Why our chairs are unique


The Chair Vault

Our frames

Each frame is handmade in Britain to exceptional standards by our highly skilled craftsmen and women. We can make any number of chairs to order, be it a fabulous one-off designed wing chair, ten tub chairs, or a hundred dining chairs for a restaurant. The possibilities are endless and don’t forget we make settees too.

It all starts with the frame. The frame is the skeleton of every chair we make. Without it, the upholstery would not have anything to be attached to! Obvious you may say but in the world of throw away we all live in, the frame is the first thing that gets compromised in cheap furniture, which is why they collapse and break.

All our frames are made the proper way. All are hardwood but some are now hybrid, this is where we introduce some ply for extra strength or to produce complex shapes. We use Beech as the main timber with other timbers used for legs and show wood areas. All joints are dowelled or tenoned and we use oversize corner blocks in all chairs to keep the frame rigid. Many of our smaller orders are still hand cut on band saws and ripsaws and this is why the cost can be higher. Larger orders will be made using more hi-tech equipment like our massive CNC machining centre.

The art of the Chairbler

Our frame making staff are skilled in the ancient art of the ‘Chairbler’ the 17th-century name for a ‘Chairmaker’. The name came about around this time because the art of chair frame making was considered so specialised that it became separated from other forms of woodworking. This division of craftsmen was noted by Thomas Sheraton in 1803 when he wrote: ‘Chair-making is a branch generally confined to itself, as those who professedly work at it, seldom engage in making cabinet furniture’. In France, the Chairmaker was known as a ‘Menuisier’ and guild regulations actually forbade them to engage in cabinet making. In our workshop today our Chairblers still specialise in frame making and our cabinet makers do just that and tend to stick to making cabinets or crossover products. Mind you, they are not ruled by the guilds like the French were and both departments help each other and enjoy adding each other’s skills to their own knowledge.