Backwoods Chairmakers: In Search of the Appalachian Ladderback Chairmaker
By Andrew D. Glenn
For more than 200 years, chairmakers in Appalachia built ladderbacks to sell to neighbors and the occasional tourist. It was a tradition that was handed down through generations. But with the rise of furniture factories and mechanization, woodworker Andy D. Glenn wondered if there were any traditional chairmakers left.
So he set off into the mountains with a camera and a tape recorder. There, he found many still working the craft – some by hand, and others who have added machines to their workshops.
Part travelogue, part profile and part how-to, “Backwoods Chairmakers” explores the tradition of this enduring form. Glenn takes you inside the shops of more than 20 makers, with photos and personal interviews about their lives and techniques.
Then, Glenn shows you how to make a post-and-rung side chair and rocking chair using the traditional techniques explored in the book.
This is a massive book: 8.5" x 11", hardbound and 304 pages. It is printed on #70 matte coated paper. Its signatures are sewn and secured with fiber tape. All that is wrapped in heavy cotton-covered boards and a tear-resistant dust jacket.
About the Author
Andrew D. Glenn is a furniture maker and woodworking instructor living in Midcoast Maine. Glenn received his formal training while a student in the North Bennet Street School’s Cabinet and Furniture Program in 2008. Since then, Glenn has worked in repair shops, a boatyard, a cabinet shop and a four-year stretch leading the Woodcraft Department at Berea College (Kentucky).
Glenn became engrossed with the prevalence of handmade ladderback chairs while in Kentucky and began taking trips into the eastern Kentucky foothills to seek out the chairs and their makers. The simple question, “Are there backwoods chairmakers working today?” was the first spark that led to this book.