American Welsh Stick Chair

Christopher Schwarz

Learn to make a beautiful and comfortable stick chair using simple tools and straightforward techniques. The chair is designed to be used as a dining chair and measures 38-40" high with a seat that is 16" x 20".

  • 10 lessons
  • 194 min
  • $99.00
  • American Welsh Stick Chair Templates

    If you want to hit the ground running and don't feel like making your own templates, add these to your order.

Here's what we'll cover:

  1. Intro & Initial Seat Shaping

    Look, I know. Chairmaking can be intimidating. The tools. The angles. The wood. For the last 20 years I have been exploring and building “stick chairs” – the great-grandfather of Windsor chairs. These chairs are comfortable, sturdy and built using typical bench tools. And, here’s the kicker, you can use wood from any lumberyard or […]

  2. Chair Legs

    The legs need to be cut into octagons, then tapered and tenoned. In this chapter, I show you how to use a jig made from one piece of wood and your band saw to make your legs. The blade I use is, again, the 1/2″ WoodSlicer from Highland Woodworking. The black ruler shown in the […]

  3. Seat Joinery

    Stick chairs were joined with simple cylindrical joints. And they last for centuries. You can make the mortise with a simple auger bit. I prefer the 1″ WoodOwl auger bit. The sliding bevel used in the video is one I make for Crucible Tool. It’s expensive – you can use a cheap bevel just as […]

  4. Assemble Bottom Carriage

    Wedges hold a stick chair together. This video shows you how to make hundreds of wedges in a few minutes using your band saw and a miter gauge. And we show you how to glue the legs into the seat and wedge them without splitting the seat. The liquid hide glue I use for this […]

  5. The Arms

    One of the distinctive parts of a stick chair is the armbow. Instead of steambending the arms, you saw them out from solid wood and laminate them together for strength. This chapter shows you how to make the arm so it is both strong and good-looking. The band saw blade I use is – as […]

  6. Freakin Lasers

    Drilling the mortises for the chair’s sticks is easy with the help of a construction laser (I like green lasers because they are easier to see) and a couple dumb jigs that hold the armbow in place. The spade bits I prefer are from WoodOwl. A 16″-long one will drill all the mortises without a […]

  7. Why They Call It a Stick Chair

    The sticks for this chair are harvested from six 36″-long 5/8″ oak dowels from the home center. While shopping, look for straight grain. And try to get dowels that all have the same color (unless you are going to paint your chair). The soft jaw pliers are available from many sellers, including Lee Valley. The […]

  8. Full Assembly and The Comb

    Assembling the topside of a stick chair is best done with a slow-setting glue, such as Old Brown Glue. This glue will typically give you an open time of 40 minutes or so, which is more than enough time for assembling a chair. Liquid hide glue such as Old Brown needs to be gently heated […]

  9. Make Pretty & Finish

    The “make pretty” process can be as basic or as involved as you like. Old vernacular chairs have protruding tenons and visible tool marks from rasps and scrapers. Or you can take the level of finish up as high as you like. Make yourself happy. The cork sanding block is cut from a yoga block. […]

  10. Bonus: Saddling a Seat

    Bonus: Hey, if you are interested in chairmaking, then you probably are interested in learning to “saddle” a seat – scooping it out to add a little comfort and style. The saddle doesn’t have to be deep. And you don’t need a lot of specialty chairmaking tools to do it. Many chairmakers start saddling with […]

Chairmaking for the Rest of Us!

This new video is designed to be the easiest and simplest way to try your hand at chairmaking for the first time. You’ll learn to make a comfortable and attractive chair using kiln-dried lumber and dowels that you can get at a home center or any lumberyard. And you’ll learn to do it with tools you probably have in your shop, including a table saw, band saw, cordless drill and jack plane.

You don’t need green wood, and you don’t need a shavehorse, steambox, lathe, drawknife, spokeshave, froe, hatchet, inshave or travisher.

You’ll learn to drill all the complicated angles without having to do trigonometry (or build dedicated jigs). All the hard parts of the complicated angles are made easy with a cheap construction laser you probably already have in your toolbox.

The chair itself is a comb-back inspired by the country chairs in Wales. It is a versatile form that is great for dining, working at a desk or (by cutting the back legs down a tad) for relaxing by the fire.

As a bonus, the video comes with a video that shows how to shape the seat – called a saddle – with one chairmaking tool  (a travisher) plus a random-orbit sander.

The video is hosted by Christopher Schwarz, a chairmaker and writer in Kentucky who has spent the last 20 years teaching woodworkers to make these chairs using simple tools and straightforward techniques.

How Does This Differ From Chris's other Stick Chair Course?

1. The American Welsh Stick Chair in the new video is designed to be an ideal first chair for a woodworker who has made some casework but has never attempted compound-angle joinery.
2. You can build this chair with bench tools and machines found in almost any garage/basement woodworking shop. No specialty chairmaking tools are required. We show you how to saddle the seat with one specialty tool (a travisher). But the chair doesn’t have to be saddled to be comfortable.
3. The American Welsh Stick Chair doesn’t require stretchers or the complex tapered mortise-and-tenon joint found in Windsor chairs. It uses a simple drill bit to make all the mortises. Tenons are made with a plug cutter in a handheld drill.
4. All the stick are dowels from the home center.
5. All the wood is kiln-dried stuff you can find at any lumberyard – or even a home center.
6. What is most important is what you DON’T need: a lathe, green wood, a steambox, a drawknife, shave horse, froe, beetle, drying kiln, spokeshaves etc. Literally almost any home woodworker can make this chair – it even uses a pocket-hole jig.
7. The other videos I’ve produced on chairmaking are the next step into the craft. Once you’ve decided that chairmaking is something you want to specialize in. They feature special tools (tapered tenon cutters, reamers, travishers, inshaves and on and on). You don’t need this stuff to make the American Welsh Stick Chair.
8. And, of course, the video quality is worlds better than what I’ve been able to achieve. We shoot our videos on iPhones and edit them on laptops. This video is slick, insanely well-edited and designed to give you all the information you need without wasting your time.

What Will I Receive?

  • Detailed cut list and plans including a PDF and a SketchUp file (Metric and Imperial).
  • Hours of detailed video instruction showing every step of the build (nine videos in total).
  • All videos and plans are digital and will be available for download upon purchase. 

What will I learn?

What will I need?


My first guild course – and I absolutely loved it! The level of detail in the instruction videos is incredibly helpful to a beginner like me.
Used 5/4 for armbow because I couldn’t find any straight-grained 4/4 that was wide enough at my lumberyard, so my chair is a little heavy looking but still nice.
I don’t have a bandsaw but I just used a combination of my jig saw with the base tilted and a random orbit sander with some 60-grit to shape the parts.
Thanks to the guild and to Chris for creating this course.

Matthew Stebbins
Guild Member
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About Your Instructor:

Christopher Schwarz

Christopher Schwarz is a furniture maker, writer and publisher who works from a storefront in Covington, Ky. He is one of the founders and the editor of Lost Art Press, which publishes books on hand tool woodworking. And he is one of the founders of Crucible Tool. He is a former editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, and has been published in Fine Woodworking, Mortise & Tenon Magazine and many other woodworking publications. He teaches hand-tool woodworking around the world. Christopher is the author of five Lost Art Press books and a contributor to two, “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” and “The Art of Joinery.”