occasionally, we are asked to copy existing pieces, often, as in this case, because the original maker is no longer in business, or in the case of antiques, no longer living. those are basically our two criteria. we often get inquiries asking "if we can make this" and you can usually google "this" by its title or description and find out if the maker is living and still in business. no luck on these. and they looked pretty old. and they were really comfortable ... the first project was a bench, below, that we made from the original in 2011.
the original bench came to our shop, and much to our delight, the entire structure was held together with stainless steel threaded rods, clever brass 't' nuts and elegant hand made brass cyclinder nuts. so, we had patterns for the legs, with mortises and tenons to copy it.
lots of pieces and some fussy interlocking stuff, but we eventually got it together. finished nicely with some brush on, soak in, wipe off penofin 'nantucket mist' ... so actually, when the chairs gave up the ghost this year, we still had the original bench disassembled and piled behind the chop saw 'waiting to be fixed' for the employee lounge .. after 4 years we still hadn't gotten around to that.
you can see the original bench patterns in the dark wood in the pile of parts above.
i thought these would go relatively quickly, but when you've got 88 pieces of wood with intersections and other miscellaneous joinery, and some threaded rods and t nuts to deal with, nothing is ever going to go as quickly as you might think.
but in the end, they are graceful and sturdy, and i'm sure will be around for a long time. i look forward to seeing them in the client's garden once the snow melts in boston ...