a milestone birthday present to herself,
our client requested a distinctly
American rocking chair that combined
two of her favorite styles—
the sturdy oak frame of a Gustav Stickley
design and the broad, slatted back
and wide, flat arms of classic Adirondack
furniture. In addition, she wanted
the chair to be of substance, yet
custom-fit to cradle her small frame.
We presented three options —
a square-back, a slat-back, and the
steam-bent back. Needless to say,
she decided on the more demanding
alternative and we bent over backwards
to craft this one-of-a-kind piece.
To be true
to the Stickley fashion, we decided
to build the rocker in white oak.
However in order to bend the lumber
to meet the design specifications,
we needed to use "green wood"
with a very particular moisture content.
Once we had the wood milled, we built
our own steam chambers to accommodate
various lengths. Next, we carefully
constructed precisely measured forms
around which to bend the wood and
achieve the desired shape. The process
of bending the wood was very demanding,
but also had to be done very quickly.
We had only minutes to take the piping
hot wood from the steam chambers to
the bending frames and create each
very specific form. When all the pieces
were correctly cast, we assembled
them using a traditional style of
woodworking joint. Finally, we applied
a special Dutch varnish called Slijtvaste
Vernis and a neutral fabric upholstery
so as not to overpower the woodwork.
two very classic styles we were able
to produce a piece with an extraordinarily
unique look. And by designing it to
perfectly accommodate the client's
petite body-type, we created a rocking
chair that is the very epitome of
custom furniture in both form and