Brendan Bernhardt Gaffney

Brendan Bernhardt Gaffney is a woodworker, teacher and writer based in Covington, Ky. After learning cabinetmaking from his father (and a stint in academia designing and researching musical instruments) he attended College of the Redwoods (now The Krenov School) where he honed his talents as a designer and maker of fine furniture. Since attending school, Brendan has worn the hats of toolmaker, teacher, writer and furnituremaker, with articles published in Popular Woodworking and Mortise and Tenon magazines. Currently, he is researching and building vernacular chair designs from around the world and writing a biography of James Krenov to be published by Lost Art Press in 2020.

In this three-day class, students will make a greenwood one-slat chair with twelve rungs and four posts. This chair is a great first chair for any aspiring chair makers, and an introduction to post-and-rung chair construction. Each student will start with rough parts, then mortise, shave and join them into simple straight-back chairs that will last a lifetime. We’ll also cover simple seat weaving at the end of the last day, with the goal of sending every student home with a chair ready for “settin’.”

This chair represents nearly every step in the more complicated ladderback chair designs but leaves out the steam bending in the interest of abbreviating and condensing the project to a three-day class. The design can be made at the workbench or on a shave horse with kiln-dried, air-dried or freshly-rived wood. Students will be provided with green wood for the class.

Topics covered in this class will range from beginning green woodworking, working at a shave horse with a drawknife and spokeshave, traditional handwork, chair geometry, simplified shaker tape seat weaving and chair finishing. The simple tools in this class will leave every student prepared to move forward with post-and-rung chairmaking and an understanding of the techniques and tricks that go into making a durable, comfortable place to sit.