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