Nope -- we all stand where in this neighborhood
Really -- wanting to know if there is a science. I have been looking at
chairs and sometimes the back legs flair out, some times in, rarely are they
true vertical -- is any angle better that another ?
Well, as general guideline, I would say that splaying them inwards
towards the center of the chair would be a bad idea. ;-)
Splaying them outwards increases the chairs stability - but go too
far, and the joints to the seat frame would be under too much stress
and break. Beyond that, I think it's an eye of the beholder thing...
Recent article in Woodwork Magazine (#88, Aug 2004), Peter Presnell, on an
adjustable design in dining chairs. I thought the article was exceptional,
even in the context of a fine magazine generally. The article gave me hope
of making comfortable dining chairs that fit. One day in the future, after
I practice some bent lamination. And the veneer-thickness cutting that is
I think I remember John Grew Sheridan writing a good article on a similar
topic. And Jeff Miller wrote a good project oriented book in a Taunton-
Good news: I've got all of the proper tools.
Bad news: I've not learned all of the proper skills yet.
Good news: I'm still breathing.
Galen Cranz has a very interesting book "The Chair" on seating. Mainly
about how we're doing it all wrong with chairs, and should sit on
almost anything else instead.
Taschen's "1000 Chairs" is well worth having, as a compendium of
As to the nuts & bolts ergonomist data, these books are commonplace
(any architecture bookshop) and damned expensive. I suggest the S/H
section of a university bookshop, where you can pick one up rather
cheaper from last year's students.
There are all kinds of dimensions. The big advantage about making a
chair is customization. Here's some guidelines for the average
Seat width: 17 to 18"
Seat Angle: 5 to 8 degrees from horizontal
Seat depth: 13.5 to 15"
Seat Height: 15.5 to 17"
Armrest Height: 8 to 10" above seat
Back rest: 4 to 8" high and 6-7" above seat
Angle of back rest: 20 to 25 degrees
I made a settee years ago that very few people used because it cut off
leg circulation. Later, I cut off 1.5" from the legs and now it is
just right for the average adult.
Ergonomics, Human Factors.
"The Woodworkers Guide to Furniture Design" by Garth Graves is an
excellent source for furniture design in general and has a very good
section on customizing furniture (including seating) for folks of all
different sizes. I've got a copy of the hardbound edition, but I see it
is now out in paperback. If you plan on doing a lot of your own designs,
I highly recommend this book.
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