Dan Hussey
Chair maker

Steam bent Ash and Sweet Chestnut



Dan Hussey
Tel. 01728 745029
07895 051115

danhussey@btinternet.com

For more go to my blog here:
 chairextraordinaire

Dan Hussey handmade chairs are crafted entirely from ash-wood sourced from carefully managed coppices in Suffolk, England. Coppicing is an ancient and very effective form of woodland management which is also very beneficial to wildlife. Coppiced ash is ideal for chair-making because it bends easily and is well known for its strength and springiness.

Ten years of development have gone into my best selling chair (No 1.) and it is made almost entirely out of coppiced European ash (Fraxinus excelsior). I use freshly-cut green wood and bend it into fluid structures which are strong, hard-wearing and extremely comfortable. Why green wood? Because the wood must be in its green, sappy state during bending to prevent internal stresses turning into splits and cracks. The green logs are split with a wedge-shaped tool called a froe before being worked into the required size with saws and planes. To make the wood more flexible the chair parts are heated in a wooden steam box for one hour and then promptly bent into shape on a jig. The fire used to create the steam burns shavings and sawdust recycled from the chair-making process. To ensure the chairs keep their shape and age without distorting, each component is cut out of the log in a particular way so that it will shrink and change in a predictable manner as it dries. In all, the drying-out process takes about one month and involves a special drying cabinet of my own design.

In the coppice, mature branches are harvested in the winter months and in the spring new shoots appear from the tree stumps or "stools" as they are called by foresters. Within twenty years these slender shoots grow into heavy ash poles of six to eight inches in diameter. For the first few years the new growth needs to be protected from grazing deer or they will destroy the crop. The best way to do this is to build up a natural brushwood fence around the area that has just been cut. Coppice-woods are divided into twenty areas and harvested in rotation so that one group of trees is cut down to the stump every year. Not only does this simple, ecofriendly technique provide a never-ending supply of timber it also ensures that the coppice contains trees at various stages of growth to create a diverse habitat for a huge range of plants and wildlife. It also allows the ash trees to grow freely with plenty of sunlight, which is a prerequisite for good bending timber. Finally, the small size of the logs means that foresters do little damage to the rest of the woods during the cutting season.

 



Chair No.1: £290

A new design for 2014 made from locally coppiced Sweet Chestnut.
Prices from £450

 

 

 

 

 

 


I now have a blog so for more information click here:
chairextraordinaire

Phone to order and discuss requirements:
Dan Hussey
Tel. 01728 745029
        07895 051115

email:
danhussey@btinternet.com

Address:
5 Barhams Way, Wickham Market,
Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP13 0SR

Delivery in the UK: £20
Shipping elsewhere - please consult
Last up date September 2015