Making Ladderback Chairs

Last week our Woodworking Intensive students were hard at work making green ladderback chairs, led by instructor Mark Krawczyk. Not only is Mark a skilled natural builder and permaculture teacher, he also crafts beautiful furniture, functional objects and traditional tools from green wood under his business RivenWoodCrafts up in Burlington, VT. This type of woodworking is also called green woodworking because the materials are generally shaped while still wet or ‘green’.

This class is a bit of a change of pace from the other sections of the Woodworking Intensive, which incorporate lots of power tools. Rather than using sawn lumber from a mill, this course begins with a fresh, raw log, splitting it into parts shaped by hand with a draw-knife and shaving horse (a brilliantly simple foot-operated vice more than four centuries old). Because wood that has been split retains the natural strength and integrity of its fibers, they create strong, lightweight chairs that are beautiful as well as comfortable.

Check out the video below for a taste of what students learn in Mark's Green Ladderback Chair course. He's still got space in his next course, which starts October 2, 2011 and runs for 5 days.