GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING

 

"Reach for the Sky"

Shaker-Style Ladderback Chairs (Matched Pair)

Black Cherry with English Holly

A celebration of the famous Shaker ladderback chair with a whimsical twist . . .

Although ladderback chairs have been made for over 300 years, many consider that the Shaker chairs represented the pinnacle of the style. Easily identifiable by their design simplicity, curved back-slats, rearward-slanting legs and a cloth-tape seat, Shaker ladderback chairs were as popular in their day as they are today.

The primary timber incorporated into the handmade ladderback chairs is Pennsylvania curly black cherry (Prunus serotina). A single slab with outstanding grain-character was selected to provide matching legs. The quartersawn forward face of each leg exhibits both consistent ray-fleck and complex curly grain throughout.

The spalted English 'Christmas' holly (Ilex aquifolium) was reclaimed from the pruning of several dozen trees that defined a Gig Harbor property's country driveway. The branches were air-dried for 4 years prior to being carefully cut into the spreader and back-slat rough blanks. The back-slats were steam bent to their final shape.

In keeping with the Shaker tradition, the chair seats have been woven with cloth tape. The Shaker reproduction chair seat taping has been procured directly from the Hancock Shaker Village Museum Store, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The chairs have been hand finished with a durable oil-varnish to highlight the natural color and protect the beautiful character of the curly cherry and holly while giving the chairs a warm feeling to the touch. This character will intensify over time, as cherry darkens and the curly-grain gains more depth as it ages while spalted holly tends to remain light in color.

Dimensions: 19-1/4 inches wide, 18-1/4 inches deep, 18 inches in height (seat), 80 inches in height (overall)

Provenance: 1st place 3-D, 2003 Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival