Make a Shaker Ladderback Chair with David Douyard

Make a Shaker Ladderback Chair with David Douyard


This 6 day class will take you, step-by-step, through the process of hand crafting a ladderback /post & rung chair.  The Litchfield Hills Shaker ladderback chair will be our model.  Each class covers every aspect of making a ladderback chair, beginning with lumber selection all the way through final assembly using hide glue.  We'll weave our seats with your choice of Shaker tapes.


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You will take home a  handmade heirloom, made with hand tools and following the traditional construction techniques and tools of the originals. Staying true to the originals green woodworking processes yield a strong and long lasting chair capable of multi-generational use.  

This class is open to woodworkers of any skill level. In a step-by-step manner, David will introduce you to all the processes and techniques needed to make a ladderback chair. You will learn the underlying principles of chair geometry and construction and will be ready to make these yourself when you get home!


 David likes to personalize instruction and can work at your own pace. Every process is broken down into small, manageable steps so that you can concentrate on mastering one task at a time before moving onto the next. Whenever a new process is introduced, especially when hand shaping parts, you are given the opportunity to practice on spare material before working on your actual chair part. In addition to showing you how, David always explains why, so that you will understand underlying concepts and how each step fits into the big picture.



  • Steam bending

  • Hand shaping parts using a drawknife, spokeshave and scraper

  • Working with angles and curved parts

  • Using moisture content and grain orientation to make a long-lasting joint

  • Assembly using hide glue

  • Sharpening chairmaking tools

  • Weaving a Shaker tape seat



Each class includes an 80+ page, fully illustrated manual, that documents the process for building your chair from beginning to end. It serves as a step-by-step reminder of the steps taught in class. Because the manual is so complete it minimizes or eliminates the need for you to take notes. This allows you to spend all your class time learning new techniques and working on your chair. The manual also has detailed drawings of every jig and form used in the chair. This will give you a huge head start when you begin to make that next chair in your own shop. I am also available, via e-mail, to answer questions as you work on your next chair at home.


There will be a materials fee which will be added to the registration fee once determined.