Period Methods, Modern Design Tools, Meticulous Craftsmanship

Campeche Chair


Campeche Chair

I saw several Campeche Chairs for the first time at a Furniture Conference. After that conference I worked on SketchUp to design a chair based on details from these museum pieces. I built the chair in Walnut and used through Mortise & Tenon joints for all of the Stretchers and Arm Support. The leather seat is a very thick hide I found at Frank's Leather and Hides in San Francisco. With that strong leather, there is no need for supporting upholstery. This type of chair is known to be a favorite of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, but comes way short of my favorite.

My finish was linseed oil, then multiple coats of seedlac.


design in sketchup

I will show in SketchUp the piece-by-piece assembly of a Campeche Chair. Most of the joint connections of the chair's components are mortise & tenon. There is one large Lap Joint in the middle of the Front and Back Stiles.

beginning shop construction

This is a beginning to the shop construction of a Campeche Chair. It covers some of the design features including the through mortise & tenon joints and the lap joints. It describes two methods I use to make the large lap joints.

fitting leather hide, part 1

This shows the leather hide as its being pre-fitted to the Campeche Chair. The walnut frame of the chair is not finished, so at this stage I am doing a "dry fit" of the leather hide. A full-size template is used to mark the curved shape at the top of the hide.

fitting leather hide, part 2

This shows more detail on the procedure for pre-fitting the leather hide to the Campeche Chair. It shows the tools I use to finally adjust the leather's width to fit into the side channels. The leather is not being tacked into the chair frame yet, as this is a pre-fitting process before final finish of the walnut frame.